emspace thoughts

What's floating around in Em's brain today?

Friday, September 30, 2005

Chillin' in Cologne

It's past my bedtime, but my hair is still damp and I don't like blowdrying so whilst I'm waiting for it to dry, I'll fill in my blog readers about my trip to Germany.

Gotta say that this has been one of the most relaxing and refreshing trips I have had in a long time. Although we were only away for three days, we came back feeling like we had been away for a week. I think it was a mixture of the really chilled city of Cologne and the simplistic luxury of the Radisson SAS hotel where we stayed for the bargain price of £56 a night.

First thing we noticed about Cologne was how friendly, relaxed, respectful and patient the people there were. There was none of the usual pushing and shoving that we have come to expect from a big city and even on the busy roads, the cars let the pedestrians pass and the pedestrians waited patiently for the lights to change even when there were no cars coming. Everywhere you went, people just calmly went about their way and the most used words had to be "Enschuldigung" (excuse me), "Danke" (thank you) and "Bitte" (please/you're welcome).

The hotel was amazing! Architecturally solid, keeping in line with the German no-nonsense approach to engineering and tailored for business, with so many things that made it special, including free internet in the room, a 'help yourself to ice cubes' machine, a bed so comfortable that I was asleep within 5 minutes of crawling in, a super-strength-jet-power shower that made you feel like you were standing under a waterfall and a buffet breakfast array that could only be described as a veritable feast. There was even a chef on hand to make you an omelette the way you wanted it! With a tram stop right outside that took us straight into the town centre, the only thing that let us down was the the choice of channels on the TV, but hey you can't have everything and watching 'Infernal Affairs' in German was interesting to say the least - I never knew Kelly and Andy were so linguistically talented!

Another highlight of the trip was the Imhoff Stollwerke Chocolate Museum. Actually it was more of a trip around a mini Chocolate factory with a full working production line encased in perspex to show the public how the gooey brown stuff is made. Then there was the chocolate fountain, where a nice German lady dips wafers into warm runny chocolate to feed the masses. Mmmmm......... so nice!

The only rant that I have about the trip was that the Germans love their nicotine and smoked everywhere, even where they aren't supposed to. Three days of passive smoking has taken it's toll, but it was a small price to pay for such a great holiday. Maybe next time I'll take my own air supply with me.

Oh, one more mention is for the food. Germans (like the Chinese) love their meat, so
we enjoyed loads of nice meaty sausages of all different varieties (none of this fat and rusk stuff that the Brits called sausages) and got a decent steak for not very many Euros!

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Sore Arms......

In preparation for my new kitchen, my husband and I set about stripping all the 1970's vinyl off the walls today and after three hours of hacking at the horrible wallcoverings, it kinda dawned on us that our kitchen isn't quite as small as we had envisaged it to be. After another three hours of steam/strip/steam/strip and my shoulders have completely given up the ghost. I have no idea how I am still able to type this because my arms are aching so much. Maybe I should go and soak them in some hot water for a week or two.

Anyway, what I was going to blog about was my shopping trip yesterday. Having finally wangled a day off back for all the additional hours I have done and not been allowed to claim overtime for, I slept through the morning and then decided to venture out to Manchester without any particular aim. Normally when I am in this kind of mood, I'd easily spend £30 on nothing in particular without even thinking about it. OK, so I am too much of a screwbag to blow very much money, but yesterday I spent just over £10 and not a frivolous purchase in sight! I was thinking to myself when I was on the bus coming home with my three purchases (bathroom scales, kitchen scales and a ream of A4 paper), how long will the high street survive if people are changing their shopping habits. Since rediscovering Ebay, I have found that if there is something that can be posted, then you'll most likely find it on there for cheaper than in the shops. Failing that, there are so many mail order sites now for CD's, clothes, cosmetics, electronics etc etc all at a discount, so you now get more accustomed to your local Post Office depot than your local high street! In fact, the only things you need to go out and buy nowadays are those things that are too bulky or heavy to buy through the internet - hence explaining why I bought the things I did. Even then, the out-of-town shopping centres with their free car parks and handy McDonalds do well to cater for that. Oh, and I now buy my clothes from my local supermarket - £2 for a T-shirt.... can't go wrong!

Anyway, just wanted to put my thoughts down on 'paper' as it were. I'm just glad I got out of retail when I did, otherwise I'd be worrying......

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Been putting in some really long days lately and I wonder how long I can keep this up before I start burning out......... I think I need some time off, but when I looked at my diary and task list today and the 124 emails all demanding my attention, then I knew that I wasn't gonna be able to take leave any time soon.

Roll on 24th, when I can well and truly leave them to it. Woohoo!

I have a gruelling 2.5 hour strategy meeting tomorrow afternoon. Better get some sleep to prepare for it mentally if nothing else.