Nice things

Surprising the intern by decorating his desk with balloons and party poppers for his 21st birthday, even though you’ve only ever passed the time of day with him in the kitchen, just because he’s new and shy and doesn’t really know anyone.


American Office

(This is the first blog from my new MacBook. The plan is, now I have my own laptop and am not sharing my husband’s PC, that this happens more…)

Anyway, Chris and I watched The American Office tonight. It’s on ITV4 now. We’ve seen bits before but not whole episodes.

Some observations:
1. There is not enough background noise. It’s noticeable.
2. Chris kept trying to figure out which American character was which British character.
3. I can’t watch Steve Carrell now without remembering how great he is in Little Miss Sunshine.
4. I need to watch more of it, I think. Didn’t strike me straight away (mainly for the above reasons).

Last chance to see

As a general rule, I am not a fan of wildlife programmes. But I have been thoroughly enjoying Stephen Fry’s retracing of Douglas Adams’s steps in ‘Last Chance to See’. What I enjoy so much is Fry’s apparent lack of suitability for such a task (he hates camping, isn’t very good at getting off boats in one piece and readily admits that he’d prefer the animals to come to him in London – all things I can relate to). And yet he is, without exception, won over by every incredible example of the natural world that he happens to stumble upon. As much as I share in his seeming distaste for exploration, I also share in his awe and delight at the rich diversity of life.

I think all wildlife programmes should be presented by Stephen Fry.

Cheltenham Literature Festival

On Friday, Leigh and I took a well-earned break from the office and spent the day at the Cheltenham Literature Festival. We had a genuinely lovely day. Not necessarily because of the events we paid to attend (although they were all excellent, both entertaining and insightful) but because of the room it gave us to think and to be challenged intellectually. Owen Sheers made me want to rediscover poetry and to seek out his BBC4 programme on iPlayer; the discussion on mad women in literature triggered a desire to discover a few unread classics; and the subject of journalism writing history highlighted global issues I know scarcely enough about to make the kind of judgements I find myself making.

If only I had the time to do all of those things: to read non-fiction, classics, poetry, political diaries; to watch documentaries about subjects that are new to me; to visit places that will stimulate me. I do have that time. I am simply too distracted by day-to-day living but also by the technology in my home, which requires little attention, wastes many hours and allows me to passively absorb information – little of it of any consequence – in bite sized chunks. A case in point: this week I have tried (and failed) to read three different books. This is not the fault of the books. It is my painfully and increasingly short attention span.

I would like our day at the literature festival to change that.

Some other observations from Friday:
1. I was having breakfast (well, coffee) in Starbucks. They’ve started asking for your first name when you order and then proceed to shout, “tall Americano with room for milk for Jenn!” I don’t like it.
2. Leigh phoned whilst I was in Starbucks to say she was lost (she really, really was). I used Google Latitude to find her and it worked a treat.
3. I was impressed by the sheer number of children at the festival and completely bowled over by their delight and enthusiasm as they had books signed by authors such as Anthony Horowitz and Julia Donaldson. I was bowled over in a very different sense by the number of adults queuing to meet Alan Titchmarsh.
4. There was a lovely European market on the Promenade and it was there that I discovered that sweet ginger is delicious when eaten together with sundried tomatoes.