A day out

Millie and I had a father and daughter day out today. 🙂  It had been planned for yesterday but Amber’s nursery kept calling us up to say she was ill and could we please come and collect her.  We’d arrive at nursery to find a beaming Amber shouting “Daddy! Daddy!  Lay-lays!  Lay-lays!” at the top of her voice and embarrassed-looking nursery Aunties mumbling something about temperatures and how she looks much better.

But today we finally got our day out on the town, and it was a slightly mixed bag.

For a start the day was defined by my having a brief interview with a digital media employment agency at 11am.  But first we had to collect a package from the post office and catch the train from Bexley station to Charing Cross.  Then we walked up to Leicester Square where the agency is based and had a brief but pleasant chat there about what I could do and what I wanted to be doing.

Kudos to Millie, who was dragged along to the interview, and to the agency who were very laid back about me bringing her along (I think both parties rather enjoyed the whole thing, actually).  It might seem like rather a boring thing for a five-year-old but in reality going through revolving doors and then in posh lifts up to cool offices is at least as new and different as going to a museum or a playground.  I vaguely remember seeing my dad’s work as some mysterious hermetic sanctum and often wondering what went on in there, so by that score I thought Millie would enjoy accompanying me on some vaguely official business to a West End office.

And Millie was exceptionally well-behaved.  And cute, too. 😉

Afterwards we wandered through Chinatown, which didn’t impress her much (they “did” China at school ages ago!).

Instead she was over the moon to find some Chinese takeaway-style silver cats that with the addition of a mere AA battery would wave at you, so we bought one of those and she marvelled at this more than anything else we saw for the rest of the day.  Sadly, when we got home and put the aforementioned AA battery in it didn’t initially work, but I was ridiculously proud to bolster my “Dad” credentials by opening it up with a screwdriver and managing to – somehow! – fix the thing. You better believe I am the daddy tonight!

Then we had some lunch from the sandwich shop I used to frequent near Yahoo! and met up with some of my old colleagues in the Phoenix Gardens across the road.  It was nice to catch up with them – and to discover that they still remember who I am!

Afterwards we walked down to Embankment and caught a river boat to Greenwich – which was supposed to be the centrepiece of the day, but actually fell rather flat (despite costing us only five pounds).

We got on board the boat and the first thing Millie said was “Can I play with your iPod?” and then “I’m bored“.  It eventually turned into a hissy fit because I wouldn’t let her continue to annoy the poor woman in front by pulling the little seat table up and down.

I then had a hissy fit of my own at Millie’s ungratefulness – which wasn’t helped by my sudden realisation that I had completely and utterly turned into my parents and Millie had turned into me.

We both apologised to each other when we got off the boat at Greenwich and caught the bus home to Bexley, whereupon Millie and Amber have both come down with sore throats and temperatures – perfect timing to disrupt the long-planned weekend visit from our friends the Mays.



The perils of (unem)’ployment

I must have angered the gods of unemployment somehow.  Not content with shattering my idyllic life by sending Millie out on her school summer holidays they’ve today sent Amber home from nursery with a temperature, so I could have two children at home with me tomorrow.

This is a situation I can handle but it’s not a desirable situation, by any means.  Even more so if Amber remains ill and Millie is bursting with irrepressible energy.  Millie was promised today that we’d have “an adventure” tomorrow, so if she’s thwarted in that things could take a turn for the desperate.

Poor Amber, she was laid on the sofa tonight looking hot, pink and cute, sadly repeating “Amby poorly” to anyone who’d listen.  So not only have my hopes of playing Demigod and doing some reading gone out of the window, but even the lesser hope of “an adventure” tomorrow – which would at least get us out of the house – looks to be fading rapidly. 😦

This unemployment is not working out the way I’d envisioned it.

I’d imagined dropping the girls at their various childcare establishments, tidying up, putting some washing on and then catching up on series 2 of True Blood.  Then I might surf the web to catch up on my news fix, have some nice lunch, read a bit, possibly do some exercise or maybe watch a recorded film.  I’d check the job sites, send out a few CVs and covering letters and arrange an interview or two so that I could start back at work just as my books-to-read and DVDs-to-watch piles reached rock-bottom.

In reality I seem to have alternated between panicking that I’ll never get a job ever again and having chronic diarrhoea, and that’s no way for anyone to live. 😦

Most of the time thus far I’ve been relatively confident that I’ll find another job fairly soon, that we won’t starve or be forced to borrow money; sometimes, however – usually following a few terse rejections in a row – I have panicked worried a little  – what if my job at Yahoo! was a once-in-a-lifetime fluke?  What if I really do know nothing and have no explicable skills worth hiring?  What then??

At the moment I’m on an upswing following a nice weekend away, being paid my redundancy money and having two hopeful employment leads to follow up this week, but the ugly thought that I might still be unemployed in six months is never more than a rejection email away…

So the enjoyable parts of being unemployed seem to be slipping through my fingers at the moment.  I was hoping to stanch that flow with “an adventure” with Millie tomorrow, but Amber may have put a stop even to that.  Sigh.


“Sorry, Mr Carter,” said the lady at a certain car rental business, “there seems to be a little bit of a problem with the car you’re returning.”

“Oh?  Really?  What is it?”

“It’s the petrol – you were supposed to return the car with three-quarters of  tank and this is just under three-quarters of a tank.  See?”

“Well, it should be fine – I just drove three miles out of my way to put eight quids worth in so that it would be fine, and it was at exactly three-quarters of a tank when I left the garage.”

“Hmm, yes, well, it isn’t now.  I’m afraid we’ll have to deduct six pounds fifty from your deposit.”

“For that much petrol?????”


“For that tiny sliver of the fuel gauge?”


Sigh. Fine.  Whatever.”

And brilliant poor Millie was so upset by this patent nonsense that she was sick in the back of the car they gave us a lift home in.

Heh heh heh.

Just back…

..from a weekend (sans children) in Somerset.  I drove.  It was tiring.  There are some pictures.

Millie & Amber stayed at my parents and had the time of their lives…

Instead of our camera I used my new iPhone 4 to take some pictures at the wedding and have been quite impressed by the results, particularly the ones at the reception which, whilst not amazing, are passable – the first time I’ve ever seen picture taken indoors at night using a phone that are.

We also relied heavily on the iPhone to find our way around in deepest darkest Somerset, not least at night in areas where even local drivers were afeared to tread.  So that’s the iPhone 4 first field test passed with flying colours. 🙂


No new job yet – I just got an email today informing me that despite the brilliant interview I gave last week the company don’t want me.

This hit me rather hard for a couple of hours, particularly when two other emails arrived just minutes later laughing at my excuse for an application turning me down.  Fortunately my lovely wife was on hand to give me a hug and make me feel better (my two lovely children were being rather naughty, however, and did not help matters).

But tomorrow we’re going away to Devon for the weekend, after we drop the girls at my parents – so we’ve essentially got a dirty weekend away for the first time in quite a while.

And I took Amber swimming this morning, just the two of us, and we both had the time of our lives – seems like a long time since Amber and I last did anything together like that…

And I’ve been consoling myself tonight looking at changing our internet provider (it’s sad, I know, but that kind of solid research project always makes me feel better).

And I’ve got a new iPhone 4.

And my stomach finally feels better.  I’m only slowly getting back into the habit of putting food in my mouth and swallowing it, but at least our toilet roll holder is no longer smoking from overuse.

So things could be worse. 🙂


It’s been very quiet here the past couple of days because I’ve been rather unwell.  Really nasty diarrhoea, basically, and a bit of a fever.  I’m a bit better now, but still surviving on banana milkshakes and Mars drinks.  I had three buttered Ryvita yesterday, but nothing else for three days – and even that orgy of consumption partly brought back the stomach cramps I had the day before. 😦

This is really spoiling the plans I had for all my new-found free time.  It already caused me to miss the Lovely Melanie’s birthday theatre trip, and on Monday I had tickets to see Hennig Wehn, which I also had to miss. 😦