Getting cross on email.

Finally I have discovered the secret to getting people to leave you the fuck alone and stop pestering you with their incessant demands. Get cross on email.

From: Subcontractor bint                  Sent: 20 June 2012 14:15
To: Some People                                      Subject: HSEQ Issues

Afternoon All,

Further to our meeting last Tuesday (apologies for the delay), please find attached the list of subcontractors I am going to make non payable on the system due to not receiving a HSEQ.

The first Tab details the “outstanding issues” and I have added a notes column of my own, providing feedback on what action I am going to take.

The rows highlighted in grey are new subcontractors that weren’t on the gap analysis originally.

The second tab is the overall summery for H&S and I have also included my actions on this page.

If you do have copies of HSEQ’s for the subcontractors in the first tab, please can you forward over to Vicky or myself ASAP so we can update the system and make them payable again?

I have included the “contract” column so you can see which contracts these subbies are assigned to, if you feel they are no longer working on your contract, can you advise so we can remove them from the list?

Hope the table is pretty self explanatory, however if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards


 Subcontractor bint.

From: Commercial Manager                 Sent: 20 June 2012 14:19
To: Framework Manager; Vicola
Subject: FW: HSEQ Issues

Framework Manager / Vicola

Not checked yet, but from those I saw at the meeting there are some that we need

Commercial Manager

From: Vicola               Sent: 20 June 2012 14:18
To: Commercial Manager; Framework manager
Subject: RE: HSEQ Issues


I am well aware that we are getting behind in terms of HSEQ assessments on subcontractors but I will be honest here. I have not got the time to do everything that is currently being asked of me. I cannot deal with subcontractors, Enterprise incident investigations, all the extra stuff that Enterprise have piled on to the department, asbestos management plan for the yard, outstanding audit actions, a raft of upcoming HSEQ audits on every NW site from New Company and getting everything out to site and done for the client’s Olympic torch initiative as well as getting out on site to try and make sure we don’t have any more major catastrophes. There aren’t enough hours in the day to currently do everything that I am being expected to do. Either I am going to have to be given more assistance to do everything that is required or everyone is going to have to lower their expectations of what I can achieve as my hours and my expected output aren’t currently compatible. Sorry to go off on one but I’m getting grief from all directions here and I can’t make everyone happy at the moment.



Now they are staying the hell out of my way and not even making eye contact, let alone sending me emails about stupid subcontractor evaluations. Thank fuck for that. Now perhaps I can get some bloody work done.



Well , Saturday is the day of ‘The Run’. Best Friend, C and I are doing the Race for Life in Tatton Park and we’re trying to RUN all of it. Anyone who has not seen me run will be unaware of the amazing spectacle it presents, not only because previously I only ran when the last orders bell went but also because anatomically I’m just not designed for it. I am all legs and arms and me running looks like what would happen if you filled Bambi with gin and sent him off trying to move quickly in a straight line. I am a disaster running, I look like I have some sort of problem and I’m hopelessly unfit. But we’re going to give it a go in memory of my dad and of C’s lovely mum who died of leukemia 5 years ago. Wish us luck, I don’t know about the other two but I’m sure as shit going to need it. Anyone who makes a joke about ambulances or CPR is in trouble…

If anyone would like to sponsor us, you can do so at  . If you sponsor us I make a solemn promise not to give you any abuse for at least 1 calendar month and to never call you a tight arse. Go on, you know you want to….

A year on.

I have to confess that I’m half cut. I’ve been out for a friend’s birthday party and drunk more wine than I’d usually go through so if there’s any spelling or grammar errors, I apologise. But I write better when I’m pissed. Or, more accurately, I write more honestly when I’m pissed. I wrote my dad a letter when I was pissed and he was dying. I’m much more honest when I’ve had a few and I’m typing, it feels like there’s just you and your writing there, no audience, no one you have to play to, just somewhere to write what you feel. And so here I am again, after a night filled with wine and other people’s problems to write it down again.

It’ been a year since my dad died at 58 of metastatic non small cell lung cancer. Well actually it’s been just over a year, May the 27th if you’re concerned with dates. The funny thing is that a year doesn’t seem the milestone that you think it will be. When someone dies unexpectedly and before their time, you grieve. This is the natural order of things. But in that grief, you look at ‘a year’ as some sort of pivotal date, like after that everything will be easier, you will no longer feel responsible for your mum, you will no longer feel like something is missing every time you go into their house, you won’t be hit with that sudden longing to go backwards to a time when they were there and you could see them. You think that at a year you reach some sort of acceptance with what has gone on. I don’t know why you’d believe that this marking of a calendar year would make the blindest bit of difference but you do. And the realisation that it doesn’t is pretty hard.

I still miss him. I still struggle to deal with my mum. I still find it the hardest thing in the work to ignore it when she says things designed to get at me and my brother because she’s hurting. Patience is not a virtue that has ever come naturally to me and the passing of a calendar year hasn’t changed this. I am a practical person, give me a practical problem and I will offer you seventeen solutions, stand a person in front of me crying and saying their life has fallen apart and I’ll shuffle about like a twat, saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing and making everything worse. A year of people crying in front of me hasn’t, as it turns out, moulded me into Oprah Winfrey.

Tonight I went out for a friend’s birthday. She’s a very  old friend, in fact she’s my oldest friend, our mums made friends when they were pregnant and lived in the same street so we’ve been friends since before we could walk or talk. So inevitably our parents have been friends for that 32 years too. Since my dad died, relations between my mum and my friend’s mum have been more strained and less spontaneous than they used to be. I don’t know exactly why, maybe my mum resents that her husband died and her friend’s husband didn’t, who knows. But tonight, after we’d all had a few, my friend’s mum opened up to me and confessed that she felt hurt by the way my mum has acted, the way she’ s been avoiding her in recent times. She was also hurt that when my mum and me/ my bro had a bit of a set to the other week, we turned to another friend and not her for advice. And at that point my taxi arrived so I said I’d phone her tomorrow and arrange to go round for a brew and a proper chat. At which point my slightly more sober friend asked if i would please do that, so it must have been mentioned a bit round their house.

The upshot is this: A year on isn’t a magical date at which the grieving stops. It  isn’t a magical time at which any strained relations will suddenly be fixed either. All it is is the end of the ‘firsts’, first father’s day, first birthdy without him, first christmas, first 23rd December (his birthday), first anniversary. What I can say is that a year on I recognise that other people outside our immediate fmaily are hurting too. My friend’s mum is hurting, not just from the loss of him but the loss of her best friend and the potential loss of the closeness we all had before the lung cancer blew it all apart. I recognise that her husband has lost his best friend and that if you watch him at group parties you’ll see him wander aimlessly fron group to group, never settling, never quite fitting in because his wingman, the one he always chatted to, is gone now and you can’t replace 30 years of friendship and shared history in a heartbeat. I recognise that I now have a responsibiity to try and make  things easier for those I care about, which is why tomorrow I’ll do   what I said tonight I would do, I’ll ring my friend’s mum and go round for coffee to try and reassure her that everything will be ok. And it’s a lie. I don’t know whether it will or it won’t. All I know is that at some point around the diagnosis of cancer the roles were reversed and I became the responsible one, the one people round here turn to for answers about my family. I never asked for it, I didn’t want it but I’ve got it and now I have to try and make it ok for other people without any knowledge, training or aptitude. It’s not easy.

Disappointingly a year on isn’t a magic date. I wish it were. A year on and we, or at least my brother and I, have accepted what has happened and are trying to rebuild things but that doesn’t mean we don’t still hurt, or get angry, or feel like our foundations have been knocked. We do. But now we are starting to see that other people are hurting too and that brings its  own set of challenges and problems that have to be faced.


Jubilee Weekend commentary

Hot on the heels of my new resolution not to get so angry about work because I’m in danger of getting sectioned and people were starting to flatten themselves against walls and avoid suuden movements or eye contact as I walked down the corridor, we get a long weekend! How lovely is that. So did I go down to London to join the crowds in the Mall, waving flags and cheering, did I wander round St James’s Park making conversation and watching the concert on the big screens, did I stand outside Buckingham Palace in the hope that Prince Harry would suddenly find my beauty irresistable and take me out for a cracking night on he champers round the posh bits of London?

Not exactly. I woodstained and assembled two flatpack shoeracks. This took up most of my long weekend with a little break in the middle to go to a friend’s house and stay over there. On the plus side, this means I saw most of the jubilee celebrations on the telly while swearing at the woodstain, wrestling with the flatpack assembly and wincing at the muscle damage I acquired while wrestling the new shoe racks into the car. And my thoughts are thus:

River Pageant – It’s quite remarkable how dull the BBC managed to make 1000 boats travelling down river. Now I will give them the fact that the weather, in typical British fashion, was shit, but really, was it that likely to be brightened up by the application of Fearne Cotton, a presenter who has fewer IQ points that she has fingers and who is fully capable of dumbing down literally any event. Highlights of Fearne’s performance on the day include addressing a war veteran as Jim, when his name wasn’t Jim and by describing another guy’s survival of the bombing of his ship by clinging onto the body of a dead shark as ‘wow, amazing’ in the same tone she used to describe the Jubilee sick bags. More of which later. I genuinely have no idea why she keeps getting wheeled out for live broadcasts, they require concentration and thought, which let’s be honest, aren’t Fearne’s strong points. Throw a sparkly bangle across the road and you’ll lose her as she scampers after it like an eager spaniel. Girl’s as thick as two short planks.

The Concert – I liked the concert. The concert was good. Not too sure why Will.I.Am featured so heavily, like a small  grinning gnome in fancy dress, since he’s American and as far as I’m aware, America hasn’t been part of Britain’s commonwealth for quite some time. As is Stevie Wonder but then at least Stevie Wonder has some musical talent, unlike our own Cheryl Cole who succesfully managed to prove that talent doesn’t necessarily follow beauty and sometimes miming to a track that’s been fed through the autotune machine isn’t a bad thing. Cliff Richards looked most intriguing, like a stretched marshmallow balanced on top of two pastel coloured pipecleaners and Elton John seemed to have a brand new chihuahua stapled to the top of his head. Outstanding. Rolf Harris did supremely well not to slap Lenny Henry right off the stage after the ignorant git interrupted his song to get Stevie Wonder on. Listen Lenny, it’s ROLF HARRIS, which may not mean much to you but my generation grew up with Rolf, you ask anyone my age ‘d’you know what it is yet?’ and they’ll have flashbacks to Rolf’s Cartoon Time. You. Do. Not. Kick. Rolf. Off. Stage. EVER! Got that Henry?? Rolf was kindly filling in because Stevie Wonder was late, it wouldn’t have killed him to wait another minute till everyone’s favourite Aussie doodler was done. Show some respect.  And another thing, it wasn’t really the time to air your working class black lad shoulder chip. This wasn’t about you and your gripes, it was a concert.

Rolf Harris - legend. As opposed to Lenny Henry - bellend.

Rolf Harris – legend. As opposed to Lenny Henry – bellend.

 Annie Lennox was as usual dressed in something weird and magnificently in tune, Paul McCartney was as usual dressed like he was still in the Beatles and mediocre. All in all, liked the concert and if Gary Barlow doesn’t have a knighthood before he’s 50 I’ll streak down Deansgate in nothing but carpet slippers.

Church thingy and various other bits and bats yesterday – What I particularly liked about the church service was that Prince Harry, Kate and Prince William were quite clearly hungover. Wills and Kate tried to hide it, Harry slumped in his seat like only a Big Mac and a pint of Sprite would save his life. Magnificent. This is what we want to see from Royals, a stinking hangover, as per royal tradition of hundreds of years.

Royally fucked - we've all had moments like this. Not usually in front of tens of millions of people mind you.

Royally fucked – we’ve all had moments like this. Not usually in front of tens of millions of people mind you

 I didn’t really listen to the sermon because I’m not religious and I was having some difficulty with the assembly of my shoe racks at this point but I’m sure it was lovely, mostly because I like Rowan Williams, he’s delightfully beardy, looks like he doesn’t give a fuck which direction his hair goes in or what his clothes are doing and says the first things that pop into his very brainy head. This seems to get him into trouble but it is mighty amusing and so I like him. The rest of the stuff from yesterday wasn’t that interesting and was marred once again by a liberal application of the moron Cotton, who this time was with weirdy songstress Paloma Faith, a woman who started by plugging her album and then moved on to discussing the jubilee sick bag. Which apparently comes in two colours and according to the insightful Cotton, whose commentary on the affairs of the day never fail to impress, you can eat too much and then pick which colour you want to throw up in. Every utterance is a gem, truly.

Someone just cranked the level of stupid in the room up to 'maximum'.

Someone just cranked the level of stupid in the room up to ‘maximum’.

So, a lovely jubilee weekend, two shoe racks fully stained and assembled, only one hangover over the whole period and one personal injury. I count that as a raging success. When’s the next one?