Monthly Archives: February, 2017

Equality for all?

As I said on Tuesday’s blog, I heard something I knew I wanted to comment about, and this is it. Back in 2004, the government of the time, in their ‘wisdom’ decided to allow people of the same sex to be joined together in Civil Union, rather than taking the braver step of permitting single sex marriages. Lo and behold, 10 years later, single sex marriage comes along in the UK, but the Civil Union step isnt stopped, even if it was pretty much designed to allow single sex marriage, without shouting it too loudly, as the churches were up in arms about the whole thing.

Oh, what amused me this week? Well, seemingly a straight couple (for want of a better term, I personally hate using it) wanted to have a Civil Union agreement, rather than a formal wedding, and the courts said no! To me, nowadays, especially with single sex marriages being legal, I cant see why they cant do it! Why? Because of course no one ever considered changing the rules after 2014! Oops!

Me, I have no idea what their reasoning is, or anything else relating to it, but hey, it should be equality for all, and if a hetro couple want a civil union service, they should be allowed to do it!

Right, a word of warning for all those who think they know my blogging timetable, I’m going to mess you up for the next couple of weeks. Yes, next 2 weeks, blogs will both be at the weekends, due to happenings at work, I’m working both Tuesday’s. Next week is a day and a half course about dealing with challenging calls, which should be interesting, though I think after all these years (and the last couple of days), I can cope with most things, but anyway… This Tuesday, I will be at work, and during the day, taking part in a Diversity teleconference at work, about yes, transgender issues! I can currently only speak for the office I work in, but I see no issues! But yes, if I can help somebody, as I pass along, then great!

Fine, video time. Given I’ve done most of the good wedding songs, I was looking for something else, and thought of this. Frightening thought for me, this song is nearly 40 years old!

I win again?

OK, fine, under normal circumstances I’d probably have spread this out over a couple of blogs, and saved me thinking up subject material, but then I heard something tonight that I will need to comment on, which will have to wait until the weekend, but…

Well, as amazing as it sounds, 6 months ago tomorrow, I started a job, my first with all female paperwork. Fine, it was only the passport before, at the end for Hills, but it was still a landmark. Well, people already know how its going, so I wont mention too much on that here, you already know how much I’m loving it. So, whats the landmark, you ask? Simple, something called the probation period. Yes, strictly it ended today, but given today was my day off for the week, I got my confirmation paperwork last night to confirm I’d passed. Fine, I’d been told before then it was going to be the case, but even so, actually having it down on paper, is a lovely thing.

So, as I joked last night, short of a good acting offer, or a Californian millionaire of either gender whisking me off my feet, and marrying me, thats my job plans settled for a while, hopefully until retirement. Doing the same role? I would say probably, but you can never tell with these matters, though I’ve certainly no great management plans at this point in my life, but who knows? Not to say I wont be putting myself forward for challenges, as the DWP are looking for people to serve on the Diversity committee, and given I qualify on age, transgender, and sexuality (I’m claiming bi, if ever interested), hopefully they will see me as perfect material! It would be a fascinating thing to do, good for my CV (though hopefully I wont need that again), and something different in life, all of which will be good for me. Fine, I may get beat for the role, but I’m up to challenge for these sort of things, and not so long ago, I’m sure I wouldnt have been.

Thanks, DWP for everything, this lady is proud of you for everything. Especially as it was one their ladies, in the Huddersfield Job Center, who directed me to Civil Service Job pages in the first place!

The other big news, I’m probably going to a wedding later this year. No, not mine…yet! A wonderful friend in the US, who I’ve known online for ages, but so far, yet to meet, named Stacie, got proposed to at the weekend, and said yes. Yes, she wants me at the wedding, though I trust not as a bridesmaid! No, Stacie, dont! Which means that she is currently trying to plan events around my holiday in her area of the US (well, close enough) in September, which seems a bit of a short period in time to me. If it doesnt happen then, put it this way, I’ll be doing everything in my power to get there when it does. But yes, I wish her, and Eric all the best, whenever it happens!

Oh, and lastly, I’m a natural blonde again. Oh, I wish! No, I just look like one for a while, having got my hair colored, and cut today. Sadly, it wont last forever, but for a few glorious weeks at least, I’ll look the part! Then I’ll be an ‘assisted’ blonde again lol!

OK, the video. A Bee Gees song, but not them singing it! You might have heard of Gary Simmons in my postings before, and this is one of his, with his regular job, the tribute band, Jive Talking. Song, I think you might have worked it out!

You’ve got to beat the crowds

The only problem I have with working Saturday’s in Bradford, during the football season, is getting out of town before the football (soccer, for US readers) crowds pile out of the stadium in Huddersfield. As in, if I make it, the bus from town takes 10-15 minutes to get up here from town. If I got caught up in the crowds, it would be more like 40-45 minutes! Yes, that bad, especially with road works between here, and town at present. And thats on a normal week, with a league game going on, which is once a fortnight, or so. Bad enough if you like football, but if like me, you cant stand the sport, even more annoying.

Oh, and yesterday wasnt a normal week, it was an FA Cup match crowd, playing against one of the top premier league teams, so the crowd would be huge, and if I got caught up in that, an hour to get home from town might be good! Now normally, the 4.10 bus is fine, gets me into town for 4.50, so I can get the bus up before they come out in too large a number. We sometimes meet a few sneaking out over the hill (back route) when almost home, but thats it.

So of course, yesterday, things didnt go to plan. It was time for the bus to leave, and he starts reversing out of the bay, fine. Until someone rushes through the door, he drives back into the bay to pick them up, and they take 5 minutes deciding where they want to go, and where the money for their fare is! Anyway, in theory I should have about 4 minutes (to allow for time to get to other bus stop) between buses, so all should be OK. Well, it was until someone in a wheelchair got off the bus in Brighouse, and couldnt direct his motorised chariot off the bus. In the end the bus driver assisted him, and we got back under way, but by now, it was cutting it close! Good news, got there, just in time, got the bus, and nearly got home fine. Yes, nearly, I ended up getting off one stop earlier than planned, as the queue down the road was so bad, it would have taken forever to cover the next 100 yards or so.

Oh, the result, Huddersfield got a draw, but thankfully the replay will be in Manchester sometime (I really dont care!), so the crowds wont be a challenge for me. But yes, roll on the end of the football season, please. Or move the football ground, or…anything?

The video, some vintage Sparks. They’re doing a world tour later this year. Oh they play LA in May when I’m there! That would be one crowd I’d happily get caught up in!

A new addition to the timetable

The last regular timetable steam train in the UK was actually in 1968, so in theory, I should remember them. In truth though, I dont, as I dont really remember doing much in the way of train journeys when I was young, but I guess I must have? And all the earliest memories I have of train journeys (other than restored lines) are all either electric, or diesel trains. However, the last steam train on a railway timetable, today! Yes, be grateful, it means I can avoid another typical Valentines Day blog at least!

Currently, its not possible to travel the full length of the Settle and Carlisle railway, as just under a year ago, there was a landslip at the very northern end of the line, so currently Armathwaite is as far north as they go. Most people actually change to coach at Appleby, slightly further south, because the road connection to Carlisle is better, but hopefully at some point the full length of the line will be restored.

Normally these trains are run by diesel units from Leeds, but today Northern Rail decided to do something different, and two return journeys from Skipton to Appleby were run by steam trains today. Dont get me wrong, a number of steam trains run over that line, but only as special tours, at inflated prices. Today, these were at the standard rail fare! Yes, I saw them on TV, the trains looked a little busy lol! Not surprising, I guess?

Will it happen again, who knows? I know Northern Rail were saying how well it went, so maybe one day, the regular train from Leeds to Carlisle will run a full route, behind a steam engine, who knows? But yes, that would have made a lovely Valentines day present, if I’d known about it, and had anyone to take me!

But yes, kudos to a train company for doing something a little different like that.

So fine, we need a train song, right? Snag is, I’ve used most of them in the past. And then I found this…oops… at least its brief!

Truly Jean Harlow? Only in the land of make believe!

Oh fine, if that title doesnt give away what the video is, I give up!

Its fair to say that in the last 18 months or so, I havent taken as much care physically of myself as maybe I should have done, but the irony is, since I’ve had the money again to do so, I havent really done a lot of that. Maybe because I now have the challenge of finding the time for everything? And ironically, just as I need to do it, I hit another bottleneck in getting things done. Yes, its called needing to work on Tuesday’s! I know, it means having Saturday’s off, but getting bookings at beauty places on a Saturday, not so easy.

My hair has at least been colored in November, but is now a bit overdue, to put it mildly, but now I’m trying to be tactical. Practically, I want to go to LA in May, freshly blonde. I know, still wont be natural, but…thing is, if I get it done now, its going to (realistically) needed about a month before then. I know, modern stuff, would probably be fine done professionally, but alright, I’m a Yorkshire lass, so spending more money than I have to…snag is it will either have to be this week, or next week, if I want it done before I head South (more on that shortly), as the following 2 Tuesday’s, I’ll be working! Hmm? In truth, I’ll probably end up doing it this week, if I can get an appointment at late notice.

Oh, and my feet are long overdue some TLC, which is my own fault entirely. I used to make my next podiatrist appointment at the previous one, so I had to go, but when I started work, I didnt know how my hours were going to go, and fine, it hasnt happened. Again, I must try and make that appointment on Tuesday at least, though practically, its going to be my holiday week in March before I get chance to get them done, I suspect.

The other thing I do need to get done, even if remarkably I’m not that hairy, is to be fully waxed. Most of which is just to get it done, but the eyebrows need doing for a special reason. But fine, I might as well get everything done in 1 go, so…

Why, you ask? Because next month, at the beginning of my week off in mid March, I’m going down South for what I jokingly call my Jean Harlow makeover. No, sadly not true, though how I’d feel being 25 again, and only 5 foot 2 inches tall, I have no idea. Mind, if anyone should know how to do it, count me in! Just over 2 years ago, as the longer term readers will know, I had some semi permanent make up done by a wonderful lady, and friend, in Newbury. Me, I have a very slight hand tremor, but doing my own make up, no chance. Now I’m due for the top up session! But yes, one of the things to get done, is my eyebrows (not true Harlow, I’m not a fan of that 30’s look), and they need to be hairless!

Yes, I suspect it will hurt after this amount of time, and I know my underarm hair will, but the rest should be fine, I hope? So yes, yet another appointment I’ve got to make!

In theory thats all the ‘treatments’ I need to get sorted, and then continue until the end of the year, when I suspect more serious surgery might be needed with the right knee. No, that I definitely am not looking forward to, but after that tumble, what looked probable, has become almost definite, sadly.

But yes, if any ‘mad scientist’ has a chamber they want to try out, that will literally turn me into Jean Harlow, then fine, call me quick! 😉

The video, as I say, given away in the title, enjoy…

All around the office?

Yes, I know, we’ve all heard these stories of working in offices where the bosses are horrid, and the conditions are awful? Thats right, I definitely dont work in one of those! So, as promised to a couple of people who will surely read this, lets tell you a tale of a very non average office.

But to ruin her glory, I’m not going to start with the actual star of this piece. Yesterday evening, I was working hard as usual, and had just finished a call, hopefully dealing with a client in a way that made her fell better about matters than when I started the call. I looked up, and there stood beside my desk, looking at me, was the big boss, the operations manager, and I wondered what I’d done. Nothing was the answer, as I quickly found out. He came over to see how my knee was recovering, as he had heard the news about the incident, and say that like many others, if he’d been there at the time, the idiots who tripped me over wouldnt have got off so lightly. A delightful chat then followed, waiting for my next call to come through, and if I needed to feel good about working there, this would have helped. In truth, I dont need it, I fell in a bed of roses when I started at this place, honest I did.

But no, he’s not the star of this blog, one of the team leaders is. No, not my team leader, but she actually sits closer to me, is an absolute delight to work with, and oh, she’s entertaining too! There may be 2 people of acting persuasion in the office, but as far as I know, Madi isnt one of them. She should be! Sometimes, towards the end of the working day, when the offices have closed, and the general public calls are fewer, we are treated to something known as ‘story time’. This relates to Madi reading articles, or reading the side of boxes in such a way that we tend to burst into laughter.

Besides all this, being a team leader, she has to check the quality of the calls from her team, and when something goes slightly wrong, and you’re sat behind her, lets just say you tend to know about it, and leave it at that. Saturday, Madi was battling a spreadsheet, and judging by the comments from behind me, the spreadsheet won the battle!

Oh, and in case she reads this at some point, my team leader is wonderful too. I think her only disappointment over me, is that everybody has been so wonderful about the new ‘girl’ in the office, that she didnt get chance to stick up for me! I love it the way it is, but I know that if the matter ever should arise, it should be fun!

As I have said before, it might have taken me a while to get a job, but in the end, I couldnt have found a better place to work, in so many ways.

So fine, for the video, I need an entertaining Madi, right? In truth, I could only think of one, but she is brilliant. Hard to believe this song is now 42 years old, mind. So…All around the office, I will wear…

I forgot my name?

The irony is, the main people I would like to see this, cant! In truth, Facebook might have done me a favor with their dastardly deed, though dont quote me on that. Well, I’d been thinking of separating from it, but instead, they walked out on me. Well, on one of my accounts at least.

I have, for sometime, had 2 accounts on Facebook, one for friends, and work contacts and the like, and another for the publishing side of things, the dormant acting stuff, and generally anything LA, or movie related. Yes, there is stuff on the latter that its probably better some friends didnt know, but anyway, no more!

Sometime last year, someone objected to the latter account, because of my name, and because I used a picture of the original Harlean Carpenter, instead of me, as the profile pic. Fine, the cover pictures were me, but anyway… At the time, I sent Passport evidence to Facebook to prove it was my name, and that was it, account reinstated, and a promise that the issue wouldnt arise again.

So yes, when I arrived home Wednesday night, to find out the account had been disabled again, despite all this, I was not amused. So fine, I went through the same ID protocol as before, only this time I’ve come across a ‘Mr Jobsworth’ who because my passport picture doesnt match the avatar one, he wont reinstate the account. So thats it, short of major cosmetic surgery, what can I do? The fact that I used Jean’s birth date as well might play a part, which is 13 days different to mine (Yes, I used the correct year), but in all truth, my name really is Harlean Carpenter, as proved by ID, but they wont let me in. The irony, as a friend from there pointed out, is that there are about 20 other Harlean Carpenter profiles over there, and numerous Jean Harlow ones too, and they arent even using their legal name!

Fine, I will admit it, I was getting tired of Facebook, and therefore cutting it right back, or totally over isnt going to be that hard. I was tempted at one point to shut the other account completely, but now I’ve toned that down to leaving it open for contact purposes, via their message system, and to publicize my blogs.

I know, its not Facebook as such, they are just acting on the whims of some pedantic vintage movie folk, who dont like someone posting under the name, even if its my real one. Lets face it, there is no chance its the real Jean Harlow posting, lets face it! Oh, agreed, if I ever find out who did it, I’d look for my chance of vengeance, but for now, I’ll settle for not wasting too much time on Facebook any more. So if anyone wants me, on my Facebook account, message me. If anyone wants me to see something specific there, message, or tag me! Because otherwise, I probably wont see it!

OK, video time. A song for whoever, because seemingly now, Facebook wont let you have an account in your own name. I only hope ‘Mr Jobsworth’ is happy in his life!…rolls eyes…

In A Bog Country Dream

In these days when you can book everything you want online, even simply using a mobile phone, it might be hard for some of my readers to believe that when we had to do these things back in the 70’s, soon after I started work, things were a lot more complex.

One thing I enjoyed, before commuting became a serious part of my life, was travelling by trains. I know, but it was a lot easier back then, when there was just one company running everything, but fine, those days are gone, and I dont want to get political again! The beauty of one company running all the railways in the country, was that British Rail (as it was then) created something called a Rail Rover. Basically there was one for each region, and I had experienced it, as my mother had taken me travelling on the Southern Rail version, during School Holidays, but there was something that interested me far more, when I started work. Yes, the all line version! Basically it gave me the chance, with a lot of planning, to travel some of the more rural lines I would never get to travel otherwise, which was fun. The snag with those lines then, and indeed still now, is that there werent many trains a day on those routes to choose from.

The advantage now, is that if you want to plot those journeys nowadays, you just type in a few details on the National Rail website journey planner, and you plan accordingly. Back then, I had a very large (and I do mean large) paper version of the national timetable to work things out from, and that was it. Oh, and none of those hotel booking websites we have now, either! Me, I used an AA handbook, as my hotel guide. So putting together train routes, tying that into my overnight hotel, and…it was interesting! Oh, and in theory, I could have picked up the phone at home, and rang the hotels and booked, but it was the family phone, so I wrote, and sent letters instead! Now, you just go on a website, make a booking, and thats it, but back then, you’d send off the letters, hope you got a positive reply, and move on from there. In truth, probably because I was never looking for hotels in big towns, I tended to get in fine, but yes, doing workarounds, if you did get a rejection, and have to start again, ouch!

One of those lines I wanted to travel dearly, was just about as far from home as I could get, and stay on the mainland. Back then, it was just the line from Inverness to Thurso, and Wick, nowadays called the Far North line, which is a pretty fair description. As you can guess, both then, and now, not many trains to choose from, per day! One of my problems was, that if I travelled to either of the termini (back then, the train split at Georgemas Junction, in the middle of nowhere, now one train serves both) it would be very late at night before I got there. And fine, I was about 18, and that didnt appeal. So I looked for somewhere I could split the journey, and I found somewhere interesting.

Middle of nowhere, pretty much just the station, a hotel, and a couple of houses, and that was it. A tiny place called Forsinard. So yes, it appealed, and at least I didnt have far to go between train, and hotel. Yes, I stayed there. Yes, its about as remote a place as I’ve ever stayed in my life! After 40 years, I have no idea how busy the hotel was that night, all I remember is arriving mid evening, and leaving again the next morning, and that was it. An evening meal, a bed, and breakfast, and that was about the total of my stay!

Anyway, last week, out of curiosity, I thought I’d take a look and see what the current prices were to stay there, to find that it closed about 4 years ago, presumably lack of business? No, in truth, not totally surprised. There were no Premier Inns, Travelodges and the like back then, even not allowing for the limited market for somewhere like there in the first place!

Thing is, nowadays, I tend to stay in chain hotels, but yes, I guess I will always have a soft spot for those quirky little hotels, all the same.

OK, video time. The reason for the blog title is that Forsinard lays in what is now called Flow Country, a large area of peat bog. So, yes, I couldnt resist the pun!