Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I'm a bit flummoxed by all this flooding. I spent pretty much all day on Friday writing furiously about the catastrophic flooding of a biblical nature which was about to bring impending doom to Oxford. Or at least general wetness.

Then, following a shamefully but deliciously drunken ball on Friday (knee-length black dress with sparkly diamante bits and a black silk sash, if you wanted to know), I spent the weekend wondering absent-mindedly where all this water was - it's completely dry in east Oxford. Even wandered along the towpath alongside the river (which was admittedly rather fuller than usual) in search of floods, but didn't see anything up to much - other than lots and lots of people with cameras taking pictures of swollen waters.

So, then on Sunday night I got a sequence of text messages from my boss warning me that I needed an alternate transport plan (his words, not mine) to get to work - then saying that it might in fact be flooded - then saying to get in as close as was safe, then walk the rest of the way. Then Monday morning, I got a call at 7.30am asking me to park in the town centre and walk - and bring wellies and be prepared to wade.

Then all Monday was spent furiously writing about flooding - with our deadlines moved forwards several hours in case the actual building flooded, we ended up with approximately three hours to finish the paper. And, thanks to the Environment Agency, we were facing dire predictions that the river right near where our offices are had not yet peaked and could well burst its banks, flooding the island.

But that didn't happen again, and we kind of stood down a little bit of the flooding front. Except just as we were leaving, the water suddenly started rising and coming over the banks. And now the late shift has been advised to leave the building (naturally, the electrics are in the floor so if it comes inside, we're all screwed). I have no idea what's actually going to happen tomorrow, I am told that I may be working from home and filing copy via e-mail, or they may be sending some of us to the district offices. It's all a trifle confusing - don't know whether I'm supposed to be worried or not because there have been a lot of predictions which haven't been fulfilled.

Oh, and the best news yet. My funky, trusty, Glastonbury-veteran wellies appear to have started leaking. Slightly. This is not good news.

More on that story later.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

I am an idiot

I must be. Why else would I have volunteered to cover an inquest on a day when I had to go to an evening meeting - therefore meaning I had to work a 12 hour shift?

Soooo tired. And, I suspect, not very comprehensible. Oh well.

I'm back in Oxford again, hurrah! And seem to be making up for it by working far too hard. I'm yet to leave work at a sensible hour. And yet, feeling much happier about life and work in general. Plus, today a top cop apparently told my boss I was doing a sterling job. Although unfortunately said cop just happens to be leaving his position in approximately two weeks.

There have been a few bike-related incidents recently that I should really catch the world up on. I was nearly flung into the path of a bus by two pedestrians the other day who failed to look and see if I was coming. They walked straight into me on my bike, I just about managed to keep my balance but if I had fallen, I would have been crushed by a bus. And then a few nights later, Curtains appeared at work having apparently been in a horrific fight. Turned out he had swerved to avoid a cat on his bike - and fallen off. I believe there may have been a certain amount of alcohol involved...

Am off to a ball tomorrow night. It's all very exciting - E came round and we had a girly dress trying on session. I still haven't entirely made up my mind what I'm going to go for. The theme is ratpack with a twist. Suggestions....?

Anyway, I may or may not be going for a drink with the increasingly unreliable Curtains tonight so I'd best go.

More on that story later.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

An eternity

I'm still in the districts. And still not happy. So far three different bosses have told me slightly apologetically (some more so than others) that I have to go to various district offices. Ironically not by the district news editor.

Looks like I'm going to be stuck in the current one for the rest of this week. It's not good. And I ended up staying extremely late last night because right at the end I was asked to book lots of pictures at very short notice - and I was nearly asked to stay for a meeting which started at 7.30pm but I threw a bit of a wobbly on that one as my mother had come to Oxford to see me (well, partly) and they had already pissed all over my plans to spend some mornings sightseeing as the district thing meant I wasn't doing late shifts anymore (around which the visit had been carefully planned).

This is getting a bit stream of consciousness here. I'm feeling a bit dopey and zoned out. North Ox district was extremely boring - South Ox is busy but unproductive and the company is lousy. Not a fan. But, so they remember I can actually do real stories, I tracked down a blinder on prostitution last week so it's not all bad.

More on that story later.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Sulks and grumps

I am not by nature a grumpy person. I would say I have a fairly sunny, easy-going disposition (although I do get perhaps a little confrontational after a few too many glasses of wine).

But today Frangelita is not a happy bunny. Oh no. I had a week's holiday after Glastonbury (much needed recuperation, did absolutely nothing apart from a little bit of random cycling, some reading, some sleeping, and a lot of cleaning mud out of inexplicable places).

Last Wednesday I got a message from one of my bosses telling me I would be covering for a district reporter at one of our weekly papers in North Oxfordshire for three days this week. I wasn't too happy, but hey, what you going to do.

So I've spent three mind-numbingly dull days in the town which is only famous for being in a quite frankly rubbish nurseryy rhyme, I've done my time, I've churned out a wide selection of not very inspiring stories and put up with the weirdest office in the world (it's got a computer on one desk then the phone is on a completely different desk on the other side of the room, what's that about?). I even guilt-tripped all the newsdesk into calling me, in tandem, this afternoon as I had muttered briefly to Curtains that I had spoken to no-one all week.

Got home and was instantly plunged into a good mood as HF had cooked me a delicious meal - a rare occurence indeed.

So I was sitting, reading the Radio Times (I am the only person I know that does this, but so what, I like the articles), when my phone rang. It was one of my bosses.

He started by thanking me effusively for my work this week, which to begin with was why I thought he called (he did after all phone me for absolutely no reason this afternoon other than to offer "pastoral support"). Then he said: "And because you've done such a good job, would you mind going to this other district office in South Oxfordshire for Thursday and Friday?"

Well, yes, actually. Three days in the most boring market town in Britain and I'm already losing my edge - I feel like if I have to deal with anything more challenging than a lost cat I just won't know what to do (joking, obviously). So the last thing I want is two more days in a bloody district office. And this one has the bonus of being full of old dirty men (the kind of reporters that they don't really make anymore who vanish for three hour liquid lunches).

But you can't really say no to your boss. And he promised me I'd be back in Oxford on Monday.

Well, I'd better be *mutters darkly to self, furrowing eyebrows in an attempt to look evil*

More on that story later

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