Tuesday, 28 May 2013

When Hurling's Healthy...

Ever since we discovered the Major is prone to bladder infections, my mum has been insistent, that as an indoor cat, he needs grass to chew on. The vet seemed convinced grass would be of no help and so for some time now, he has instead been on an expensive diet of special food that encourages him to drink more water.

Naturally, in the meantime, my ever persistent and sceptical mum has purchased some cat grass seeds, hoping to aid the health of her furry grandson. We finally got around to planting it some weeks back and were amazed by its speedy growth but less impressed with the results. The Maj has always been a pretty low maintenance cat, provided you're OK with the ginger sheen he covers everything with.

Since the cat grass has been readily available, we've been woken repeatedly in the middle of the night by strange wailing sounds followed by the Maj vomming turd-like hairballs all over the cream bedroom carpet, rather than making it to the wipeable laminate floor that covers the majority of our flat.

We're now in two minds about the Maj's two grass pots, aware grass is supposedly good for a cat's digestive system but wary of yet more nocturnal hairball barf-ups. Having seen an article in this week's Metro, I'm just grateful he's not a tiger!  

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Massage Rocks

We've all undoubtedly contemplated what we'd do if we won the lottery. It's easy to reel off a series of inconsequential material possessions you've always fancied or hypothetically divvy out your winnings to family and friends but how would life actually change for better or worse?
Having once again enjoyed the benefits of Groupon's deals, I'm now certain nightly massages with a trained masseuse are part of my lottery wish list. As someone who has suffered bouts of insomnia on and off throughout the years, the guarantee of regular nightly sleep would have an enormous impact on my quality of life.
After sampling my first hot stone massage this weekend, I was instructed to take my time redressing before returning to the bustle of Otley's market square. Suitably relaxed, I contemplated having the nap I so desperately craved after a busy week functioning on minimal sleep.
Research suggests massage helps to regulate sleep in babies so why not in adults too? There's very little hard evidence, merely advice, but reflecting on how contentedly drowsy Saturday's session made me feel, massage aiding sleep seems like a no-brainer.
The consistently cheap price of massages around South-East Asia is something I sorely miss about being on the road. If massages were cheaper in the UK, I'd undoubtedly treat myself more often – sports, therapeutic, essential oils, Native American style hot stones warming up those knotted muscles... All types of massage rock.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

To Talk or Not To Talk: That Is The Question

I'm the last to walk into a meeting room and join five others, expectantly awaiting interview. Barely surrounding even a quarter of the perimeter of the huge table, we nervously eyeball each other, weighing up how much of a threat each one poses. I've purposefully arrived a few minutes before our start time in an attempt to avoid prolonged awkward silences or conversation that may reveal potentially intimidating information about the competition.

After the welcome distraction of my arrival, an uncomfortable silence prevails but as the minutes pass, the small talk resumes. I've packed a bag of work, instructing myself to try to consciously avoid talking to the other candidates - I'm attempting to refrain from making those morale destroying mental comparisons.

Showtime is mercilessly soon and relieved to have survived part one, I return to the meeting room of before to be taken on a much less intimidating tour of the buildings. Relaxed by the informal tour, I'm back in “my” seat at one end of the enormous table, watching with amusement as we all eye-up a plate of chocolate biscuits that have arrived in our absence – nobody wants to help themselves unasked and give the impression they're taking liberties, are chocoholics or particularly greedy.

The plate remains untouched until the “meet and greet” begins when already established staff filter into the room. Unwrapping a Kit Kat, I wonder if the tempting treat plate was a clever initiative test or psychological experiment. I have little time to seriously contemplate the matter, before being shown to the “holding pen” where I must wait until my designated interview slot.

Here, I'm grateful for my foresight in bringing work along and relieved I'm not the only one to have done so. Trying not to get too caught up in interview anecdotes, while there's still time I question the internal candidate, attempting to get any inside information I can.

Back at home, I reflect on the experience, wondering what the experts say about interacting with other candidates during a recruitment day. It seems they say very little. A lot is written about the importance of communication during group interviews but almost nothing about pre-, mid- and post-interview small talk. The only advice I find seems to suggest I've taken the right approach, leaving me hopeful that perhaps other decisions I made throughout the day were equally well-judged...

Monday, 6 May 2013

Quality Georgie

Like me, my mum is not a naturally funny person and much of her humour unintentionally arises from her own very individual eccentricities. When I told her I was finally engaged after being in a relationship for eleven years, her reaction was characteristically unexpected: “Are you going to be engaged for another eleven years?”

Knowing full well she can expect the very opposite of a traditional white wedding, instead of congratulating me (as is, of course, normal and customary) she offered to pay us off to marry abroad. The months have passed and she's now accepted the news and resigned herself to the planning of a wedding, offering some useful suggestions. 

As I've decided to share my glad tidings in person and friends have respected my feelings about privacy on social networking sites, many are still to hear our news but needs must so planning has commenced. This bank holiday, we took a trip to the “Garden of England” in an attempt to agree on the basics. Dreading the unavoidable argument that was predictably about to ensue, we pawed over the hypothetical guest list and I found myself arguing my corner by having to justify friendships.

Several hours on and we're closer to a venue and date but many of our initial ideas have been brushed aside or considerably altered. We trundle to bed, weary and slightly irritable but I can't help smiling – inside my head some of my mum's finest moments are on repeated playback:

“Can't we hire some gigolos?” she matter-of-factly asks, surveying our facial expressions as she innocently gauges our reactions. We look at each other in disbelief before laughing aloud and clarifying she does indeed mean a male gigolo. “I get so bored at these things sitting around. We could get a few gigolos to walk around the room and offer to dance with the ladies.” 

I'm grateful for these classic Big G moments that infallibly lighten the mood; however tense future wedding planning sessions may get, I'm confident there will be plenty more quality Georgie moments.