Tuesday, 30 December 2014


Today is the 2nd anniversary of my marriage to Mrs A.

To say that I love her more than ever would be a bit obvious, a bit twee and frankly a bit mushy.

But I do.

Thank you Mrs A for the two years so far, you've made me happy beyond words and everything is better with you next to me. Even the cloudy days.

Not a long post I'll grant you, but from the heart nonetheless.


Monday, 22 December 2014

The Black Space Behind the Eyes

There's a passage in a book by one of my favourite authors that deals with the human condition as it relates to interacting with others. The book itself isn't very highbrow at all but it had a beautiful phrase in it that really resonated with me - "the only place that anyone is ever truly alone, ever has true privacy, is in the black space behind the eyes".

But I think that concept has had its day. Sure, up until fairly recently we were exposed to a thousand social transactions a day, but these were by and large with other human beings who were in the main barely interested in the stuff coming out of your mouth, let alone the thoughts behind it.

Save for a few loved ones and the occasional skilled negotiator no-one would give two hoots what was going on in my head. But then came big data and now every time I pick up my phone I leave a digital trail that Google and their ilk use to understand not what I might say, but what I'm truly interested in.

My phone knows what I'm doing and where I'm going and makes helpful suggestions. It knows when I'm likely to be leaving the office, what the traffic is like and will suggest the best route home. It knows what music I'm likely to want to listen to at a particular time of day and will magically generate playlists to suit.

Of course I know that the reason that big companies pour so much resource into this is so that they can sell me more crap that I don't need more effectively and up until a few years ago the AI was so poor, the suggestions so inaccurate, that I was quite happy to just turn it all off and keep my thoughts to myself.

The problem is now that it's so damn good its actually become useful.

It's probably even written my next post for me already.


Friday, 19 December 2014


Tonight I was trying to explain the difference between conscious and subconscious actions. It's surprisingly difficult to articulate whilst also driving along country roads in the dark.

After a couple of stabs at examples I came to rest on the act of driving being part conscious, part subconscious.

The Boy Wonder is now under the impression that automatic gearboxes employ some kind of subconscious technology. I think I'll leave that with him for a while.


Sunday, 7 December 2014

Merry Go Round

This is Liuetenant Murtagh. He appears in the Lethal Weapon series of films with Riggs (AKA Mel Gibson) which was current when I was susceptible to such tosh in the late eighties..

Murtagh was the old-school cop who had done his time with the LAPD at the sharp end and was hoping for a nice steady run up to retirement.

Anyway, I am relating more and more to Murtagh as time goes on. On a regular basis whilst leaping around from one panic to the next at work like a flea on a hotplate I think those very words. Quite often with vim and vigour.

Although the place I earn a crust at the moment is truly fascinating from an engineering point of view, it is unfortunately equally fascinating for its entropic approach to management. It often feels that the decision making process may well be based to some degree on dice or possibly chicken bones and some low quality hoodoo. We have recently had an unannounced rejig in structure that eventually filtered out to those involved, resulting in a new official boss based in Singapore for me and 5 unofficial ones in the UK that turn up at my desk one after another with their own particular bucketful of mayhem.

The delightful Mrs A is getting bored senseless by the ongoing tales of lunacy and is telling me to chuck it in. It's a tempting thought for sure but I'm currently determined to stick it out to the bitter end in March. This point of view is subject to change on almost a daily basis.

So for the next few months I will try to keep my eye on the finish line and do my absolute very best to keep the voices in my head inside my head. After all, it all worked out OK for Murtagh in the end.


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Scores On The Doors Please Anthea

Today at lunchtime I was considering my morning. To say that it'd been a whirlwind of chaos, mayhem and visits from two of my favourite military personnel (General Problems and Major Fuckup) would be fairly accurate. Too many people telling me that their problems were now my problems and being completely unconcerned about whatever anyone else might be needing me to do was driving me to distraction. There were so many to deal with I couldn't get everything for everyone.

So whilst eating my cheese sandwich and considering my position I came up with a cunning plan.

As long as the number of people who's day I improve outnumber the ones I piss off I'll count that day as a win.

And today I won. If I count myself in the numbers.


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Adventure's Adventures.

Well, here we go again.

The last few months have been a torrid time, Circumstances have conspired to lead to me being in a rather interesting position.

I am the master of my own ship again.

Working for The Man has run its course and I am now sticking it to The Man by working for The Man (albeit a different Man to The Man I was dealing with earlier in the year). Following this so far?

No? Here's the simplified version.

I was employed by a company directly up until a couple of weeks ago, but now I am employed by my own company again (although a different company to the one I previously owned after having sold my stake in it) and am working as a consultant at someone else's (entirely unrelated and considerably larger) company.

OK, that's not much simpler, is it?

However, the stuff I'm doing now exposes me to engineering that blows my mind. I deal day in day out with engineers that have brains the size of planets* and commercial nous the size of quarks. It's frustrating and inspiring in equal measure. I suspect I'll be a basket case by the time I'm done.

So I am doing my thing for them for the next few months and then I am onto the next part of the grand plan which involves the cunning trick of making a few quid whilst simultaneously becoming more flexible in my working patterns.

And yes, once I have managed that I will go on to invent the self-replicating tenner.



* - 5 bonus points and a biscuit to the first person who gets the reference.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Happy Birthday

Today is the birthday of my beautiful wife, she is the light of my life, my raison d'ĂȘtre, my compass and the best friend I could ever wish for.

Happy birthday darling, may the road rise to meet you and all your gins be cold.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

LOL Marketing

My favourite kind. I tried that waterproof coffee, but it just wasn't for me.


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Headphones On, World Off.

Some time ago I made a very big mistake.

I was out somewhere or other and had a while to kill before meeting with someone who was doubtlessly going to tell me something fascinating about industrial level products (I know, it's very rock n roll isn't it?), so I went to buy a coffee and a sandwich. I ate them and was still too early to turn up at my meeting so I went for a wander round the shops.

They had a Bose shop and, like a sailor being lured onto the rocks by a Siren, I went in.

Now, I love a gadget but the world beloved of audiophiles has long been closed to me. Sure, it's got all the boxes ticked in that it consists mainly of electronics in shiny boxes with eye-watering pricetags and I can appreciate the difference between the really cheap end of audio kit and the next step up, but try as I might I just have never managed to tell the difference between kit costing £50 or £500. I clearly have £49.99 hearing so I have always been sure that I can go into these kind of shops to fondle the gadgetry and pull faces at the pricetags, safe in the knowledge that I won't actually want any of it.

after a couple of minutes of poking about I tried on a pair of their noise canceling headphones, safe in the knowledge that I would not be able to tell the difference between the shiny £280 items in the shop and the ones I'd bought from the interwebz for, ahem, considerably less a couple of years ago.

Under the watchful gaze of the wildly enthusiastic (and technically astute) sales johnny I put them on and sure enough there appeared to be no difference at all. Until I switched them on.

The sound of the crowds milling through the shopping centre disappeared, and I was just left with, well, silence. It was astonishing. The music sounded great too. I was blown away.

Since then I have spent the last few months telling myself that £280 for a set of headphones that I'll mainly use on flights a couple of times a year is ridiculous and trying to ignore the small voice at the back of my head telling me they're worth every penny.

On Sunday I found myself winning an auction on ebay for a pair of the very same headphones. Oops. Even though they were considerably less than new the Beautiful Mrs A almost fell off her chair when I told her how much. She pointed out that I could have bought a pair of headphones for a fiver at Tesco (her expectation of audio quality is even lower than mine). Although she doesn't understand my love of expensive technology, she gets entirely the want of a thing - see here - so all is well.

They're due to arrive today and as long as they're not knockoffs and are functional I think I'll be quietly pleased...


Friday, 4 July 2014

Lane 1.

The Boy wonder has a thing or two to learn about tradition.

Around this time of year he has a sports day at school. Every year I offer to run in the dads race. Every year he pulls a face veering between disinterest and horror and says no. Every year I turn up and cheer like a nutcase as he hops over hurdles or throws beanbags into buckets, rounding off the day by watching the other poor unfortunate buggers who's children don't know the tradition have to run in the parent's races.

This time however, when I asked the question 'would you like me to run in the dads race?' he said yes.


So on Wednesday, after spending the afternoon whooping and cheering whilst a bunch of enthusiastic kids threw sponge javelins at each other and did the shortest long jumps in the world, the fateful announcement came over the tannoy:

"Would all those competing in the parent's races, please make their way to the start line of the running track."


Now, under normal circumstances I'm a fairly easy going guy but I have to say that I have a competitive streak if there's a racetrack involved and this occasion was no different. As I stood on the startline I sized up the competition. There were seven of us in all, most of whom had at least a decade's worth of advantage on me. At that point I desperately wanted to win.

So the whistle went, I ran at a pace that my mind was entirely happy with, but which my legs were apparently less pleased about. I had a couple of close calls but managed to stay upright and staggered across the line in one piece.

Did I win? Of course not. I was beaten by an eighteen year old lad that was injured because his mate had shot him in the leg the day before with a BB gun and he'd decided to dig the projectile out with a knife* and a chap who'd actually brought trainers with him. But I managed to squeeze past the guy who told me on the start line he finished last in the previous day's race, a fat chap who fell over and a couple of others, so it wasn't all bad.

TBW was genuinely surprised that I hadn't won, he did his best to make me feel better but I reckon that lessons have been learnt and next year tradition will be restored.


* - He was the uncle of one the lads in TBW's class. I saw the wound and I have to say I believed his tale, I just hope the knife was sharper than he was.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Swings & Roundabouts.

Some days my job sucks. 

Other days it doesn't. Sometimes I get to have a meeting in the sunshine and eat a lunch paid for by somebody else in a place like this:

I have to say that those are the days I prefer.


Friday, 27 June 2014

These Little Piggies Went To Market (Harborough).

You may remember that a little while ago I wrote a post about clutter and sentimentality and stuff (if your memory is as swiss-cheese-like as mine, it's here), one of the subjects of which was an ashtray with a cone and two pigs.

Well here it is:

The Mum came over for Sunday lunch last weekend and brought it with her as a gift. She told me the tale of it belonging to my Grandparents on The Dad's side of the family. They had both clocked out before I clocked in so I never actually met them and now I have a battered ashtray that belonged to them.

It has been broken in the past (there's a reasonable probability that I was involved) and fixed with araldite that looks like it was applied by someone wearing welders mitts. Whilst Drunk. In the dark. A finely crafted objet d'art it is not.

So now it's been passed on to me. No doubt The Grandparents had some attachment to it and I know that The Mum valued it as a link to them, but emotional links to objects are conferred by the owner and just aren't assignable. I can't help but feel a lack of much towards it which is a shame but is the truth.

Maybe it's the chasm of years and lack of memories of its original owners.

Maybe in years to come this tale will become part of the object in some way and a connection will be formed, but for now this will just be two pigs facing a broken cone.


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Beautiful Game.

In the mornings on my drive to work I try to listen to the radio. I have 3 stations that I generally flick between until they annoy me:

Radio 1 - Could be either the music or Nick Bloody Grimshaw that tips me over the edge. Most likely to be Nick Bloody Grimshaw.

Radio 2 - Could be the music or Chris Evans that makes me change stations. Most likely to be Elton Bloody John.

Radio 4 - There is no music so it's usually John Bloody Humphrys.

However, today was top entertainment. 

Today, on Radio 4 of all places, there was a discussion about the salience of England's final game (due to be played today I believe) in the world cup. There was all sorts of in depth discussion about its effect on the nation's psychological wellbeing and parallels being drawn to tribal warfare, all delivered by a couple of folks who sounded much more likely to be discussing the influence of Byzantine architecture on post industrial urban landscapes than Rooney* being a bit crap.

It felt like listening to Brian Sewell discussing his deep love for Dubstep and Happy House.


* - OK, it's a fair cop. This is the only one I know.

Friday, 20 June 2014

You Can Take The Boy Out Of Engineering...

Last week I was out and about on company business again. One of the many delights of the job that I do is that you quite often get wheeled around peoples warehouses as they proudly tell you all about their 6 Sigma this or Continuous Improvement that. My job in this particular scenario is to look interested and UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES look them square in the eye and tell them that I just don't care.

This particular visit was showing all the signs of being just such an occasion. I stood and dutifully listened to their spiel about Kanban and Ishikawa and kept my thoughts to myself. I even managed to keep my face straight whilst they told me about their unassailable dominance in the narrowboat toilet market (which was, to be frank, an effort of monumental proportions).

But then we rounded a corner and they showed me their engineering department. They had lathes and milling machines (both types, no less!) and surface grinders and EDM machines and a chap in overalls and safety glasses called Dave.

I wasn't allowed in due to their health and safety rules so I stood, just on the boring side of the yellow line painted on the floor, staring in like a fat kid at the door of the cakeshop. There were slip gauges and micrometers and engineering drawings and the evocative smell of cutting fluid. It was ace.

And I bet Dave was looking out at me and thinking "it's all right for you, pal - you'll swan about here for a bit and then get ferried off to a nice airconditioned meeting room and given free coffee".

The grass is always greener on the other fellow's grave, Dave.


Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Bad Penny

A couple of months ago I had a strop with blogger, I was upset because the app (which, ironically, this very post is being composed on) wasn't up to my expectations and because blogger doesn't let me fanny about with pictures in quite the way I'd like to when posting from anything other than a full blown PC (which is just so 2013, obvs*). Clearly this was a disaster of biblical proportions and so I jumped ship to WordPress.

But here's the thing.

It's just not the same. Oh I know that I have a million times more control over every little bit of code, I know that the app is a million times better than the blogger debacle (which feels like it was last updated in 2001), but it's just not the same. It feels like renting a fancy penthouse apartment instead of your small basement flat, but not being able to bring your comfy sofa and ask your mates round.

So I'm back. Normal service will be resumed and I'll even try to get the posts I wrote over there back over here (wish me luck!)

But if anyone can suggest a decent android blogging app that'll work with blogger I would be unreasonably grateful.


* - yes, I am fully aware of the irony of this comment on out-of-date stuff, given that it appears in a blog post of all things

Friday, 11 April 2014

Moving On.

Well, it was fun on blogger, but the frankly woeful app for my beloved Android technojiggerypokery stopped me from blogging as I would have liked on my recent jaunt, which has driven me to new shores.  I have, in short, decamped to Wordpress.

My blog is here;


I've moved the whole blog and set up everything so that I still get to read you posts and I'd love to see you over on the dark side, to kick off with tales of travels to sunny climes and more day-to-day claptrap to follow.

Hopefully see you there.



Saturday, 29 March 2014

Mad Dogs.

Well, Sri Lanka was ace.

More (much more) to come. But for now, Caruthers, it's time to relax....


Friday, 21 March 2014

Such A Perfect Place To Start.

Tomorrow we're off on another adventure, this time to far flung corners of The Empire.

Oh I love an adventure......


Thursday, 20 March 2014

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.

I’ve never really been a chap who keeps things based upon sentimental attachments. I’ve always felt that William Morris hit the rustic-style nail on the head with his quote that serves as title for this post.

I’m not really entirely sure why I have this deep seated desire to avoid clutter, but I think that The Dad was probably quite central to my views as he was at the other end of the scale. When he downsized from the home we grew up in to his bungalow a few years ago we spent an entire weekend and 3 skips clearing out just the garage. Edited highlights include:

  • A roll of cream carpet that The Dad found in a ditch (and you could tell)
  • A boiler that wasn’t working even when it was put in the garage in the first place
  • Several offcuts of timber that were older than me
  • Half of a large garden swing seat that last saw the garden in 1978

Some of these things actually had to be negotiated into the skip. His mantra was ‘it might come in useful one day’.

When he died I kept very little of his stuff. There is a set of plans for the last house that he built in a cardboard tube, a fireguard that he made as an apprentice piece and a roadsign. The roadsign is the only thing I know I won’t throw away.

The beautiful Mrs A and I were talking about such things during one of our morning chats the other day and I mentioned a weird thing that The Mum has had in her house for as long as I can remember. It’s a small, green china ashtray featuring a large cone (such as you might see on an old gramophone, but without the gramophone itself) and two pigs sitting and looking into the cone.

No, I have no idea either. I guess it must have been designed in the 60s during a particularly successful experiment with hallucinogenic drugs. Think Franklin Mint from a parallel universe and you’ll be about right.

Unfortunately, Mrs A mentioned my recollection of this ‘unique piece’ to The Mum when she met her for lunch yesterday.

Even more unfortunately The Mum got quite excited about this (apparently there is a big long list of Things I Don’t Remember from my childhood) and has confused ‘recollection’ with ‘wish to possess’.

I think from now on I’ll just have strong childhood memories of her nice car that she bought a couple of years ago.


Thursday, 13 February 2014

Hello Sailor.

Today I had to head south on business, an appointment that didn't fill me with joy given the recent weather. I was delayed in setting off by an overenthusiastic German colleague wanting a chat about valves which did little to cheer me up.

However, by the time I hit a largely empty M5 the sun was shining, with barely a cloud in the sky apart from those clipping the tops of The Malvern Hills. I had some tunes on the radio and a road almost to myself.

The sun glistened off the wet tarmac and as I crossed the River Avon (which looked about four times the width it should be) I happened to check my wing mirror as I overtook a slower car. The spray from the surface water kicked up by my car caught the bright sunlight at just the right angle and it looked for all the world like a rainbow was shooting out of my arse.

Days like this can only be good, right?


Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Life Aquatic.

This picture tells you a lot about me.

Not in the way that you might imagine - although I quite like a swim, I'm not what you'd call a regular swimmer, I've never been scuba diving in my life (although it's something I've always wanted to do) and I think the last time I actually I put on a mask and snorkel Jacques Cousteau was probably still bothering the fishes.

No, this particular item tells a story about my outlook on life.

The long suffering Mrs A and I were on one of our wandering around the town expeditions yesterday looking for travel guides (for a bit of a jaunt we have coming up very soon, more of which later), when I spotted it in a charity shop window display (not for sale, mind you. Just for decoration). I mentioned that it might be quite a useful thing for me to acquire, Mrs A pulled the 'what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-you?' face, and the saga began.

We had a brief chat in the shop itself, I wanted to ask if they'd sell it to me but Mrs A has a pretty low threshold for public embarrassment and asked me very nicely not to, so I left it alone and we headed off to look at floaty frocks and confusing cardigans.

But the seed had set.

After a bit of discussion we arrived at a quite nice compromise - Mrs A would go and look at Nice Lady Things, whilst I went back to persuade the nice ladies in the charity shop to sell me one of their props. We'd meet up in the pub for a bite to eat. Happy days.

The reality of the conversation in the shop itself was not quite as easy as I had first anticipated however. The nice ladies had been replaced by a nice young chap behind the till, who had to get confirmation from the shop manager that he could sell the thing. Once this had been established he asked me to point it out in the window display so he got the right one.

I didn't say that there was only one mask and snorkel in the display so it'd be pretty bloody hard to make a mistake, but you can bet I thought it quite hard.

I played along and pointed it out to him, at which point the lad looked worried and came out to tell me that he couldn't sell it to me as it was part of the display. This was the point at which I realised he had learning difficulties and began to feel hugely guilty about my earlier thoughts. I pressed on regardless and reminded him that the manager lady had said it was fine to sell.

He reluctantly went back to double check, and once he was satisfied I wasn't trying to pull a fast one went off to get the gear from the window whilst I waited at the counter. It was at this point the situation really started to get away from me.

The chap arrived back at the counter with the mask, snorkel, a cheeery smile and flippers.

Massive flippers.

I told the lad that I didn't want the fins, just the mask & snorkel, but he was not to be dissuaded from his sale now. Each of my objections was met with a big grin and an "enjoy your purchase" statement. I decided that the best approach was to just shut up and buy the lot. My heart sank when he handed over the bag with half the fins still sticking out.

The thought of wandering across a busy pub on a Friday evening in a Midlands town 100 miles from the sea in the middle of winter with a pair of flippers sticking out of a plastic bag was too much even for me, so I headed out and handed over the flippers to a different charity shop 2 doors down the road. I strode up to the counter confidently and said to the nice old lady, in my best 'this-is-not-weird-in-any-way' tones, "Would you like my flippers?"

She took them off my hands, I breathed a sigh of relief and went to meet the beautiful Mrs A for a beer and a bite to eat, which was all rather nice.

This morning I realised that the mask and snorkel is for a child. Every day's a school day, eh?


Thursday, 23 January 2014

Tales Of The Unexpected

My colleague is a funny old stick. He’ll be 50 in a couple of months and he’s one of the most engineery men I know (and given my employment background that’s no mean feat). He is logical and methodical and he likes a scientifically reliable fact.

Just recently he had been quite poorly and was been bemoaning the aches and pains and general inconvenience of it all. A couple of his desk neighbours had been badgering him to go to the doctor (a thing he seemed singularly unwilling to do). All the persuading and cajoling and pressuring came to an abrupt halt however, when he recently announced that he’d been made well overnight.

He explained that he’d gone to bed as normal in the evening and the following morning had suddenly felt entirely better. Nothing too unusual so far, until we got to his view of the reason for this sudden recovery.

The spirits did it in the night.

We asked how he’d arrived at this slightly leftfield reason for feeling better and he explained that when he’d gone to bed he’d been wearing his socks (with his pyjamas tucked in to them, mind you), but when he’d woken up in the morning HE NO LONGER HAD SOCKS ON (pause for dramatic music).

Now I know very little about either spirituality or medicine, but a sockectomy seems to be a pretty unusual activity for spooks or doctors to be involved in whilst working on curing a bit of a cough.

However, just to be on the safe side, he went to see the doctor anyway. I asked how it’d gone and he told me that the doc had said it was just a virus that his immune systems had sorted out and he just had to take things easy for a while.

He also told me that he’d asked the doctor if it might have been spirits that took the illness away. Apparently the doctor thought it quite unlikely.

Sometimes I worry that I’m just imagining these people.


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Of Mice and Men

I know that those of you more organised than I (which means pretty much all of you) will have already made your New Year’s resolutions. I’m sure that you will have stuck resolutely to them, wavered and discarded them by now. Some of you may even still have one or two intact, in which case I salute your tenacity.

I, however, have only just got around to thinking about such things, which has a couple of positive aspects to it:

  • They aren’t concocted in the alcohol-hazed aftermath of Christmas.
  • I can say with honesty that I haven’t given up on any of my resolutions yet.

 So I am hereby committing my harebrained schemes to the ether.

1.  Travel
Last year we didn’t really get to too many places. This year some more weekends away are on the cards.

2. Get back into shape
I’ve been slacking terribly for a while on this front (as my half-arsed half-training debacle illustrates beautifully). I’m thinking that the backbone of this will be running 3 times a week, but there may be swimming and cycling involved too.

3. Wrestle a tiger
Well, everyone has at least one exciting but wildly optimistic New Year’s resolution and I figure that it might as well be super exciting if it’s not likely to happen. This is mine.

4. Dust off the camera
I’ve been letting my one and only creative outlet slip for a long time. I’m thinking that the 365 project may get another go, maybe with some themes along the way. All suggestions gratefully received (but only stuff that won’t get me arrested/sectioned/put on a register please).

5. Charidee
At least 2 things. Nuff said.

So that’s the plan. By December I will have interesting tales and images of foreign lands. I will be able to tell these tales without being out of breath and with a sense of balanced karma. Hopefully the scars from the claws will be healed too.

We shall see.


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Drive By Friends

Some years ago my drive to work in the mornings used to take me along a piece of singletrack road. It was by far and away the best part of my journey, as I was heading Eastward and consequently quite often got to see some beautiful sunrises across open countryside. Although the road was probably a good couple of miles long, it was invisble to satnavs and not particularly well used at all, so on most mornings I had the place to myself save for the occasional cow and an elderly Sikh gentleman.

I used to see him pretty much every morning miles from anywhere, ambling along in his duffelcoat, trainers & wooly hat (winter gear) or T-shirt, trainers & wooly hat (summer gear). Over the years he and I eventually got to a stage where we would cheerfully wave to each other, although I never actually stopped and said hello (I am not one of your arrive-at-the-office-15-minutes-early kinda guys and hence never really had the time to stop).

Eventually my route to work changed and I just didn't see him in the mornings anymore, but I often wonder if he's still ambling about the Leicestershire countryside and wondering what happened to the idiot in the Volvo that used to wave at him for no reason.

After our house move, my new route to work takes me past a house that quite often has a very portly lady standing on the doorstep smoking a fag and looking cross in her dressing gown. Sometimes I see her on the way home too, although usually the dressing gown has been swapped for a tracksuit (she still looks cross though). I've not waved at her so far as she looks more of a punching than a waving kind of lady.