Archive for the day trips Category

Episode 117. In which I attend a professional conference and get some stuff.

Posted in day trips, home on June 11, 2010 by diabetses

Today I went to the 2010 conference of the British and Irish Association of Law Librarians.  I decided that although I’m redundant I should make an effort to keep my hand in, a lot of people are in my position right now and attending this kind of thing is bound to count for something, dedication to the field or something. In any case a friend and former colleague was giving a presentation so I decided to go along as a day delegate (the conference lasts three days in total) on the day she was speaking, for moral support.

It was very interesting. When I first arrived I bumped into another friend I didn’t know was going, which was lovely, and then I set about the stalls. All the major legal publishers and information  providers, and several minor ones, set up stalls at the BIALL conference, because it’s a great opportunity for advertising to the people who are in charge of budgets set up specifically to be spent on these products.  Because they’re so keen to stick in the mind almost everyone gives out freebies to the delegates who visit their stalls.  Of course, I accidentally ended up with quite a haul.  There are also competitions at most desks to win prizes. You stick your business card in the bowl on the table, or take a raffle ticket, or answer a question, and on the last day of the conference there are prize draws left right and centre.

Assuming my lovely Moo cards are pulled out of every draw I will be the lucky recipient of two iPads, an e-reader, an iPod nano, several luxury hampers, a few bottles of champagne and something as yet unidentified that was displayed in a Tiffany’s bag.

What I was given, what I don’t need Lady Luck to shine on me for, is three mugs, a water glass, an umbrella, several pens, two notepads, a set of highlighters, a USB memory stick, a hardback booklet of post-it notes and neon page-markers, a keyring with a shopping trolley token branded for the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting, a football shaped stress ball, some little football shaped chocolates, a keyring torch and one of those mad credit card things full of tools.

Apart from the freebies it was actually a very good day. There was a session from Integreon, an organisation which is quite controversial amongst law librarians at the moment as they are encouraging firms to outsource their information and knowledge departments. I was particularly interested in this session because although of course I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through as regards losing their job and fearing their chosen career just doesn’t want them any more, Integreon are expanding at an exponential rate at the moment and are a potential employer for me, which makes them very attractive.  It was an interesting session, I’m not sure they will have set the minds of the nation’s law librarians at ease, but my perspective is somewhat different. I listened to their business plan and their plans for their knowledge and information departments, and I would genuinely like to work for an organisation with the plans that they outlined.

A lot of allusions were made to the current financial climate and how it’s hit law librarians, but the vast majority of comments were about having seen friends and colleagues affected. There was not the slightest suggestion of superiority about the fact that almost everybody at the conference was there on behalf of their employers but I did feel a bit out in the cold from time to time.  Just being reminded that I was basically alone in being there without employer sponsorship, without a job to go to, going there without the grace of God, or whatever.

In the next session a library manager gave a seminar on boilerplate clauses to be used in negotiating contracts and contract renewals, and I think her suggestions will be applied by everyone who attended. She spoke so much common sense and yet when you’re negotiating with a massive global corporation who provide you with a service you need to carry out your own business, it won’t necessarily cross your mind to make *them* agree to things over and above the basics. And you can’t rely on their idea of the basics covering *your* back.

After that was lunch which was provided by the conference organisers. Brown paper bags with a sandwich, an apple, a packet of crisps, a yoghurt, a bottle of water, it was very, very pleasant actually. More about that later.

In the afternoon I attended a couple more sessions, one about Knowledge Management Refocused, which was quite interesting but I didn’t quite agree with some of the speaker’s angles, which is no doubt my loss, but there we go. The final session was by my friend and a colleague of hers, on a wiki that their firm has set up to make knowledge available within the firm in as straight forward and interactive a way as possible.

All in all it was a good day. Tomorrow’s sessions look really interesting too, but I’m sure you’ll understand I’m on a budget here, one day at the conference was already my biggest expenditure of the year. Of course, the prize draws are tomorrow (Saturday) so although I’ll be at the pub by the time the draws take place, having my pre-birthday lunch of the best sausage and black pudding baguette and chips I have EVER had (Caroline of Brunswick, Ditchling Road) I’m going to be optimistic. I don’t need any of those prizes, of course I don’t. I can live without them, I’ve done alright so far. But if I won something, it would be lovely, it would be a lucky break that I think would keep me going for a little while, so I’m going to keep my fingers crossed, just in case.

In other news, my fella’s gone camping for the weekend. I knew this was happening of course, but it’s only just sunk in this evening, that I’m alone for the next 72 hours, and I am not really liking it. OK, I have the run of the house, I have the TV remote, I can watch whatever I want and I can go to bed and get up when I want without being sleeptalked at or woken up by the kettle. But I like him being here, and I’m already missing him at the thought of putting the chain on the door even though he’s not home yet.

I’m sure the time will fly by, I’m going to have a lovely lunch tomorrow with some lovely people and Sunday is always a nice quiet day.

It’ll be even nicer if I win an iPad. 😉

Diabetic moment of the day

At the conference I’d been given a little ticket saying I had special dietary needs, which I’d mentioned on my application, and I was to give the ticket to the people handing out the lunches. The little ticket didn’t say what my dietary requirement was, so I couldn’t be sure what exactly it was going to achieve, but I handed it over and was told to wait for the special lunches to be brought out.  I waited a few minutes then just handed back the energy bar that was originally in the bag (woah sugar-momma) and took the rest to sit with my friends. ‘Special Dietary Requirements’ apparently applied to vegetarians as well as diabetics and presumably the lactose intolerant and those with a peanut allergy, but without specifying the requirement on the ticket, I fail to see how the special lunches would be anything other than a paper bag full of cardboard and cleanroom air.  I’m sorry if anyone was stuck with a rubbish diabetic lunch cos I stole the ‘normal person’ lunch. I hope they got my energy bar, at least.

Episode 68. In which the day goes as planned, and yet does not.

Posted in day trips, food, home, people, rant, shopping with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2009 by diabetses

This morning, as planned, I had a little lie-in, then got up, watched Whitechapel, and went to the hospital for my diabetic retinal neuropathy screening. What happens there is that you get drops put in your eyes that make your pupils dilate, and then they take digital photos of your retinas, which are examined for any indication that your diabetes is blinding you. I’ve had it done before, the drops sting a little bit but no more than getting dust in your eye, the flass does go off right in your eye and as with all photography of me, I always blink and ruin it so they have to do it repeatedly.

This morning, they didn’t bother with the drops. I’m not sure what that means, the woman (doctor, nurse, technician, I don’t know, and didn’t ask) said my eyes were fine as they were. She said it was probably because I’m quite young (30 in four months, thank you very much) and they might change over time. Which still doesn’t really make sense because I was younger a year and a half ago than I am now. And I was even younger still a year before that, when they first did it.

Anyway, I’m not complaining, just curious. The drops take about half an hour to work properly so that saved me a bit of time hanging around, and I already had a bit of a headache this morning (from working so hard yesterday, no doubt) and I was worried about messing with my vision given that it was looking at stuff that was hurting.

Yay me and my youthful dilatable pupils.

When I was done at the hospital I went to the station, because today was the day for my big Ikea Croydon daytrip. I love Ikea, it’s fun, it’s like being in a sweetshop, only with cushions and throws and cutlery and things.  However, the Ikea at Croydon is really, really rubbish.  There was nothing fun at all, I specifically tried to find something to buy to treat myself and there was nothing.  The closest I got to a comfort-purchase was a big knitted throw, but I didn’t get it, on the grounds that if I want a knitted throw I’ll bloody well knit myself one.

It was a very long morning, all that nonsense and I was still home by half two.

Which is lucky because the furniture for our new flat was delivered early – the company asked if they could deliver it early and we said yes, because of the yay new furniture factor.

However, I am now utterly knackered.  I should’ve had a nap earlier but I was busy doing god knows what (nothing productive, it seems) and now it’s nearly teatime.  The one advantage to the ridiculous Ikea trip was at least I got us meatballs.  Om nom nom.

Incidentally, I’m pretty fed up of the people usptairs and their damned keep-fit-by-jumping-around-on-their-creaky-floor bullshit, I can’t wait to move.

Diabetic moment of the day

I nearly used the diabetes card today, at the train station I went to buy myself breakfast – there was a crowd of teenaged boys at the counter in the shop (I forget what it’s called, one of these places where they bake their own bread then put fillings in it) so I stood at the end of what looked like a queue.  However, as soon as the boys were served and went on their way, some skinny little bitch ran up to the counter guy and demanded the last sausage sandwich (which I had my eye on) and then some fat wanker who got there after me started shouting about what he wanted.  So I said (plenty audibly), FUCK THIS and left.  Unfortunately I ended up with a vegetable fucking samosa for breakfast because there are no other breakfast type places in the station that don’t make all their options with a kilo of sugar.

I know I’m a bit of a cow at the best of times but a queue’s a queue and I cannot abide queuejumping, especially not when it’s so bare-faced and shameless.  I genuinely believe that in that situation I should be legally allowed to grab the offending parties by the throat and throw them through a window.  It’s only fair.

Episode 32. In which we plan a day out in London.

Posted in day trips on January 12, 2009 by diabetses

I have a friend who recently moved to England from the USA (see Episode 7).  There was a time when she was over here temporarily, as a student, and once or twice we met up and painted the town red.  Or, more accurately, spent an hour or two eating and then wandered round the city trying to entertain ourselves.

Now that she’s here permanently, we’ve decided to do it again.  So as soon as I can get an afternoon off work, we’re going to do it again.  And now, we have to make a shortlist of what to do.

Last time, I had an absolute ball, it was a brilliant day, the only downside was I thoroughly wore myself out, and I can’t really count that as a downside so much as an inevitable consequence of running round London for seven hours.

To start with we went for lunch, to Volupte just off Holborn.  It was excellent, there was nobody else there so we had the place to ourselves.   There was a bit of hilarity when the waiter forgot to bring the sugarbowl to our table with the tea.  I sneaked into the kitchen to find one and got caught by the waiter coming out.  Luckily he was an outrageous flirt so he didn’t really care.  We also took some pretty excellent photos, because we were downstairs in a burlesque club on our own, the waiter came by once or twice but he didn’t seem to mind if we made use of the props.  There was a great sofa that I can only assume is usually used for scantily-clad women to lounge on, with  a very artistic kind of meadow scene painted on the back wall so it looked like you were lounging at Versaille.

We went to the Hunterian, where photography is not allowed but should be, and we may well go there again since I have now read (on her recommendation) The Knife Man, which is all about John Hunter, and which I heartily recommend that you read if you have any interest whatsoever in how medicine got to where it is today.

We went all kinds of places, I can’t even remember where else now.  We’ve had a couple of days of this and I can’t remember when we did what.  Another time we went to the V&A, we’ve done the National Portrait Museum and I can’t even remember where else, but this time I’m hoping we make it to the Natural History Museum, because I haven’t been there since I was tiny.

Also, there’s a Darwin exhibition on.  We like to see things that are free but we both like Darwin, so I’ve suggested we buy a scratchcard before going anywhere.  If we win, we’ll spend the money to go and see the Darwin exhibition.  If we don’t, we’ll have to make do with freebies.

Unless it looks really, really good when we get there.

Anyway, any suggestions would be gratefully received, I like weird quiet little museums and exhibitions that nobody knows about and that nobody would guess was there.  If you know of anything (or even anything worth seeing at any of the big ones) then let me know, please.

Diabetic moment of the day

I’ve started keeping my little spreadsheet again.  So that when I go back to the hospital in a couple of weeks I’ll be able to point out just how messed up the whole thing is.