Witterings of Tangerinecath

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2006
OW THAT HURTS!!!!!!!
10:32 pm
The title is in anticipation of how I will feel some time in the next 10 days or so when

*drumroll*

I HAVE BEEN TO THE GYM

*trumpet fanfare*


I was back at the doctors on Tuesday, I really want to start coming off my medication in the hope that I will start feeling more awake. I mentioned to the doctor that I wanted to start exercising again as I am still slowly putting on weight and I am dreadfully unfit. My weight is really becoming an issue now, I'm starting to get to the point where I can't buy clothes in normal everyday shops and my boots don't fit up my legs. I weigh as much now as I did when I was 9 months pregnant - how scary is that!! It's also considerably more than I weighed when I last 'fessed up on here and enough for me not to want to admit out loud what the figure actually is. Lets just say that I am well into the obese section of the height/weight charts. *gasp*

Anyway, I was presented with an Exercise Prescription - an initiative which our local Primary Care Trust is running in conjunction with the council - where for the cost of a prescription I get a health assessment, a tailored exercise programme and 20 sessions at the gym. How good is that! I have my initial assessment a week on Sunday, and then there will be no stopping me :o).

All I have to do now is lay off the chocolate...

current mood: optimistic

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Monday, February 13th, 2006
Giochi Olimpici Invernale - Torino 2006
2:54 pm
This week I will mainly be watching men in skintight lycra bodysuits sliding down ice runs either on tea trays (feet first, or incomprehensibly, head first) or in what looks like a stretch dodgem car with skis on. I will also be rehearsing the route by waving my arms around in the manner of someone practicing driving a bobsleigh.

I wanna have a go, it looks like fun.

Maybe not the headfirst on a tea tray one though.

current mood: cold

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Sunday, February 12th, 2006
Another busy week
10:46 pm
It was my birthday on Friday and because The Yorkshireman was away on a week-long course with work I took a couple of days off and went visiting.

Boston - Sheffield - Blackpool - BostonCollapse )

current mood: happy

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Ooops...
9:24 pm
...'Twould appear that I totally buggered up the links in my last post. So you may have them again.

Kroy, was it you that sent me the text? I do wish you'd sign them when you use a free text messaging service, you tight bastard!!

Wheel of the Year

Video Footage

Hopefully they'll work this time.

current mood: embarrassed

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Sunday, February 5th, 2006
I've been very busy...
7:39 pm
... over the last few days, doing my Wheel of the Year pictures for Febuary. You'll find the results on my Flickr page, here. I've still got a couple to do, hopefully I'll get it all finished tomorrow, or at least before March!

I also accidentally discovered that my camera will take short film clips with sound, so here's the first of what will probably be many mini-film clips for you to look at, here.

Enjoy!

current mood: accomplished

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Monday, January 30th, 2006
Some good news...
10:30 pm
BabiesEverywhere & Deckchaire are going to have a baby in August so we have a new home for all the baby stuff lying around the house that we haven't really got room for. I'll leave it to my readers to decide which is the good news, the baby or the newly decluttered Tangerine Towers :oP

They came to see us at the weekend and went home with a cat net, a baby sling, a bath thermometer, a microwave steriliser, some sage advice (always point a newborn's bum away from you when changing a nappy - they can projectile poo, regurgitated milk REALLY smells BAD) and the promise of a load of other stuff that we need to get down from the attic.

I'm insanely excited and still in shock. They decided they wanted to tell me in person instead of by phone so when they arrived I was given a card which had a scan photo inside :o). I reckon it must have taken a good couple of minutes for my poor tiny brain to process what I was seeing! I haven't really stopped smiling about it yet. My new theory is that Jen was paying me back for surprising her on her birthday last year.

The bestest bestest news ever.

current mood: bouncy

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Thursday, January 26th, 2006
Morning has Broken
9:19 pm

Morning has Broken, originally uploaded by tangerinecath.

Sunrise over the fens near Holbeach in Lincolnshire... I was a couple of minutes late for work this morning as I had to pull over and take a picture of this gorgeous scene.

I ended up being even later than I might have been because once the sun had come over the clouds it was shining in through the windscreen and I couldn't see a bloody thing!

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The End....
8:45 pm
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who left me messages of support here, it's been such a pick-me-up to log in and get them, everyone's been amazingly supportive of me recently and I couldn't appreciate it more.

Yesterday I went along to see a solicitor to discuss taking my case for working from home to tribunal. He agreed to see me for half an hour for nowt, which was great as I can't afford solicitors' fees - I really am in the wrong job, those guys charge a fortune y'know! He took me through the Flexible Working for Parents legislation - a strangely short document which essentially says bugger all; the guidelines that the CAB and the DTI publish go into a lot more detail about how a company should refuse a request but unfortunately it would appear that these guidelines aren't backed up by the legislation itself...

*cue incredulous stares and gasps from tangerinecath*

Even the indirect sex discrimination claim would be decidedly dodgy as I would have difficulty putting together a strong enough case to win the money it would cost me to do it.

All in all, very deflating. I must have sagged lower and lower toward the ground as I trudged back to my car afterwards.

Oh well, at least I didn't get to work until 11am so it was a very short day in the office :oD

There's a very large part of me that's incredibly relieved. The possibility of having to go to court was looming over me like this huge work sized lead lump and was really stressing me out. I feel better for knowing that it isn't going to happen now.

I'm obviously now going to have to stick to full time hours in the office but I've agreed a sort of "banked hours" working structure which means that if I'm ever late or have to leave early I can make the time up on days when The Yorkshireman is able to do the nursery run.

All in all, not the outcome I was hoping for but now I feel like I have some energy back as the whole thing had almost sucked me dry of the will to live. I'm going to put all this new-found energy into making the most of the time I do have with my family, and maybe indulging in a bit of light blogging and going out with my camera and taking the odd photo or two.

I'm also going to bombard anyone who could possibly give me a job with my CV.

Employers of Boston beware... you're about to be Tangerine'd...

current mood: touched

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Monday, January 23rd, 2006
The Law's an Ass
9:51 pm
Sorry for not updating for a while, I've been a bit busy thinking of ways to screw over my employer.

I got a letter last week in response to my email, very short and not so sweet, saying that my application to work from home was still denied (STILL no reason given), but the company was willing to discuss any changes or reduction in hours that might help my situation. I would dearly love to work fewer hours but as they well know I can't afford it, and I'm limited to working office hours, Mon-Fri. The nature of The Yorkshireman's job means that he can't always guarantee he won't be halfway across the country when Little'un needs to be dropped off or collected, so it's down to me to make sure that I'm close enough to Boston to collect her and drop her off when he can't be.

Off I trotted to the CAB with the nasty letter in tow...

The good news - Their employment expert said that, as far as she was concerned, I had a good case against them and that they're being very unreasonable.

The bad news - unless I have a load of cash (which I don't) and am prepared to go to court (which scares me senseless) there isn't really much I can do. I could go to a Flexible Working Tribunal or an ACAS Tribunal but even if they find in my favour they can't make the company reverse their decision, they could only make me a small compensation award. The only way I can force them to change their mind would be to win a Sex Discrimination Employment Tribunal, which could get expensive and messy.

In the meantime I am legally in breach of contract if I don't work the hours I'm contracted to do (8.30 to 5, Monday to Friday, in the office) and if I don't do those hours then the company would be perfectly within their rights to take me through their internal disciplinary procedure and sack me. I could then perhaps claim unfair dismissal, but again, expensive and messy.

In short, even though I'm in the right, and the company have (in my view) acted illegally in not properly considering my request, they can still force me do do what they want as they know I'm too skint to do anything about it.

So they've won.

For now.

I'm off to see a solicitor on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of taking on my case on a no win, no fee basis :oD (AL - need to speak to you re this, call me or I'll email you xx)

I'm also off to see HD and the HR dragon sometime this week to discuss how I'm going to fit in working a 40 hour week in the office around Little'un's nursery opening times and The Yorkshireman's job meaning that he can't always be around to pick her up or drop her off so that I can work.

I'm also going to raise an official grievance against the company - it won't do me any good but I might as well take this as far as I can. If I end up going to tribunal then I need to have taken this step first anyway.

Stay tuned for the next installment...

current mood: weird

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Sunday, January 15th, 2006
Well I was right.....
8:49 am
The HR Department were completely unwilling to consider my appeal. I went to a meeting with HD and the HR Dragon on Thursday morning to be told that my appeal had been rejected on the grounds that I do not have the right to request to work from home, because the Flexible Working Regulations only apply to changes in hours and not to any other working criteria. Now this is utter, utter bollocks; I have researched my rights very carefully indeed and taken advice from people who know what they're talking about so that I could make sure that I wasn't doing anything I wasn't entitled to do.

Unfortunately the meeting descended rather quickly into a "You don't have the right to ask", "Erm, I think you'll find that I do", "No you don't!", "Yes I do", "No you don't", sort of a slanging match. I was advised that the only way to resolve my problem would be to cut my hours (not possible, can't afford it, would have done it long ago if I could) or to move Little'un to a nursery near work so that I could spend more time with her as she'd be with me on my journey to work. This last one utterly enraged me, there is NO WAY that I would subject Little'un to up to two hours a day in the car and she's settled and happy where she is.

When I said that they were backing me into a corner, as they weren't giving me any options that I could actually work with, I was told that I was going to have to compromise somewhere. Unfortunately it would seem that I'm expected to do all the compromising.

Needless to say I was really angry and upset when I came out of the meeting. I KNOW I'm right on this one, and I WILL NOT be told that I'm not. So I sat down and wrote a little email....

Here it isCollapse )

This was sent on Thursday Lunchtime and I haven't heard anything back yet. I rather suspect I may be asked to collect my P45 by the end of next week ;o) !!!!

current mood: angry

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Thursday, January 5th, 2006
Appeal
9:03 pm
Today I have submitted my appeal against the Flexible Working application rejection. It goes something like this:

Dear *heartles bastards with black holes where your souls should be*,

Re: Refusal of Application for Flexible Working

Following your response to my application for Flexible Working, I am writing to appeal against the decision not to allow me to work from home two days a week.

I do not feel that the company has given adequate business reasons for the refusal of my application. The DTI’s guidelines state that an application can be refused only where there is a clear business reason. The business grounds for refusing an application must be from one of those listed below:
- Burden of additional costs.
- Detrimental effect on ability to meet customer demand.
- Inability to organise work among existing staff.
- Inability to recruit additional staff.
- Detrimental impact on quality.
- Detrimental impact on performance.
- Insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work.
- Planned structural changes.

I do not feel that my working from home for two days a week as proposed can be denied under any of these criteria. I have already been supplied with a laptop and have installed a router and have a broadband connection at home at my own expense. As stated in my original application, provision of a mobile phone will guarantee my availability to both customers and colleagues at all times, however the cost to the company would be minimal, as I do not make many calls myself. I would be prepared to supply a handset that I no longer use if the company could provide a SIM card. As it is, most of my communication with customers is by email and I already have access to my email account at home.

I enclose the relevant section of the DTI’s guidelines for your reference.

Yours blah blah

*Pissed Off of Tangerine Towers*

*names have been changed to protect privacy.




I don't think for a moment that they will consider this properly and I fully expect to be turned down again, but I have to go through the proper processes.

I went to see an expert in employment issues at the CAB today, a very kind and helpful lady who seemed to know what she was talking about. She said that she couldn't understand why the company are being so pig-headed :o) and that if my appeal is dismissed I have the following choices:

1. Accept the decision and learn to live with it, even if only for as long as it takes to find another job. If I do this but can't work the hours that I've been told to, there is a chance that the company could take me through their disciplinary procedure and eventually sack me on the grounds of attendance, however I may have a good case for unfair dismissal if they do.

2. If the company are prepared to do so, I can take the case to ACAS for arbitration. ACAS won't be able to reverse the decision, however if they feel I've been unfairly dealt with they can make me an award of anything up to about £2,000. ACAS arbitration is confidential and no one other than myself, the arbitrator and the company need know anything about it so I wouldn't have to declare it on any future job applications etc.

3. Take the company to an employment tribunal, they would be forced to attend but otherwise the procedure and outcome is the same as for ACAS arbitration. This would be a public hearing so there is no way of keeping it confidential, and given the way that HR departments in the food industry around here gossip between themselves, there is a chance that I could be branded a troublemaker and struggle to get another job.

4. Go through the company's internal greivance procedure and see whether that gives me any better results (it wouldn't!).

5. Sue on the grounds Sex Discrimination. According to a published article by a well respected equal rights lawyer, as it is generally mothers who take the most responsibility for child care, any company policy that prevents a woman from working around her childcare needs could be deemed to be sex discrimination. I would have to take legal advice for this and employ a solicitor to represent me, which would cost money that I simply don't have. Before I could go ahead with this I would have to go through the company's internal greivance procedure as above.

6. Leave under my own steam and claim constructive dismissal. I've been advised not to do this as I'd have a better case if I was sacked and claimed unfair dismissal.



I have a bit of thinking to do, but at the moment I'm inclined to stick it out for as long as it takes me to find another job, and if my appeal is rejected then I may seriously consider going trying to go down the ACAS arbitration route. At least that way I'll have a chance of leaving with a few extra £££££'s in my hand!

current mood: determined

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Monday, January 2nd, 2006
Happy New Year!
1:31 pm
Happy New Year to all of you. I hope 2006 brings you everything you want from it. I hope 2006 either brings me either a lottery win or a nice new job.

Had fun yesterday driving round at various times of day taking photos for the Wheel of the Year project. Got a bit wet when the rains came though!

I'm having a bit of trouble sorting out the focus on my new camera - it has 5.0 megapixels as opposed to the 3.2 that The Yorkshireman's camera has but the photos don't seem to be as sharp. No doubt by February I'll have it sorted. Nevertheless I'm proud of my results, I'm new to photography other than the point and shoot family snaps type thang and I think that bearing this in mind they came out quite well.

Come and have a look!

The more observant amongst you will notice that the subjects aren't quite what I listed a couple of days ago. Once I was snapping away I noticed that some things worked better than others and that there were a few views that I hadn't considered until I was driving around. In the end I took about 60 shots of about 20 subjects and picked out the best ones. Let me know what you think.

current mood: accomplished

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Saturday, December 31st, 2005
Wheel of the Year Photo Project
9:56 am
As of tomorrow I'm taking part in Pewari's Wheel of the Year Photo Project - in a nutshell I choose 12 themes that I photograph on the first day of every month next year, and by the 1st December 2006 I will have a record of changes throughout the year.

I'm really looking forward to taking part, not least because my life is very work/family/home oriented at the moment and I don't really have anything that I do purely for myself. This is something just for me, apart from inflicting the results of my amateurishness on the internet at large of course! I have even spent some of my Christmas loot on a new toy that has extra megapixies to draw even better pictures.

I will be posting the fruits of my labours to my Flickr account - here - so make sure you pop by and have a look. I post more pictures here than I do to my blog anyway so feel free to have a look any time. Each month I'll post a link so you can keep up with my progress.

My 12 subjects are hereCollapse )

Anyone else fancy having a go? I know I should have given you more notice - sorry!

current mood: excited

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Thursday, December 29th, 2005
Mr. Frosty is a Blackpool fan!
6:14 pm

<a

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Snow!
6:13 pm


Little'un loved the snow, but only for a few minutes - as soon as her nose and hands got cold she got fed up so I had to build a snowman on my own :o(

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Festive Cheer
5:24 pm
I think I ought to apologise for my last post before Christmas being such a negative one - I honestly meant to post something a little more festive and upbeat before Christmas Day but time ran away with me and I didn't get round to it.

I hope you all had a great Christmas, everyone I've seen/spoken to/read blogs sounds like they had a great time.

A Tangerine Christmas appears hereCollapse )

current mood: awake

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Friday, December 23rd, 2005
And a Happy F**king Christmas to you too.
1:51 pm
Well I've had a response to my application to work from home...

Blah blah "...regret we cannot agree to your request..." blah blah "...purely a short term measure to help you through a difficult period..." blah blah "...happy to discuss any alternative proposals..."

Pretty much what I was expecting really, and in a way the response is good as they have not given me what I would consider to be clear business reasons to refuse my request (which legally they must do), so I feel I have excellent grounds for appeal.

I now have 14 days in which to lodge my appeal, so I will be taking advice over the next week or so from the CAB and ACAS and I will be submitting it when I go back to work in January.

Tune in next time for the latest installment...

current mood: pissed off

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Wednesday, December 21st, 2005
Nursery Christmas Production
8:01 pm

Little'un was a bit expensive.

In fact she was a little (rein) deer.

Sorry.

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Tuesday, December 20th, 2005
I hate cars. Like, I REALLY hate cars.
9:38 pm
We're all fully on the mend now, thanks very much for all your good wishes.

Went to work as normal yesterday, but had a bit of a nightmare getting home - there was an accident that I got stuck in a traffic jam behind and after I had barely moved for about 1/2 hour I had to switch the engine off as I was getting a bit low on diesel. I thought I was being really clever and forward thinking by not letting myself run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere, but oh no, Calamity strikes again...

My little car is a diesel car with glow plugs, and if you sit in it without the engine running but with the key in the ignition trying to find a traffic report on the radio then the glow plugs charge up every so often and drain the battery. This results in an inevitable call to the nice breakdown people to ask them to find you and jump start your car.

Must remember to put some sensible shoes in the boot, trying to push a dead car off the road in silly pointy office shoes is not my favourite way of spending an evening. In the middle of the countryside. In the dark. It was bloody freezing too.

Oh yeah, and The Yorkshireman's car failed it's MOT on Saturday, and has cost us £240 to put right.

Gah.

current mood: annoyed

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Monday, December 19th, 2005
My Christmas Angel
2:03 pm


Little'un on her way to a Christmas Party. She loved the dancing and the Pass the Parcel, but it would appear that she has a morbid fear of Father Christmas - she screamed blue murder when he tried to give her a present and refused to go anywhere near him!

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