Sunday, September 27, 2009

War on Font

I realise there are plenty of more important things to be upset by, but over the last few weeks I've become increasingly annoyed, to the point of hatred, with the font Comic Sans.

I was determined not to gripe too much about my new job, but I seem to have landed in a company obsessed by this font. It is used unsparingly on posters, leaflets and websites. I'm going to make it my mission to eradicate it. But they aren't alone - it crops up everywhere, although thankfully Blogger doesn't offer it as an option.

I can only assume my company uses it because they think it suggests a fun, friendly and quirky nature. Let me disabuse them of those notions right now.

Do we really want to appear fun? I think not. How about ridding ourselves of the public-sector jargon-speak first?

Friendly? Certainly, but accessible is part of friendly, and the dreaded front isn't actually that easy to read, online or off.

Quirky? Again, we are hardly a quirky organisation, but Comic Sans is so ubiquitous, you distinguish yourself more by not using it. I understand we don't want to look too corporate, but there is a middle ground between that and looking like amateurs.

Personally, I'm rather a Tahoma kind of girl. Clear, easy to read, the thinking person's Arial.

And while I'm on, I'll be removing all of those exclamation marks too. We are not an over-excitable teenager on text.

Hard Day at the Track

Coming out of my work-based bubble, I'm slowly re-emerging in the real world and socialising again.

This weekend it included a day at the races as a guest of the Queen.


The girlfried of a friend is PA to someone or other at Buckingham Palace and she was offered tickets for Ascot through her work. I went because it was a day out, a chance to dress up and most importantly, it was free.

The Premier Enclosure was rather disappointing - nowhere near as exclusive as I had hoped - in fact more people seemed to have the special pink badges than didn't. And more than a few people flauted the dresscode - there was many a man in a pink shirt sans tie.

I had what is termed a small flutter on the races. I know next to nothing about horse racing, odds or gambling, but you have to indulge a little I feel. Of the seven races, I gambled on just three, using equally unscientific methods in choosing my horse each time.

In the first race, I went with number 3 as number 3 has always been my lucky number, although I've never lucky and have no idea where the notiion came from that this was my lucky number. It failed to place.

In another race, I backed "Roker Park" drawn to the name as it was the name of Sunderland football team's old ground. Not that I'm a diehard football fan - I'm rather a typical fair weather supporter and supporting Sunderland an accident of birth rather than any great loyalty to them. In typical Sunderland fashion, the horse ran an unspectualar race, finishing second last.

But I did have a win. Ever cautious, I placed the minimum each way bet on a horse called Joshua Tree. I was thinking about Gram Parsons, rather than U2. It came from behind to win, and I went home £48 richer. Not enough to change my life, but it covered the cost of Pimms and the train ticket there and then some.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The View from the no. 42*

Weeks of my life have been consumed with buses. When I wasn't on a bus, I was waiting for a bus, running for a bus or changing buses.

The journey to work was generally fine, although my main bus seems prone to breakdowns - in the space of a week, I was on a bus that broke down, then I was the bus following a bus that broke down that had to pick up the stray passengers.

The bus journey can be rather pleasant on a morning. Apparently it takes you right past Tommy Steele's house, except I'm not entirely sure which one it is. There are some beautiful properties along the route, although their appeal is somewhat marred when you think about how many people must gawp into their gardens each day from the top deck of the bus.

The return journey however is a more stressful affair as no bus seems to travel without a handful of teenagers discussing how much alcohol they've recently drank. The young people of my new worktown are an interesting breed - the girls are like a race of superbeings, none of them over a size 6 or under 5ft10, all with waist-length toussled hair. None of the adults look like this so presumably they all either leave the town at 20 or decline dramatically (perhaps as a result of all that vodka drinking).

Anyway I was tired of the traffic and teenagers, so I've made a change to avoid the bus. I've not moved house or quit the job (although both thoughts have occurred to me). No, I've taken the rather less radical step of being a travelcard that allows me to take the train home (or more accurately two trains and a bus, as opposed to the two buses). My quality of life has improved although I'm sticking with the morning buses.

*the number of the bus has been changed to protect the innocent

Thursday, September 03, 2009


I'm still someway off "The Good Life" style self-sufficiency (and being Felicity Kendall, much to the OH's disappointment), but I've had some success in the garden this year.

I planted some radish seeds and so far I've harvested 6 of them, but there are more still growing. I'm rather proud of this achievement.

Although I'm not that keen on radishes and there isn't much you can actually do with them, besides put them in a salad. If anyone has any radish recipes, please do let me know...

The next door neighbours apple tree continues to shed its fruit into our garden, most of them falling and rotting before we can do anything with them. But at the weekend, I plucked some from the tree and made an apple cake. It has turned out well but obviously we can't eat a cake every week, so again if anyone has any healthy recipes for cooking apples, please do post.