Tweets on 2011-01-31

  • @sarabedford then – no referral deals unfortch. First time you run, you need to configure it to catch PPP and PM6 files. #
  • @sarabedford my 80GB costs $100 a year for daily online backups #
  • For some reason I can't remember, I'm having a Will & Grace marathon. When does Will get to actually kiss a guy? #
  • @sarabedford fortunate are the people who start backing up without first having a catastrophic data loss episode. #
  • @LloydieJL doorbell, phonecall, death of relative, terrorist atrocity, flyer through letterbox, misdelivered takeaway, earthquake #
  • @A_C_McGregor how about like this: #
  • Yet again have bought the wrong one of pedal bin liners / swing bin liners. Gah! #
  • Why can't they be called kitchen bin liners and bathroom bin liners? #
  • Buffet. Yay (@ May Sum) #
  • King's Speech. Can't poss live up to hype (@ Cineworld Nottingham) #
  • Is cinema screen sharper than ever? Digital projection? Or just my scary new spex? #
  • Drove home from the cinema with the top down, because we can. It was -2 outside. #
  • @willhowells send in, the tweets. #
  • @bellringingweb ringing will feature on this week's Come Dine With Me, Channel 4 at 5pm each day this week. #
  • "I'm afraid we don't have time for you to answer that question" Awkward, Sarah Montague! #bbcr4 #today #
  • Cor, was -5 overnight, still -4.7 now. #
  • Rare treat to visit Council House these days. (@ Nottingham Council House) [pic]: #

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Tweets on 2011-01-30

  • Catching up with #cdwm Sweetbreads?! Brave! #
  • Now starting to get really nervous about my Channel 4 début next week. Will I get death threats too? #
  • Refilling shampoo bottles from pouches. Should stave off the eco-apocalypse another few minutes. #savingtheplanet #
  • RT @sueperkins: Oh, and I wear the trousers in relationship [w/ @GilesCoren]. END OF x <<< this was never in doubt. #
  • @warrenellis would you like us to maybe set your house on fire? You'd feel warm for the rest of your life. #
  • @dwbullock tape within marriage, hmmm? We've moved on to MPEGs now. #
  • RT @miltonline: I put my oven at 180 degrees, and now all the shelves have fallen on the floor. #
  • @Meryl_F yup, C4 phoned to say it had moved to next week – my cooking night 1st Feb. #
  • @sarabedford you talking backups or collaborations? I use mozy to backup, dropbox to share. both are great. #
  • Dropbox FTW #
  • @JChris_J @SophWheeler looks like next Saturday is a repeat of Aberdeen. #

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Tweets on 2011-01-28

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Tweets on 2011-01-27

  • @austinrathe this is correct. Apols to all those I said 14th Feb to – Channel 4 switched things round. #
  • @LloydieJL they're completely rerouting the inner city one way systems. Turning Point East. #
  • RT @dr_nick: Beans cooked on hob sooo much nicer than beans done in microwave. <<< bloody gourmets #
  • @helenduffett I'm liking "extracorporeal" and I'm guessing @Psythor is too. #
  • Collection and fitting (@ Specsavers) [pic]: #
  • These cars don't come cheap 😥 (@ Santander) #
  • I will not have cake with lunch. I will not have cake with lunch. Ooh, baklava. #
  • @sarabedford I'm hoping for offers of DIY and cleaners! #
  • @hughmcguire let's keep telling ourselves that. #
  • It's very frustrating hearing @corfmeister report disinterested 14 year olds when I'd LOVE to have a tour of Radio 4! #
  • @willhowells every day next week at 5.30pm, me cooking on Tuesday 1st Feb. #
  • Much harder to get cat in box for repeat trip to vet. Sure sign of recovery. Has a week passed already. #
  • @willhowells recorded in Nov, broadcast next week! #
  • Waiting room quiet today. (@ Arnwood Vets) #
  • @10anta love #
  • @dr_nick Fudge broke his pretty tail 😦 we don't know how it happened, just came home to find. Door slam or gate slam, poss even cat bite. #
  • @10anta you seriously want me to answer that? #
  • Cat tail latest: full sensation to tip. Full recovery distinct possibility. Another week on anti-inflamatories. #
  • @dr_nick how many tails have you fixed? I'm not going to second guess vet via twitter! #
  • Finally reached cocktail hour. #
  • I guess I must have put a little too much gin in that dirty martini. #
  • @helenduffett I wouldn't know #
  • Amazing the garbage that comes out when your eyes are not on the screen and your fingers are not on the home keys. #
  • 20 mins preparing @PodDelusion spiel, 5 mins recording. It's a cheeky plug for @librivox, hope they have time for it this week! #

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Tweets on 2011-01-26

  • @jamesgraham I'm a big fan of Opera Mini on my phone, but it's still chrome for me on the desktop. #
  • Making a quick decision (@ Caralot) #
  • I'm at IKEA #
  • I'm gonna be on Come Dine With Me next week – I cook Tuesday. #cdwm #
  • @Psythor scary contract! #
  • I'm at Top Secret Lib Dem Print Cave (Burton Avenue, Nottingham) #
  • @sarabedford how do you serve gherkins? #
  • My oven stopped cooking my lamb shank at 7.30pm and I've only just got to eat it. Still yummy! #
  • @dr_nick OK ta. Googled. Doesn't look nice! #
  • @tom_geraghty seemed to be slightly sticky but it's up. #
  • One Stop Promotions has emailed to say they now have ISO 9001. How do you respond? "Congrats" ? "Will deff buy more stuff now!" #
  • @dr_nick now corrected, ta #
  • Small children and digital cameras (my nephew takes a mean photo already) @dr_nick #

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Come Dine With Me: how do they find these people?!

Certainly watching the first episodes in the New Year, set in Margate, you have to ask the question where do they find these nutters? The Italian guy with the amazing hair and the awful attitude; the camp gay guy who can’t keep his hands to himself; the pregnant woman happy to lick spilled dessert off the floor; the builder who knows everything there is to know about food and the woman on the verge of emigrating.

Even I wondered how they find such crazy people, and I am a Come Dine With Me contestant!

Yes, I can reveal, now that the TV listings have been published with my name in, that I will be appearing on the show for its next outing in Nottingham, and it will be broadcast in the week starting with Valentine’s Day 31st January ((eek, they brought forward the date by three weeks!)). My cooking night is Tuesday.

And how did I get selected? Well, as I blogged here it all started in December 2009. I emailed the show saying I’d like to be on it. Digging back in the gmail folder, it turns out all I did was send them my name, address and contact details. No bio, no talking about myself, just contact details and links to twitter and my blog.

After that, radio silence for nearly a year, until October 2010.

Then a phone call from a producer, which I missed the first time around, and left to my voicemail. They’d like to talk to me about the show. Can I have a think about the sorts of things I’d like to talk about and phone them back.

I had a think and a very few sets of text messages sent to nearest and dearest, most of which were replied to with versions of enthusiastic “Wahey, go for it!” So I phoned back and left messages, and then they phoned back and we spoke. I outlined two menus as requested, a French inspired one and a hyper-local one, they took copious notes, and then right at the end of quite a long conversation, we talked about availability. I was available in the week they wanted to film, but it was pretty dodgy in the weeks leading up to it, and in particular in the weeks they were doing home visits, I was actually on honeymoon.

The phoned back a few days later and made an appointment that just fit around the dates I was away – having, I think, made some changes so that they could come to Nottingham before I left.

Two lovely ladies, a location director and an assistant producer, dressed in leggings and knitware, came around one Sunday afternoon, and I showed them round my house, answered questions about cooking and my personality and preferences. They got me to tell them jokes, show them the rooms I’d tidied specially and the rooms that got neglected, asked the odd difficult question (“What does this room say about you?” / “Erm, well, it says I should have tried to remake my airing cupboard four years ago when they finished putting the solar panel in, but never got around to it”).

They were equipped with a video camera and taped me as we went around, filmed all the interviews, and took digital pictures of everything hanging on my walls. And we did a bit of something I’d get awfully familiar with: they stood side by side, one with the camera, one with a list of notes and questions to ask. The one with the notes would ask the questions and I’d have to reply, making sure I totally ignored the camera, and looked at and replied to the one asking the questions. It is pretty tricky to ignore a camera pointed right at you.

At the end of the visit, which lasted less than an hour, they said thank you very much, they’d be in touch, and left. At one point they even said that if I wasn’t successful at this round I should definitely re-apply.

I subsequently learned that in the course of those visits, they were seeing about 50 people over a number of days. They didn’t mention that at the time, and to me, it felt like a fairly seemless progression phone-call, visit, another phonecall to say yes, you’ll be on the show. Presumably dozens of people were actually screened out at each stage for any number of reasons.

I got the phonecall to say I’d definitely be on shortly before going on honeymoon – I received the call on my mobile while I was in Nottingham Council’s new HQ, and given I was surrounded by Council staff, I had to be extremely restrained in my reaction. It was basically “Oh. My. God.”

The enormity dawned.

Tweets on 2011-01-25

  • Ctte-tastic (@ Loxley House) [pic]: #
  • @turtlestack nooo, I like it! #
  • The Constitutional Support Officer (formerly known as a committee clerk) has snubbed me by forgetting only my name plate. #
  • Raising the issue of very low numbers of women – just one – on the board of our local LEP. #
  • Phoned garage back. The phrase "catastrophic fatal engine failure" featured. #
  • Apparently the water pump fell off, slack in the cam belt got caught up around the rest of the engine, and it pulled itself apart. #
  • RT @MadameNottm: @alexfoster Gosh! Alex, when you f*** something, it really *is* f***ed…. #
  • Putting some money on my bus pass, just in case. #

  • Old Market Square At Dusk. #
  • @kayray eek! #
  • Unfortunate accidental innuendo with live web chat. "My website is down. Can you help me get it up?" #
  • Not reassured by tech support's vague response: "Keanu: soon the server will be up
    Keanu: we have partially fixed the issue" #
  • Thank you, Keanu, that's great. I'll be partially paying the bills this month. #
  • Which website do you think I'm trying to fix, @10anta ? #
  • @10anta LiveChatting with tech support to try and ascertain problem. #
  • RT @libdemvoice: We are aware of the outage and are having a Chat with support with a view to returning normal service as soon as possible. #
  • @doctorvee just hoover the spider already #
  • @rfenwick hmm, @technicalfault looks like a keeper. #
  • RT @libdemvoice: We're back. Thanks for bearing with us. Our host suffered an outage this evening. #
  • @rfenwick on a par with the evil laugh I got #
  • @rfenwick I'm judging on just @technicalfault's mugshot, but seems fine to me. #
  • @moviemistakes "harder to come by" ? Oh dear. #
  • @JChris_J phone tax office, talk to them, make provisional payment, and they might let you off hook for £100 fine. #
  • RT @stephenbarker: So you want to be happy?: #
  • Registering to use National Savings & Investments website appears to need me to print a PDF and post it to them. Oh, dear. #

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Women in Nottingham

Two bits of good news and one bit of bad news about women in the upper echelons of influence in Nottingham. ((NB this blog post is not about the supposedly high ratio of women to men in Nottingham. My guess that this rumour came from over 100 years ago, when many young women moved to the city to work in the lace trade, giving the city the reputation of a good place to go if you were looking for a wife. Sex ratios kinda sort themselves out through the generations, however, and I don’t think it’s true any longer))

Firstly, as Alistair Campbell wrote when he visited here a few weeks ago, there are a large amount of women in positions of influence in the city and county:

Nottinghamshire’s great and good were out in force, including the chief constable, the city council’s chief executive, the head of the probation service, the governor of a sex offenders’ prison, the sheriff (yes the sheriff of Nottingham, surely the most famous sheriff title in the world), the high sheriff, the university’s pro-vice chancellor, a former chief nursing officer, the head of children’s services … and every single one of them was a woman. Also there was the country’s first female black High Court judge.

In addition the whole evening was put together by a woman, aforementioned High Sheriff Amanda Farr, and Mental Health Research UK founded by a woman, Clair Chilvers. The only exception to this phenomenal female domination was the Lord Lieutenant … and I warned him that on current trends he would end up being replaced by the first Lady Lieutenant.

Hooray! In my work as a councillor, I’ve met only a few of them, but it’s great to hear the rest are there. I hope it’s a sustainable cohort of women of influence.

Secondly the Council, local women and women’s groups, are launching a campaign to find 100 Women of Influence in time for International Women’s Day in March.

The details of that are here.

But the bad news is the composure of the board of the Local Enterprise Partnership for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, as listed in the papers of a council select committee meeting yesterday.

The Shadow Board consists of:

  • Colin Walton, Chairman UK and Ireland, Bombardier (Chair)
  • Peter Varnsverry, Head of Manufacturing, Laing O’Rourke
  • Peregrine Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire
  • David Robinson, President, Speedo
  • Richard Horsley, Board Member, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce
  • Prof. John Coyne, Vice Chancellor, University of Derby (on behalf of the University of Derby, University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University)
  • Cllr Jon Collins, Leader, Nottingham City Council
  • Cllr Kay Cutts, Leader, Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Cllr Harvey Jennings, Leader, Derby City Council
  • Cllr Andrew Lewer, Leader, Derbyshire County Council

Presumably they’re all qualified to be there and they are there as a result of the other work they do. But a quick cast down the list of names shows that only Kay Cutts from Notts County Council is female.

Given that we have just established that are a large number of women already successfully occupying senior roles in civic society in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire at least, it’s a shame that so few of them were translated into representation on the LEP.

Tweets on 2011-01-24

  • Just re-reading something I wrote about the Daily Mail last year. #
  • @Meryl_F it'll prob come back with your appetite 😦 #
  • @jamesmcgraw it's gotta be more than 14 by now, surely? #
  • I'm at Maplin – castle court (Castle Retail Park, Nottingham) #
  • I'm at Aldi (Castle Retail Park, Radford Boulevard, Nottingham) #
  • Sat nav wipes? You are taking the mickey! (@ Halfords) #
  • Gah, I knew car was in trouble but was hoping to eke it through to Monday when I could get it to garage. #
  • But car conked out and made serious horrid noises. Yet again it conked when I was facing uphill at traffic lights! Yay! #
  • We didn't really make a very nice noise today, attempting a quarter for patronal festival (@ Daybrook St Pauls) [pic]: #
  • Have borrowed P's car. After struggling to find the ignition, the lights and reverse, I'm now massively over revving at every junction. #
  • @tonytheaker Gah, I have no pros with hill starts normally – loads of practice where I live! #
  • Home from home. (@ Top Secret Lib Dem Print Cave) [pic]: #
  • @po8crg seen debate on pd blog on same subject? #
  • Going to a cat rodeo in a gay guy's apartment. #
  • @sueperkins 30 Rock, West Wing, etc? #
  • There's no reason for me to be this tired after the day I've had. And yet. And yet. #
  • Last night on the train home from London, I clocked at least five other people reading on Kindles. #kindle #
  • @kayray BBCR4's Americana had snip of Alec Baldwin NPR ad – "don't pledge, radio should die". #
  • @vickya63 one for Questions, Questions. #
  • Have been towed to garage. Not one of the 90% the AA can fix at roadside. #

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