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Saturday 26 December 2009
Back in the dark ages of 2004 I started a "weblog". At the time blogs were a relative novelty and still had a sense of originality. They could be whatever you wanted it to be. A personal diary. A collaborative space. A collection of links. Those were the days before the Twitter and Facebook fads. So I guess I'm at a crossroads. I can stick it out, move "forward" or call it a day. Well, I've decided to stop. My first entry on 15 September 2004 started with the Sound of Music's "Climb Every Mountain" and I'm gonna end with another song from that musical: So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye … goodbye ... goodbye ... goodbye!

Thursday 24 December
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
... "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"

Sun House in the snow

Tuesday 22 December
Half an hour to go before the start of my one-to-one training session and I spot I've run out of milk, which might be a problem if the course participant turns out to be a tea-drinker. (Note for our non-British readers: people of Great Britain put milk in their tea. I know, I know: yuk!) So I jump in my car, but cannot get over the hump at the end of our drive. Yeah, I’m embarrassed ... A bit of snow and this country comes to a standstill.

Wednesday 16 December
Ouch! When I touch one of today's course participants it gives me - and him - an electric shock. Even his colleagues notice the millions of electrons flying through the air. "Shall we leave the room?" one of them suggests.

Monday 14 December
1PM and not a course participant in sight. When they finally wander in one by one I check what's been going on. "1PM is too early", one of them says. Too early?! %*£! I had to get out of bed at 5AM to be here in time!

Monday 7 December
In the taxi I realise I forgot my UK to Europe adaptor. Which means I cannot charge my mobile phone. Or my notebook. So I buy another thingamebob at the airport. For sale: God knows how many European plug converters.

Thursday 3 December
The Scottish customer invites me for an after-work drink. (Always welcome when you're living out of a suitcase.) Before I know it I find myself in a German bar and I'm encouraged to order something to eat from their German menu. I don't wanna be funny but after two-and-a-half-years in Frankfurt I was looking forward to my week "off" and order something like deep fried mars bars.

Tuesday 24 November
During today's Excel Introduction course I explain the wonders of F2. A big question mark appears over the head of one of my course participants. It turns out he is using one of these fancy keyboards that provide instant access to your favourite applications and commands. "It's a bit like putting a blind person in a Porsche" his colleagues comments.
I now understand the popularity of motivational training.

Tuesday 17 November
Have to give a presentation to 100-odd key users. (Odd, as in being in excess of the indicated number; not odd as in strange.) Going over the content I ask some silly questions. "Lampenfieber" my customer comments, which literally translates to lamp fever. The next few minutes I try to remember the Dutch word for stage fright. I cannot. "That's because they don't have it" the client continues.

Friday 13 November
To make sure legit email messages make it through my spam filter I tend to check my junk mailbox on a regular basis. This morning there were the usual messages asking for confirmation my account had been credited with ten million dollars as instructed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, as well as discounts to enlarge body parts I don't have. But as I click on "Delete all spam messages now" I spot a message from this week's client. No idea how it ended up in there, but I can ensure you I felt pretty embarrassed having to ask to send it again.

Wednesday 11 November
Got the timing wrong of how long it would take me to buy a parking and train ticket, so I had 25 minutes to spare when I arrived at the platform. The slow train to London was beckoning me in, but I just wanted to make sure I was not just lured by the warmth. "Do you know what time this train arrives at King's Cross?" I ask one of the passengers, trying to make sure it doesn't come in after the fast train. No clue. "Do you know what time this train arrives at King's Cross?" I ask somebody else. No clue either. "Anybody?" I say, looking around the carriage. Turns out they're all zombies at the crack of dawn.
By the way, it did come in after the fast train, by which time I had lost the will to live.

Monday 2 November
Following a recipe for me means "remove sleeve and pierce film lid". If that isn't possible "just add boiling water" will do. My current favourite to take with me on business trips is a small pot of couscous. That is, until today when I unpacked and found my whole suitcase filled with tiny wheat granules. Perhaps child-proof packaging isn't such a bad idea after all!

Thursday 29 October
Soon it'll be 17 years since I swapped life in the Netherlands for one in the UK. (The plan was to stay for three years but hey!) Recently some clever chap (I forgot who) said that courtesy, willingness to please, and good manners are not national virtues of the Dutch, but all this time in England has turned me into a forever-sorry-saying direct person. And it's not just the apologetic tradition I have adopted. I've also unlearned to shake hands, something the Dutch do when entering a room and again on leaving, but seems to be a bit of a weird thing here in Great Britain. So although I know that greeting customs are highly culture-specific, it can be pretty uncomfortable to wait and see whether course participants in this European organisation hesitantly extend their hand or not. Perhaps they can wear a little flag when they enter. Italian? The usual handshake with direct eye contact and a smile. German or Norwegian? It is not the length but the grip of the handshake that counts. British? Hold off on the handshakes altogether.

Wednesday 21 October
Dearie me. It looks like I’m becoming part of the furniture... When I got on the plane this morning one of the flight attendants greeted me with the words "Up and down and up and down, just like us." On arrival in the hotel the receptionist informs me it is the 68th time I check in. Perhaps I shouldn’t accept that 11-month contract extension?!

Tuesday 20 October
I always make an effort to address course participants by their first name. (If only to wake them up during the graveyard slot.) Today wasn’t any different. Guess I’d used each of their names about twenty times when - at lunch time - one of the delegates tells me the lady who just left the room wasn’t called "Muriel" but "Amelia". OK, you go and try to hear the difference when a Scottish person says it!

Tuesday 13 October
What is it with taxi drivers? Are they sheer nosy or do they just hate silence? Either way, on my way to the national agency for sport in Scotland my cabby asks me what I do for a living. "Training", I say, resulting in a funny exchange as he assumes I'm training the athletes. C'mon, do I look like a fit person? Since living out of suitcase I've put on over 20 kilos! (That's more than 3 stone for those of you who don't speak metric.)

Friday 9 October
I'm looking for a cheap egg-timer for use in training activities. Yesterday I left my old one behind after I annoyed enough people on my way out to the workshop, having set off the noisy device by accident. Whereas it was very simple to start the timer, the sound alarm would only stop if you pressed two buttons at the same time. Not an easy task when your bag is in the plane's overhead locker and you're strapped in because of heavy turbulence. Perhaps it's time this Mobile Phone Luddite swaps her current model. Suggestions anyone?

Wednesday 30 September
On Monday I forgot to bring my mobile phone on a business trip, which meant I had to rely on the hotel's alarm clock. It did the trick yesterday, but this morning my natural body clock woke me ... 45 minutes late. Isn't it ironic that leaving the house without something you didn't have the first forty years of your life is now a cause for chaos.

Monday 21 September
First day back at work after a relaxing holiday. (Too relaxing, which meant I had to work the whole of Sunday to write a proposal that I had been lugging around Greece for ten days.) When I unpack my "mobile classroom" in the client's meeting room I find my walking boots insoles among my training paraphernalia. (Suffice to say I don't have a separate travel trolley for work.) What a great way to ensure the holiday euphoria isn't a distant memory within days of rejoining the rat race.

Wednesday 9 September
Got distracted by the glazier who popped round to tell us the extortionate price for a replacement Crittall window just as I was on my way out to the client. So I guess I had a good excuse for wearing my tatty old pair of Birkenstocks I normally only have on around the house and that definitely didn't go with today's outfit. This time it had nothing to do with age. Not that we have anything to worry about that ... just recently Oprah had a whole show on how great menopause will be. (Puhleeeeeeese!)

Friday 4 September
Newborn celebrity babies are being saddled with bizarre names such as Fifi Trixibelle or Pilot Inspector, but I equally know some course participants who are growing up with first names like Female (pronounced like Finale) or Onetoomany. (Honest!) So I guess today’s Latvian delegate’s first name wasn’t all that weird after all. Kristaps. "It’s our version of Christopher. But spelled with a K. And the O is an A. And pher is ps." he said, no doubt explaining his name for the umpteenth time.

Wednesday 2 September
Who said you cannot have a social life when away on business? OK, I’ve been there on and off (more on than off) since July 2007 but before I knew it I had double-booked myself and had to choose between a girlie night out with the client or dinner with The Hotel Regulars. (The client won.)

Friday 28 August
What is it with business parks and their locations? OK, they’re just off the motorway, with fast and easy access from the city centre. So I get there in record time. Woohoo! You have reached your destination. And you can hold your head up high because you are a genius. But all I see is Trinity House. Cavendish House. Orwell House ... so where the hell is Byron House? During a rather embarrassing phone call to the client's receptionist I cause an even more embarrassing traffic chaos in the bit of the road where I thought it was OK to park my car for a moment. (That said, I can assure you it wasn’t as awkward as the other day when – after three calls – the client finally decided to meet me in the road.) So what is it with business parks and their locations? (Erm, what’s a synonym for greedy property developers?)

Thursday 13 August
Some time ago I bought a chunky silver necklace in Mexico. On me it looks great (if I may say so). In my hand luggage it looks suspicious enough for airport security officials to demand my bag to be searched. Same thing today. But with a whole new reaction from the X-ray Police. "The last time I saw one of those, it was for a horse." he says, examining my beloved piece of jewellery. Gee, thanks! I'm glad you're a security guard. With tact like that you would make a lousy psychatrist.

Wednesday 12 August
Reading the draft contract for a piece of work I'm about to undertake my eye is drawn to one particular sentence. "The daily rate shall cover up to 10 working hours a day." Ten hours! I thought slavery was abolished in the early 1800's.

Monday 4 August
One of my customers sends me an email ... to see if I enjoyed the folkie this weekend. Apparently she had seen me across the crowds. Oh dear. Trying to add a bit of peace and harmony to the weekend I took inspiration from those folk-singing, paisley-wearing hippies of the sixties. Not necessarily the image you want your client to have of you. So perhaps it isn't such a bad thing after all that most of my work is done away from Cambridge.

Wednesday 29 July
The number of confirmed swine flu cases continues to rise. The press is in overdrive. And so are some employers. So when I have to train the client's nurse (whose Croatian name - funnily enough - sounds like "sneeze") we start 20 minutes late because of their increased pandemic monitoring workload. Heard the one about the hypochondriac who died at a ripe old age? (His gravestone read "Do you believe me now?")

Monday 20 July
Some time ago I bought a pressie for a friend who celebrated her newfound freedom when her divorce came through. The online business I made the purchase from used PayPal, who I also happen to use for my business. And that's where the complication started ... Before I realised it the money had been taken out of my business account. So when the Ex Husband Voodoo Doll arrived hubby - under instruction to open anything addressed to Roem Limited when I'm on a business trip - sent me an email. "Are you trying to tell me something?" he wrote. Today the saga continued when my accountant queries the transaction. So how do you explain a purchase from a company called Saucynovelties.co.uk?

Friday 17 July
First day off in ages. Time to catch up with an old friend who I believe tries to make a point when he hands me a present ... wrapped in Christmas paper with coordinating name tag. "To Karen. Merry Christmas!"

Wednesday 15 July
One of my customers recently introduced a "weigh and pay" system in their staff canteen. When me and my bowl of salad get to the checkout the scanner plays up. Within no time there is a queue as long as my arm and not even Teething Problems Guy can help. So I get it on the house. Who said there ain't no such thing as a free lunch?

Monday 13 July
Today's session takes me into a classroom completely kitted out with German computers. As long as I stick to stuff I know where to find everything is honky-dory. I soon figure out that Datei, Speichern means File, Save and that Strg is the Ctrl kez on the German kezboard where the y is in a different spot. But how on earth do I insert the @ symbol that they've stuck on the letter q? Gott sei Dank the classroom is completely kitted out with Germans.

Tuesday 7 July
Last Microsoft Access course of this academic year. Time off from trying to think of examples of databases about cats with tumors, diabetic dogs and lame horses or research that shows that an ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. (I know some people like that.) God, I'll miss this place!

Thursday 2 July
Found a new way to keep course participants awake during this week's heat wave ... water leaking on the person sitting under the air conditioner. Short of taking them to the local supermarket and hang out by the frozen peas I don't see what else I could have done.

Tuesday 23 June
We might be one Europe and use English as a common language, but working in the client's multinational environment still causes us to be lost in translation. Take today. I ring one of the secretaries and her colleague answers the phone. "She'll be back in an hour", I'm told. I explain there is no need to ask her to ring back. "I'll drop her a line instead." I say. "Or you can send her an email." the colleague replies.

Wednesday 17 June
Today's venue is a prep school with two hundred (!) overexcited 7-10 year olds running around the school grounds while I'm trying to teach members of staff. Perhaps I should have warned them I'm allergic to children.

Tuesday 9 June
During today's MS Access course we use one of my example databases to learn how to keep track of employee absence. At some point we want to add a new item to our suspicious sickies list. "Man flu", I write. "Is that something like swine flu?" one of my female course participants quips, which gets a reaction from the - only - male delegate ... "Much worse than that!"

Thursday 4 June
Move over And and Dec ... One of the course participants wrote on his evaluation form that my co-facilitator and me were great entert(r)ainers.

Tuesday 2 June
5PM and quite the last thing I need is to find out none of the computers have access to the software required for tomorrow's 2-day Train the Trainer workshop. Guess it'll make it easy to teach from experience when I get to the part where I explain about trainer robustness.

Wednesday 27 May
I'm using my mobile phone to try and convince a potential customer to cut out the middle man. "One minute remaining", the prerecorded pay-as-you-go-lady informs me, warning I'll be phoneless until I buy more credit. Oh Lordy! Perhaps it's time to sign on the dotted line.

Saturday 23 May
Accidentally locked myself out this morning.
When I get back from the gym hubby is out, so I am forced to sit in the garden for over an hour waiting for him to get home. Time I could (and probably would) have worked. Bliss!

Wednesday 13 May
Wanting to thank one of the client's users for something she had done, I send her an email. "You rock!", I state. Turns out the Germans don't know this mother of all compliments. She probably still wonders why I was talking about head banging in the disco.

Friday 8 May
Eating lunch "al desko" I check my company and private email. Unwittingly I click on a link in a friend's message and, before I realise what's going on, I hear the client's comments about the rather inappropriate webpage. So - afterwards - the friend tells me it was NSFW. NS-what? Even if he had tagged it, I probably would have thought it meant Now Show Friends and Workmates.

Wednesday 6 May
Went to bed early last night. The hotel guest in the room above mine woke me up at about 11PM. Then again at around midnight. And at 6.30 the stomping around started all over again. Turns out it was one of my consultants. Thank heaven he is leaving today. (Note to oneself: check his room number when he's next in.)

Monday 4 May
politically incorrect eye testLast Friday one of my customers asked me to print my training material using at least 12 point Arial. Bold, not italics or underlining. Borders, not text-boxes. Borders round sections instead of text-boxes. Left-justify only. Line spacing 1.5 ... apparently this is in line with the British Dyslexia Association recommendations. Although I was tempted to ask them to send one of my well-formatted handouts to a dyslexic person (If you can read this you don't have dyslexia) I got in touch with my courseware provider instead. Let me stress that I absolutely sympathise with dyslexics, but I simply cannot afford to spend the time or money reformatting all of my training material. Small business owners of the world, untie!

Tuesday 28 April
I hate to admit it but I've never (ever) used pay-at-pump technology. I even seem to have a mental block for the signs on the display at the petrol station. So I give the chap in the kiosk a dirty look. ("Why aren't you releasing the pump, matie?") After what seems like five minutes I spot the instructions on the screen. So I feel pretty low when I drive up to the client. (Make me modern? You gotta be joking!) Until I hear that one of my course participants will be 15 minutes late because he has spilled petrol all over himself.

Thursday 16 April
When today's client tells me about his work experience in the Netherlands we talk about national stereotypes. (Remember? The Germans don't have a sense of humour. The Russians are drunk most of the time. The French eat frogs ...) When I mention the Dutch are known to be rude the client sighs a sigh of relief and says he was trying to find a euphemism. Right. And the British never say what they mean!

Wednesday 15 April
First day back at work after a fab Easter break. Last night we left four friends behind in Ireland, but six people wanted to get trained today, so hey! When I got there, though, it turned out there were only two. Those in employment have a statutory right to at least 5.6 weeks’ paid annual leave. That's at least 28 days' paid holiday. How annoying.

Friday 3 April
Last week I went to one of the evening classes at the customer's gym. After the initial confusion about what to expect (the workout was announced as TBC, what - in my books - means To Be Confirmed) I did an hour Total Body Conditioning. Great fun, but ever since I've been popping pills and drinking peppermint tea to combat pain and nausea. And as today would have meant seven hours on my feet doing what I like best (training) I felt I had no other choice but to postpone. Thank God for understanding clients.

Friday 27 March
Being able to buy from sellers living all over the world is one of the amazing benefits of eBay. Or so eBay claimed in their email congratulating me on buying internationally. As the seller was charging me quite a bit more for the privilege of buying overseas I asked one of my hotel acquaintances if it could be delivered to his address. ("Hopefully it is not a piano", he replied.) So, as the highest bidder of the "Seltener französischer Art Deco Wecker", I make my way back to the UK, my "new" alarm clock in my hand luggage. But the airport security chappies with their x-ray machines aren't best pleased with what they see on the conveyor belt and I'm marched into a side room. Hang on, guys. It's just a clock that can be set to sound a bell or buzzer at a desired hour. And as I found out after I paid for it ... it doesn't even work!

Thursday 19 March
During today's Excel course we were talking about ways to do calculations. At some point I tell them about the slide rule I was taught to use at school. "My dad had one of those", one of my course participants says. Gee, thanks for reminding me of the fact that when I was young a hard drive was a long trip on the road.

Tuesday 17 March
Teaching the terrified, the Undo button is welcomed with great enthusiasm. From today onwards I'll use the name one of the participants gave it: the go-back-to-where-I-was-happy-button.

Friday 13 March
For some reason leaving the house without your mobile phone - which you didn't have the first thirty years of your life - is a cause for inexplicable panic. We also know it's pretty naff if you've downloaded La Macarena as your ringtone. But I'm happy to turn a blind eye (or ear) for the traditional Scottish bagpipes that went off during today's course in Aberdeen.

Wednesday 11 March
With ten minutes to spare until my gate closes I arrive at Norwich airport. Suffice to say I'm stressed. But stress levels went sky-high when I had to pay five pounds "Airport Development Fee" before I could proceed through security to departures. Apparently, since 2004, the Airport Development Fee has helped contribute towards the 15 million spent on new facilities at Norwich International Airport. (They sure could have fooled me!) But I digress ... I had to purchase a ticket at one of the payment machines located in the airport terminal building. "Once at the airport head straight for the departure gate. What could be simpler?", BMI wrote in their booking confirmation. You can stop sniggering now.

Friday 6 March
7AM and I'm busy setting up the seminar room at our premises. I have warned the delegates there is some work going on in the back garden but that they should still be able to park at the rear of the house. So I'm horrified to see a van arrive. My hair still wet from the shower I go over in my dressing gown. (Etiquette, what etiquette?) "You weren't supposed to be here!" I say and I explain I will get visitors who need to be able to park. They tell me there will be two more vehicles. "Oh no, no, no, no, no, no. The only two extra cars will be my participants'!" So we end up with three parked vans in a no-on-street parking street. Let's hope we're still on speaking terms with the neighbours.

Thursday 5 March
Today the World's Favourite Airline landed earlier than ever. So at some point during the car trip back to Cambridge my driver rings his wife to tell her to put the spuds on early. Using his new bluetooth voice recognition mobile, he talks to the beaming thing on his dashboard. "Phone home," he says. Although I hurt myself laughing I try not to interfere with technology and hold back. Before you know it scientists say they have discovered evidence of a signal from an extraterrestrial civilisation following their analysis of, what sounded like, human sniggering.

Monday 2 March
Last night I (thought I had) set my usual two alarms to make sure I get to the airport on time. Normally, I wake up well ahead of the noisy device, but this morning I was rudely awakened by the sound of a car. Oh Lordy - my driver! So after running around like a headless chicken for about ten minutes I get in his car, unwashed. I get on the - already boarding - plane, unwashed. But I'm sure the client wants to keep the great unwashed out, so instead of going directly to the office I head for the hotel for a shower and some clean knickers.
I know I always say I love the chaos that comes with business travel, but this is pushing it.

Tuesday 24 February
In an effort to explain why a new window opens when applying settings to sub-items, I talk about multitasking. "Something only us women can do" I add, which is always good for a few giggles. One of today's male course participants replies they are able to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. "We drink beer and watch football".

Tuesday 17 February
"You remind me of Angela Rippon." one of my course participants says. Angela Who? A quick google by one of the other delegates brings me face-to-face with my mum lookalike. There was me hoping that the statement I read the other day, that what you see in the mirror is actually nothing like how you really look, was true.

Monday 16 February
Today's mission was to make people fall in love with Word 2007. And what's funny is that they all seemed to like the new Office 2007 "Mini Toolbar", something I'm not a great fan of myself. So when asked for their favourite thing (with apologies to anyone who finds themselves humming the Sound of Music tune for the rest of the day) one of them said "mini bar". Now there's a novel way to stop ignoring its disappearing act. (Images of posh hotels with well-stocked fridges flood my mind.)

Friday 13 February
Although I'm not superstitious I flew back a day early and spent today with one of my client's in London, clutching some rosemary, lavender, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger root, one black and six white candles. Good thing, because a jet carrying 67 passengers crash-landed at London City airport tonight which forced 11 incoming flights to divert. And I would have been in one of those!

Thursday 12 February
On my way home from my client I read in the inflight magazine that only 18 per cent of UK employees are happy with their current workplace. I'm just going to repeat that. Eighteen percent! Boy, am I blessed with some great customers!! (And no, I don't just write this because I found out I have some followers in this week's workplace.)

Thursday 5 February
6AM. It's snowing heavily and although I'm on my way to a client in London I feel like I'm preparing for the final ascent to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. (And yes, I do know what I'm talking about.) Thermals? Check. Walking boots? Check. Am I mad? Check. Like on Kili, it took me a lot longer than it should've, but I made it!

Tuesday 3 February
Yesterday, the worst snow South-East England had seen for 18 years disrupted travel and closed schools and airports. All London buses were pulled from service and National Rail announced severe delays and strongly advised customers not to travel unless the journey was absolutely critical. And if customers did travel there was no guarantee that a return service would be available. Memories of being stuck on a freezing train for five hours in the middle of nowhere with people putting their newspapers under their clothes to keep warm, came flooding back. (No, this wasn't during the war. And no, this wasn't in a third world country.) So I agreed with the client to cancel today's training session in London as more snow and ice was forecast. So here I am, feeling smug I didn't catch the flu everybody else seemed to have at last week's customer site, yet still not earning anything. Murphy's law.

Friday 30 January
Not sure whether it’s the Friday afternoon blues or the early signs of menopause, but I keep loosing my thread during my Key User training session. Shame I'm nowhere near the part where I can say "Discuss it in pairs and then I'll collect your ideas on the flip chart." (Meaning: I have lost the plot and need some time to refocus.)

Tuesday 27 January
Back in August 2006 one of my clients paid the same invoice twice. In the thrall of my Calvinistic goodie-goodie upbringing I wrote to them. Twice. But apart from my accountant nobody seemed to care. Until yesterday, when I found a voicemail from one of the world's largest auditors. Guess the woes brought about by the credit crunch even gets big companies on their toes. So I pay back the amount - without interest. (And no, that doesn't mean I didn't ask how the auditor's mother was doing when I sent the cheque.)

Wednesday 21 January
My training venue for the next two days is the dining room of a residential care home. The bathroom we are told to use is kitted out with a hoist on the side of the bath and the raised toilet seat has support rails. Out of fear of staff barging in with a crash trolley I decide to have a pee in the dark.

Tuesday 20 January
Having forgotten my favourite presentation gizmo I have to make do with the laser pointer on the remote control of the client's projector. Not a big deal as such, apart from the fact that the bulky device with its button on the back reminds me of my wii remote and I have to control the urge to swing it like a bowling ball. Nice spare!

Monday 19 January
Today me and my "mobile classroom" head for one of the oldest Colleges in Cambridge. So here I am lugging my training paraphernalia up the three worn out flight of stairs. Thank God they didn't build skyscrapers 700 years ago.

Friday 16 January
Earlier this month various horoscopes predicted 2009 was going to be my best year ever. But so far I've had four cancelled flights, two drastically delayed flights, three cancelled courses, been charged five times more than normal for my regular hotel because of the Messe, sat next to a grown-up who ate nine of his own bogies and when today's flight for the first time in ages arrived on time, my driver was 20 minutes late. Perhaps 2009 is the time to play the lottery and let fate choose my numbers ... 4, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 20.

Friday 9 January
Because of the small group size I booked a different caterer for lunch for today's course participants. (Unlike other training companies we never cancel scheduled courses if there isn't enough interest.) Bang on time they drop off the selection of sandwiches, rolls and wraps, so the interruption is minimum. Or rather: the interruption could have been minimum if the delivery chappie hadn't felt the need to discuss the premises. "Do you ever watch Poirot?" he asks, after a lecture about the popular design movement from 1925 to 1939. Yes, I do - but do you mind if I return to my class?

Monday 5 January
The end of the holidays, cold weather and economic gloom will make today one of the most stressful days of the year for returning to work. Or so today's Daily Mail reports. It continues to say that a survey revealed that people are most likely to be irritated by colleagues eating noisily (28 per cent), sniffing (26 per cent), talking too loudly on the phone (21 per cent) and singing (5 per cent). (Singing? At work?!) But what if you cannot even get to your "colleagues" because of a three hour flight delay? Well, the article comes up with a remedy to combat tension - throw a tantrum. So I get rid of my stress ball and have a go at the girl at the ticket desk. Oooooooo......hhhhhhhhhh......mmmmmm.

Saturday 3 January
Since New Year's Eve Outlook had been throwing its toys out of the pram. Perhaps it didn't agree with me working on a day when most people were getting ready to celebrate, but it wasn't even 4PM when I sent off a couple of training manuals to my printers. Yet, ever since, it continuously displayed the message "Preparing to send/receive" in the bottom right corner, whereas there was nothing to send. But even more annoying ... when there was something in the outbox, it wouldn't budge it. A quick google came up with all sorts of solutions, but none of them did the trick.
This morning my tech support chappie (aka hubby) suggested to change my outgoing mail server address from our ancient ntlworld one to our Linux box. And hey presto. Apparently one of the attachments of the New Year's Eve batch had been turned into 28 pages of gobbledegook and got stuck somewhere. Yet it bounced as soon as I changed the smtp address. Good old Phil, my former colleague, but now officially my hero!

Thursday 1 January 2009
Happy New Year! Gelukkig nieuwjaar. Freues Neues. Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Duit. Eutychismenos o kainourgios chronos. Stastny Novy Rok. Godt NytÅr. Onnellista uutta vuotta. Bonne année. Boldog uj evet. Buon anno. Godt Nytt År. Szczesliwego Nowego Roku. La Multi Ani si Un An Nou Fericit. Feliz año nuevo. Gott Nytt År.
Just practicing for when I go back to the client on Monday. But I am eight languages short. Any Bulgarian, Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Portuguese, Slovak or Slovenian people out there?

2008 diary

Roem Limited
Cambridge, UK
tel: +44 (0)1223 - 214177
mobile: +44 (0)7941 - 848326
email: karen@roem.co.uk

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December 2009