The W Word!

Just when you think it’s safe to go back in the water………. I’m doing overtime again! I’m not sure for how long this time, but the secretaries went down like flies last week so I helped out again. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! πŸ˜‰ (Think of the money, think of the money….)

Our Trust has just launched a home computers initiative which allows employees to buy a brand new computer for a monthly sum on a salary sacrifice scheme. This means that the full RRP is paid, but there is no deposit required, no interest to pay, and the monthly repayments are taken direct from salary BEFORE tax, NI and pension is deducted. (The computer remains the property of the Trust until it is paid off in full over 1, 2 or 3 years.) I think the Trust gains by getting a better deal for their work-place computers by buying larger numbers – at least this is how I understood all the small print anyway.) With my computer getting slower and slower and more likely to die by the day, this scheme looks too attractive to pass up. I’ve never had a new computer before, I always get the family’s cast-offs or rebuilds (not that I’m complaining though.) Neither have I had a laptop but the idea of this has become more appealing over the last couple of years, for various reasons. So…….. I’ve applied to get a lap top (the least expensive on offer) and pay for it over 2 years. I’m rather excited at the thought of getting it and hope it won’t be long πŸ™‚

Nel has got a permanent contract with a local taxi firm chaperoning children to and from school. Obviously it’s only during term time, but it fits in nicely with her dog walking and at last means she will be able to say goodbye to the job centre πŸ™‚ She’s enjoying the job so far (not the early mornings so much though!) and we’re proud of her.

Billy has got to the stage where he simply cannot continue with being an optician. The stress is too much and at the end of the day, we feel that his health has to come first. Unfortunately it’s a hard time to be looking for work, and on paper, he is only qualified to do one thing. However, he’s been applying for jobs, and in the interim he has got himself a temporary post until Christmas. This is great because it isn’t just bringing in some (much needed) money, but also gives him something else on his CV and shows employers that he can and will do other work. πŸ™‚

Tired Expert

When I got back to mum’s at 11.45pm I went straight to bed, but sadly, the cuppucino I’d had in the car after the game proved to be too caffeinated and I ended up falling asleep at 4am so only had a couple of hours sleep πŸ™ Coupled with the later bed-times I have at mum’s, and the stresses of the two Manchester trips, this served to make me very tired on Wednesday morning. Mum and I enjoyed a last breakfast together before going our separate ways – she to work and me to drive home. I‘d had a wonderful couple of days with her and felt I’d recharged my mental batteries if not my physical ones.

I had an easy drive home, which was just as well because I really was tired. I arrived at the hospital car park just in time for me to attend the education meeting which was pleasing as I was very interested in the subject and it lived up to my expectations. Next I drove home and unloaded the car before going back out to Tesco and doing the shopping. By the time I’d unpacked it all, I was beyond tired. I felt so tired I felt ill and everything was swimming. I was in bed at 8pm, went out like a light, and slept for 10 hours straight!

I felt slightly better the next morning, but still a bit slow. I wasn’t sure if it was good or bad that I was booked in for a day of IT sessions so that I could sit a mock Excel test and then do the final exam if I felt ready. It seemed so long since I’d last done any Excel training that I found it hard at first. I debated whether or not to sit the exam but decided I may as well have a go – and, like the Word expert one, I found it really hard. I was convinced I’d failed, but no. I am now officially a Microsoft Excel Expert πŸ™‚

I was working with the medical secretaries on Friday and I somehow struggled through the day, yawning as I went but by the evening I was feeling really wiped out again. As we now have plenty of players for our darts team, I gave darts a miss and had an early night. I was sad to miss seeing my friends but it was definitely the right thing to do as, once again, I slept right round until morning. I think it did the trick and I finally felt more like myself on Saturday morning. πŸ™‚ (My clever teammates pulled off another win, 6-5 against the Fox. Well done team πŸ™‚ )

Blackburn 0 – 4 City

Another game viewed on-line, but I had such trouble with my PC/the internet/the stream that I missed great chunks of the game – including our first two goals! πŸ™

The first half of the match didn’t give me much hope of City breaking their duck at a bogey ground, though I confess I did feel optimistic that we would prevail in the end, if only by a goal. When Aguero pulled up and sat down indicating that he needed to come off I feared the worst for him, but fortunately it looks like a muscle strain only. Nasri came on in his place and played well I thought. In the second half, we started to look more commanding and I was baffled by how much space Blackburn players gave our attackers generally, and Silva specifically. By the end of the game, we’d had 19 attempts at goal, with 12 on target, though it was thanks to AJ that we broke the deadlock.

I was NOT amused to miss both his and Balotelli’s goals! (Eventually, 2 reboots and switching to Google Chrome from IE got my stream back.) Happily, I DID see Nasri’s and Savic’s goals and was very pleased with the final score. Though Manure also gained 3 points from the weekend, we’ve narrowed their better goal difference to just 1 πŸ™‚ The forthcoming derby is getting ever more interesting a prospect, even for neutrals.

MCFC’s 60 second highlights here.
MCFC’s extended highlights here.

Not a film star.

The IT training department asked if I would consider helping them out by being filmed for about 10 minutes for a short promotional film for the MOS course that I’ve been doing. Despite my telling them that I didn’t really like having m photo taken and wasn’t photogenic, they somehow talked me in to it.

The 10 minutes then somehow became “around 45 minutes or so” and being interviewed about the course I’d done. Erm….. too late to back out? (Of course it was!)

On the day of the filming, I nervously presented myself at the appointed time and place and was introduced to the production team! (Production team? I thought it was just a one-man-with-a-camera type thing!?!) There was the camera man, the sound man, the man doing the interviewing, a man from the exam-setting company and a man from the NHS training team. And they all sat and stared at me whilst I had to “just relax and talk normally” ! (Shame they didn’t bring a make-up lady, I might have been a little less self-conscious πŸ˜‰ )

They were all really friendly people which helped, as did having one familiar face from the training department to give me moral support. Oh and I got a shiny new badge since they’ve updated the MOS badge since I got mine. However, this didn’t stop me feeling I made a pig’s ear of it and I felt as though my face was red and my throat closed up – especially when they asked me to talk louder. In the end they seemed pleased with what they got and I scuttled off, with much relief, back to work.

Just when I had come back down to earth and relaxed, I was asked if I would mind going back and being recorded doing some typing and showing my Excel skills. That actually wasn’t as bad as earlier, though we did have to think of a couple of things for me to ask the trainer to demonstrate, which again, made me a little self conscious.

They were filming a few more people at another hospital the next day so hopefully there will end up being little of me on the finished film because I’m really not convinced I came across how they wanted me to. Meanwhile the suspense ISN’T going to kill me, and this will not be the start of a new career…. πŸ˜‰

Expert with Word.

Last week I sat my exam for MOS Word Expert, and somehow, passed it!

I’d finished the coursework book a couple of weeks ago but not had the chance to look at it again as we’ve been busy. I was booked in to the IT session on a certain date and since the trainers only come to our hospital once a month, I decided I’d still go, and I’d ask to do a practice test and go from there.

I did the practice test which I found fairly hard – partly as I’d forgotten a couple of things and partly because about 1/3 of the questions had not been covered in the coursework. Of those, I could work out how to do most of them, but a couple were beyond me, and I had to ask how to do them.

At the end of the practice, I felt I probably wasn’t ready for the actual exam and said so to the trainers. However, they talked me into having a go as they thought I WAS ready. So, with a bit of doubt still, I went for it.

Just as I started, I realised I should have gone to the loo first and then the first two questions had me at a loss – not a great omen! I skipped those two (you can come back to them later if there’s time) and carried on with the rest of the exam – fortunately, the rest being fine. At the end, I had just under 2 minutes to go back to the two questions I skipped and I managed to complete the half of each that I COULD do, leaving the other half un-done.

I told the trainers I’d finished but that I didn’t think I’d have passed and why. I wasn’t even nervous as the computer calculated my score as I was convinced I’d failed. So I was in shock when it said I’d passed!

YAY! Word Expert now completed……. and onto Excel Expert…… yikes!

Word Specialist

Remember me telling you that I’d passed my Microsoft Office Excel exam? Well now I have passed MOS Word too πŸ™‚

I’ve been working hard at doing the course each week and have almost finished the course for Word Expert so am hoping to sit that exam next month. I’m aiming to pass the Core level in: Word; Excel; Access; Power Point; and Outlook plus the Expert level in: Word and Excel so that I get the Master certification.

Watch this space – and wish me luck πŸ™‚

Ain’t Technology Grand?

Just after New Year, Billy and I finally managed to finish clearing everything out of my clinic and I then spent a few days playing put-and-take trying to find homes for it all.

One of the things I brought home was the computer which Billy had given me for the business when I opened it 4 years ago. Although I had occasionally used my mobile to connect it to the internet if I needed something specific, it was mainly used offline and therefore had not been updated for 4 years. Nel has been wanting a PC to use for playing games without using all the memory on her laptop, so the plan as for her to have the old one I was using at home, which was a bit sluggish but had a good graphics card, and for me to update the old clinic one for my own use. Nel was also gaining the all-in-one scanner-printer from me and I was having the clinic printer.

And so began a day of backing up my files and favourites before wiping them all from the old PC and then setting up the clinic one ready to use. First I had to install the wireless receiver and then of course, downloading and installing all the updates. 72 of them in the first wave, but then, annoyingly, many more, a few at a time as they appeared. Why it couldn’t do them all at once and be done with it, I don’t know! I also had to get an updated Kaspersky key which was free of charge courtesy of online banking, but I’d already used my 3 keys for Billy’s laptop, Nel’s PC and Nel’s laptop, so I had to ask Stephen to get me one of his. Eventually, everything was installed and then, just as I could play, Windows did a check and decided that the copy of Windows on the PC was not legitimate! Flamin’ cheek! It IS! Billy bought this PC 5+ years ago, with Windows already installed and with a sticker stating the key on the side. The only advice offered with the notification was to contact the retailer – fat lot of help all this time later when I haven’t a clue where it came from! Now I am stuck with a stupid message on my desktop and am unable to set a wallpaper or theme. Grrrr! Other than this, and the fact that the very old version of Office is installed, all is well and I have set up the computer to run a personal account for me and a herbal one for the business.

My business mobile is synchronised with and backed up to, this computer and I’d had a text a few weeks ago from Orange, advising me that there was new software available for my phone and that I should download and install it.(I love Nokia and Ovi Suite for letting me update my own software πŸ™‚ ) I couldn’t do this before as I couldn’t get online to do so, but after bringing the PC home, and getting it online, I could now do this. So another couple of hours were spent backing up my phone and then installing the new software and at last, I have a nice up to date business phone.

Sadly, this just highlighted the fact that my personal phone was getting on a bit now that I’d had it for 3 years, and I badly needed a new one. I had a good look around at what Nokias there were available, researched them, looked at them in the shops and eventually decided I’d like a Nokia C5 – a classic Nokia phone but with a lot of smart phone abilities. I don’t need a lot of gismos and gadgets though I did like the idea of the free sat-nav as this is something I’ve been needing for a while, and the camera and other features were a bit better than my old one. I usually pay around £15 every other month on PAYG with Tesco (which is actually serviced by O2) and found a good deal on the O2 website which offered the C5 free with a £10pcm contract – so £2.50 a month more than I am already used to paying. This sounded a great deal so I went for it.

When my new phone came, I spent more time backing up my old one to the PC/Ovi Suite and setting up my preferences. However, as I still have a fair bit of credit to use on my Tesco SIM, I have put that into the new phone until I’ve used it up and will then use the new O2 SIM (if you call/text me, panic not, I shall be retaining my old number!) Until then, there’s no point getting O2 to send me the correct phone settings so I’m not yet using all the phone’s features. Once I do switch, I plan to use the old handset and a free PAYG SIM to keep in the car for an emergency. I must remember to make a call from it every 3 or 4 months though, to keep the SIM active.

It was coincidence that I did all this computer and phone updating at the same time, but it is a good job jobbed and I’m pleased with the results. Hopefully this little lot will keep me going for another 3 years or so before it needs doing again. πŸ™‚

I’m a Specialist!

I know I’m behind with my blogging and don’t worry, I’ll catch up, but I just had to stick this post on TODAY!

Today I have passed my Microsoft Office Specialist Excel exam – rather against my expectations – and I am over the moon.

It took several weeks to complete the course and then the exam was quite hard and I had to bluff a couple of questions,(financial formulae are where I struggle most) but I got a decent mark and passed. It feels like such an achievement – and let’s not forget to mention that I get a certificate and a little shiny MOS badge πŸ™‚

I’m feeling very pleased with myself today and I’m pleased for my manager too, who encouraged me to do it and has covered clinics for me so I could do the work.

Working on Word now.

Hilarious spam comment

I have a very good anti-spam programme courtesy of Word Press, so none gets through, but goes into a folder so I can have a peek and check nothing I might want to keep gets chucked. Every now and then I have a look and this one was so funny, I was tempted to approve it just for the entertainment value. Instead I’m sharing it with you myself, minus its links! πŸ˜€

HELP! IÒ€ℒm currently being held prisoner by the Russian mafia xyzrxyz penis enlargement xyzrxyz and being forced to post spam comments on blogs! If you donÒ€ℒt approve this they will kill me. xyzrxyz penis enlargement xyzrxyz TheyÒ€ℒre coming back now. Please send help!

4 Losses

Since I’ve been back home, I’ve been catching up with everything but it’s been two steps forwards, one back as the “4 losses” will show:

    Lost photos!

On Bank Holiday Monday I persuaded Billy to come for a walk with me so we went up to Hadrian’s Wall, picking a spot we hadn’t visited before (together that is – Billy has visited most of parts since he grew up here) The Roman Army Museum. It was a cloudy day with a stiff breeze, though the sun was warm when it managed to break through, so we dressed for the weather and set off – with Billy half-moaning that he didn’t want to walk, just visit the museum. However, after we did the museum, he did accept that I really wanted to walk and he even seemed to quite enjoy it – bar the bits that jolted his bad knee. We set off clambering across the crags and the wall, amongst the sheep, and I loved it. I loved the exercise (walking is my very favourite exercise) and being outdoors in touch with nature. It was up and down hill, across rocky bits and flat grass, and came with magnificent views so I took lots of photos. We arrived back at the museum glowing and refreshed and had a cup of tea in the café, served by very friendly staff before heading back home for a takeaway and the film “Avatar” with Nel. I had a really good day, enjoying the exercise and fresh air, the views, Billy’s company, the film (about which I’d had reservations but found to be really good) and Nel’s company later. I couldn’t wait to look at my photos and post them in a picture-blog of the day, but when I went to transfer them to the computer, there were only three there! ARGH! All the very best ones had disappeared πŸ™

Roman Army Museum Walk 1
Roman Army Museum Walk 3
Roman Army Museum Walk 2

    Lost Power!

On Tuesday evening after a very long, crazy, day at work, I was ready to relax. We had dinner, cleared up and then prepared to settle for the evening – when the power went off! It didn’t return within moments, there had been no loud click of one our trip switches going, so I had a look outside to see people in our street all opening doors and looking around. OK – so it was a general power failure then. Ho hum. The kids had told me there had been a power outage last Tuesday too, for an hour, and I guessed it was something to do with the roadworks at the top of the hill – so I felt it may be out a while. I decided to get undressed and into bed, light a couple of candles and read my book. I was reading the second of a trilogy and was very absorbed in it so this was no hardship for me. πŸ™‚ However, it WAS a hardship for everyone else – it was hilarious watching the four of them unable to amuse themselves without electricity! First Billy grumbled and came in to talk to me – he’d already arranged to go to the gym with someone though, so at least I only had to put up with his boredom for an hour or so. Nel came in next, moaning that she couldn’t do ANYTHING! She couldn’t draw without light so I suggested she went to my clinic and did it there – but no, she didn’t want to do that. She sighed and said she couldn’t even have a bath. “Why not?” asked Billy. “Er, ‘cos there’s no hot water!” I replied. He thought that because our hot water and heating is gas fuelled, it would still work – forgetting that the ignition spark and pump are electric! πŸ˜€ Eventually, Nel left to find something to do and Stephen appeared. He was SO bored, there was NOTHING to do! I suggested he do as I was, and read a book – “I’d rather do nothing!” he said, so I told him to buzz off and do nothing then, and leave me to read my book. Then it was Raji’s turn. he appeared in my room clutching a towel and asking if there was hot water. So followed a similar conversation to the earlier one – Raji had planned to have a bath – not that he ever has baths, nor likes them, but it would have been “something to do” πŸ˜€ Off he went. Then returned to ask if I had any matches so he could boil some water in a saucepan and make that good old remedy-for-all-ills – a cup of tea. (The ignition on the cooker is electric.) I gave him some, and off he went. Finally, I got to read my book before sleep time. The power eventually returned at midnight, so at least we could all have tea/coffee/breakfast and showers in the morning. πŸ™‚ (Guess whose job it was to put all the clocks and timers right though!)

    Lost Programmes!

I don’t watch much TV and very, very rarely watch it “live”, but I do record four programmes a week (Casualty, Holby, Stagate Universe and Fringe) and three of them are on Tuesday evenings. Ah! The power cut meant that these three did not record! Not a problem with Holby – I could see that on BBC iPlayer. Stargate Universe was a slight problem, but I knew that Paul records these too so if it came to it, we could go and watch it with him (when he caught up with all the previous episodes which he had still not had the opportunity to watch.) But Fringe! Fringe was a problem! It is still early on in the new series, and there is no way I can watch future episodes until I see the one I missed – but it wasn’t likely to be repeated for a very long time I thought. ARGH! Then Nel gave me the idea of seeing if I could revive our Sky Player service, which she’d previously installed on her old laptop. (You can only have it installed on one computer at a time and without the old one through which to log in, we could not remove it from our account, so we couldn’t install it on another computer.) Eventually, after running in circles online, I called Sky and they removed the defunct computer so I could install it on the laptop. And BINGO! I managed to catch up with the missing Fringe episode and am a happy bunny again πŸ™‚ Perhaps Billy and I can watch the missing Stargate Universe episodes too (two episodes thanks to the two Tuesday power cuts!) Ain’t technology great?

    Lost Match!

On Wednesday evening, Claire came round to watch the City v Spurs league match which had been postponed earlier in the year. Claire is a Spurs fan and usually comes with me to this fixture, but the new date being a midweek evening meant neither of us could go, so we arranged to watch this “4th spot decider” together. For the past several weeks I have been saying that I though Spurs would get the 4th spot and over the season they have been more consistent than us – I can live with that, though I do hate Appy ‘Arry! Anyway, I got some nibbles and beers and we settled to watch it, along with Billy. City started brightly and Claire was nervous, but I assured her that around 12 minutes in we’d slow down and start to let Spurs into the game. And we did – though it was an entertaining enough first half. The second half was even better but I really felt that we didn’t look like scoring whereas Spurs did. And so it proved, giving Spurs the win, which I have to say, was deserved. I can’t claim that I was that disappointed either, partly because I expected it and partly because I don’t think we’re ready for Champions League yet. I would much rather we built our way up gradually than have overnight success with the real possibility that we cannot sustain it. The media always did hype this up more than most (realistic) City fans – or at least, more than long standing City fans. The majority of us feel it’s been a great season, jumping from 10th to 5th (or at worst, 6th) and laying a good foundation for next year. Our chairman gave a brilliant interview on and talks a lot of sense. Maybe the media will calm down a bit now and stop trying to make us something we’re not – but somehow I doubt it! πŸ˜›

So – a funny old week, the four losses being slightly annoying, though not hugely problematic. Hoping for some “gains” next week to balance the scales πŸ™‚

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