Saturday, 28 February 2009

Kinetic Logistics

Do you remember a while ago that we decided to get another Luton van for Becks? view van blog

Well we did, but in the meantime, Becks decided that she wanted to modernise all the corporate branding for Kinetic Logistics because she is an arty type. She she beavered away on a new logo design, new colours and new livery for the vans.

Yesterday, I managed to get a photograph of one of the vans with the 'NEW!' exclusive logo and livery, thus unveiling Beckys artistic handiwork. So what do you think then? Has the girl done well?

This is a van before it had the livery done:

This is the same van once all the new stickers and logos had been put on the side.

Behind the new van, we parked another that still has the old logo on the side so that you can compare the two. Unfortunately Phil ran in front of the camera just as I took the photograph. I decided to still include the picture because Phil's eyes are half closed and he looks dopey.

But being thoughtful, like I am, I took another photograph without Phil so that you could do a proper comparison. I think the new logo looks FAB myself. Well done Becks, you swot.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Gadgets and interviews

Today, I became a victim (yet again) of one of my obsessions - gadgets. Refraint becomes virtually impossible when I spy things that do 'stuff'. It happens like this: I see one of the (usually shiney) gadgety things and a grey wobbly mist descends over my brain, my knees get a bit shakey, then I PURCHASE. Pathetic really!

This particular saga commenced a while ago when I was reading in bed one night, and thought "ooh, it would be quite nice to be listening to Classic FM as well, and a nice Alba clock-radio would do the trick." An added bonus would be a proper alarm clock instead of using my mobile phone. Note to self: buy clock-radio post-haste tomorrow.
So the next morning, I did a little online 'scouting around' and I must admit, that I wasn't too impressed with the Alba reviews:

Gadget Speak Alba Clock Radio Review

My conclusion was that I needed to spend a tad more than £39.99 to get a slightly better unit that didn't pack up within 14 months. An hour later, I had found the perfect piece, made my purchase, and then promptly forgot about the whole thing........... until this morning ........... when I arrived at work and spotted Juan trying to get a box the size of a small fridge-freezer upstairs to the offices. "What the blazes are you doing you scamp?" I shouted at him.

"Trying to get a box addressed to you up the stairs" he shouted back. I quickly became aware of the fact that he was blocking the main entry staircase so I shouted "well hurry up then!" and he panted slightly and possibly even broke into a light sweat.

Then I saw the box!!!! AAAAAHHH! It was the alternative unit to the Alba clock radio that I had selected because it seemed to perform better and last longer. Either way, I got so excited that I was nearly sick, and Becks called me 'well sad'.

Good sign number 1 - it had DENON emblazoned all over the box. Even better, it had Denon S302 Home Theatre System just underneath that. Hang on, let me regain composure - I am feeling all hyper about this gadget............ It was eventually unpacked, and look! the sub-woofer has a halo it is that good (pic above)!

Hazel is our accountant and she sits opposite the desk where I unpacked my new S302 Denon. But you know accountants - they are all sensible and don't appreciate gadgets. I desperately tried to enthuse her about my new kit, but she just looked at me disparagingly and carried on with our VAT return.

It was at that point that I remembered I had an interview with Dan Pimlott from the Financial Times. DARN IT - that meant I couldn't play with my gadget! A call duly came in, and I had an hour long interview about the effect of the credit crunch on stock levels.

Anyway....... it is Friday, Phil and Becks have just gone off on holiday with a bunch of psychotic snowboarding lunatics. Juan and I left work early.... and it is weekend! Have a good one x

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The Zoolander!

Steve (one of Phil's snowboarding mates) visited Baumhaus today because a job he was on finished early. It's always good when Steve visits because (1) he generally brings doughnuts; (2) he helps out with jobs on the shopfloor; (3) he isn't averse to wearing a shower cap for no apparent reason.

Anyway, today I tested him on his knowledge of the 'Zoolander' camera pose. This pose has been perfected by all the Baumhaus employees and is based on the film: Zoolander

"Steve!" I shouted, "throw me a Zoolander!" He looked at me blankly and said "what are you on about?"

"How long have you known Phil, and you don't know what a 'Zoolander' is?" I asked incredulously. He was still looking at me as though I had gone mad, and then leaned over to Phil and whispered "what on earth is a blinking Zoolander?"

Phil paused slightly, licked his fingers and straightened his quiff....... and pulled a perfect Zoolander without saying a word. Cool or what?

Steve - you have a lot to learn. You need watch the film, perfect the look in front of a mirror and then come back when I will test your newly acquired, and highly useful skills.

Doughnuts and pickled rabbit

Today I got a bit worried that Baumhaus employees were starting to look peaky and emaciated, because virtually everyone who visited, brought a bag of lardy food with them. In particular, we had a real surge on doughnuts.

Bag 1 arrived with Steve (a snowboarder mate of Phil's - who visits here quite a lot - HELLOOO Steve!). He came to Baumhaus for the day because the job he was on finished early.

Bag 2 arrived later on with Kelvin who hails from DHL next door. Ummmmm. Yum.

The only problem with all this food is that it caused me a right dilemma. Obviously, I don't want Baumhaus staff upsetting customers with their consumptive pallor - but on the other hand, I don't want people stopping work to eat doughnuts because it plays havoc with my productivity figures.

Hang on, I think I have solved the problem. How would you like a doughnut? Here you go - take a bite!

After spending an hour or so wrestling anyone to the ground who tried to gain access to a doughnut, I went back to editing the photographs that I took yesterday, and there are hundreds of the suckers. Thankfully, Becks and Hazel also took time out to help me with the photos, and spent the afternoon in the photo studio to help reduce the backlog. Yippee - thanks gals! you are superstars!

CAUTION - VEGETARIANS! please do not proceed beyond this point to avoid distress

An hour later (on my way back to the doughnut bag in the canteen for a quick snifter), I was walking past Juan's desk when I spotted something that made me worry he was turning into a mentalist. It was a large jar of something 'funny looking', and was labelled up all foreign, so I asked him;

"what the bloody hell is that in that jar, you weirdo?"

"it's my dinner" he replied

"look, I can see that it approximates something edible, but what exactly is it?" I asked again.

"it's pickled rabbit" he asided, and carried on typing an email.

"You are bloody joking! That is totally minging. Are you are off your nut!" I retorted eloquently.

He appeared singularly unconcerned as I picked up the jar to examine it more closely, because I couldn't quite believe what I had just heard. It was unbelievable! A whole bloody rabbit, including guts, intestines and paws had been pickled and crammed into a jar. I even bet that its nose was in there - that's how bad it was.

Then I had another thought............

"Juan, where exactly does one go if they wish to purchase a pickled rabbit for their dinner?"

"Hazel brought it in for me" he said.

Bloody hell, this goes from bad to worse. Not only are Baumhaus employees eating whole pickled rabbits, but other employees seem to have a ready supply of them.

Crikey where does it go from here?

Squirrels of Oxford!! Be afraid! be VERY afraid!!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

New customer visit

Ooh, I forgot another really good thing that happened today. We had some lovely customers visit us (called Mick and Kate - HELLOOOOO!!). There is only one problem - I am really jealous of their blinged-up SUV, complete with blacked out windows! fabulous!!

Phil took them on a tour of the photo-studio where I was working today, and I took a picture of their legs (I hope that doesn't make me an oddball).

Unfortunately we can't give you any more information than that because we have a confidentiality policy, but I can say that they were a good laugh, and proper distracted me from my photographs (a good thing!).

Ho hummm....... that'll be me back to the photographing then...........

Photo studio city

It's Tuesday, and Phil made it pretty clear that the only thing that I am allowed to work on is getting the new white painted range of furniture up and running - it's a fair cop guv! The pieces have been in the warehouse for a number of weeks now, and normally we try and get them to market within 5 days. Oops...... my new nickname is Bottleneck (not through lack of effort though - I was working on the sofas for the last hundred years).

Looking at the scale of the backlog it became pretty clear that I was probably going to be spending the rest of my life (with no chance of parole) in the photo studio trying to take approximately a 100 million photographs. So it was with a heavy heart, that I got the first piece (a bookcase) all set up, dressed and lit properly.

And then do you know what happened? the pictures started to fly out - I was just like David Bailey but without the beard! It was one of those days where everything just clicked into place first time. By 11am I even had 3 full roomset shoots completed, so I nipped out to get a Scotch Egg from the fridge to celebrate. I returned to find Juan lounging around on the sofa in the roomset for comedy value, the young scamp.

He seemed to find it highly amusing, so I threw a roughly-hewn configuration of dried flowers at him and told him to "SHOO, you ruffian".

I continued photographing for my life, and was so pleased with the results, that I decided to go to the fridge and treat myself again, this time to a party sausage and secondary scotch egg. Upon my return, I found both Hazel and Juan lying on the sofa, laughing their heads off and well amused that they had hijacked the photo studio.

Is it me?! Is there anywhere you can recruit 'normal' people. You know what I mean - Gals who come to work in pencil skirts and low heels who only ever say the word 'yes', and chaps who wear tank tops and trousers with front-creases, and don't speak at all?!! Ha ha! They are cheeky chaplets, make no mistake.

P.S. I am back at home now and the ceiling is still dripping...... ummmm hope it doesn't fall in. That would be a bit annoying.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Monday again? They seem to happen a lot

Back in Oxford again, and it was right old bloody Monday mayhem today - you know the ones - where it is all bitty and a hundred different things are happening at once. Plus, I have no photos for you because my 'photo folder' has disappeared off my desktop with all the blog pictures in it. How can that happen? Did my wi-fi connection accidentally leak them into the air? How do I get them back? As you can probably guess, I am hardly Bill Gates when it comes to computers.

Anyway, here is an update on the stuff that happened today at the warehouse:

Well firstly, I was pretty impressed with the feedback on our new sofa range - thanks chaps! I only released the details on Friday, and today the phones went all hot and buzzy with people ringing up asking about them, and being all enthusiastic. Trouble is, even though they should sell well, they are horrible to get up and running on a website because of the number of variations (colours, with or without sofa bed, 3 seater, 2 seater, you get the picture). But don't give up, It will be worth it in the end! Plus you can't have me doing all that work for nothing - I nearly got a headache I worked that hard getting the sofa range going.

Secondly - Hazel is back after being away for a week on school holidays. Hurray! Given that she has spent the last week looking after children, she seemed remarkably back on form when she arrived, and did a number of 'dry' (but very Hazel) gags which made me laugh my head off. Then, in the afternoon, she looked all miserable, so I did my 'caring boss' routine; "what's up with you face-ache?" I said. She said that she had to submit our VAT return. That, I must admit would not be floating my boat, but she is an accountant - I thought they were supposed to like weird stuff like that.

Thirdly, as you may (or may not) know, Phil and Becks are mad, keen, and fast snowboarders (Becks has been sponsored by Solomon in the past, and yes she is a proper loon). Next week, they are joining a group of similarly suicidal crazy people, in the bizarre pastime of strapping ironing boards to their feet so that they can hurl themselves down mountains. That means that I am covering both Operations and Logistics in their absence (with Juan's help of course), so I have to do a handover this week. But don't worry, I might look all airy fairy, but I shall endeavour to ensure that the cogs of industry are well oiled, and turn around properly...... like well oiled things..... which are really smooth..........honest......... don't worry!

Anyway, I am off. Tomorrow (now that the sofas are up and running), and I turning my attention onto our new white painted range. That probably means that most of my week will be spent in the photo studio. Which also means, that if I have a camera in my hand, I will be taking loads of pics for the blog to compensate for all the lost ones. See you tomorrow!

P.S. I have got a leak in my Oxford kitchen which is coming from the ceiling. A drip lands on the wooden floor every 5-10 seconds and it is driving me bonkers. It is like Chinese water torture, even though I am not sure what that entails exactly. It must be pretty annoying though.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

House in London anyone?

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago, when I said that I had found a new house in Oxford -you know - that little cottagey one with the woodburning stove. Well, about that time, I decided to be sensible (yes sirrrreee I did - and I have just taken a sweeping bow) and made the decision to rent out my house in London.

So I enlisted the help of Jill; a well-coiffed, high-heeled estate agent, with red lipstick and a big fluffy coat (a bit like a glamorous Emu in fact). She came round to value my house, and declared that she would, quote: "be able to let it with no problem dahlink, I specialise in Crown Estates". Note to self: if she is that good, try and get Naughty George the dog thrown in on the deal.

Anyway, I promptly forgot about the whole thing until Jill rang me last Thursday saying that she had leased my house to a corporate banker (it's probably his bonus funding the deposit - ha ha! spot the topical joke!) and his partner, and that they wanted to move in on 14th March. As you can probably imagine, I instantly, and unequivocally regretted being sensible because I realised how much work being sensible involves because ........ the person letting the house wants it............ unfurnished.......... as in every room and outbuilding totally empty. Eek.

That kind of made me take stock about the amount of stuff I have to move. Including - a forgotten renovation project - see pics below - that has been sat in my garage for the last x years. (and that is before I even start on the shed etc..... where I have been shoving 'antique renovations' for lordy knows how long).

Secret Squirrel Renovation Picture No. 1

Secret Squirrel Renovation Picture Number 2

Can anyone guess what the car is though in terms of make AND model? I may considering raising a £10 credit note for the winning guesser!! Clue number 1 - look at the boot. Clue number 2 - the car sounds like a throaty demon when the pistons aren't playing up (think TVR Chimera to get an accurate sound-check).

After realising that I had a lot of stuff to move, I started to reflect upon all the things I would miss about my London house. To stop you getting bored, I decided I would narrow it down to the two things I would miss most and they are:

No. 1. My Supersonic full-length Jacuzzi AND Spa Bath, with multi-coloured underwater lights and waterproof TV built into the wall (and Ni-Cam surround speakers in the roof). WOOF!

But guess what the shock Number 2 thing is? Ha ha! I bet you don't get it...... keep thinking......... nearly there, and it is a lot simpler than you suspect............

No 2. Most missed thing about London - Domino's pizza deliveries.

The suckers don't deliver to my new cottage in Oxford! It's like being a caveman, except worse. Cavemen only used to eat spear-kill so never knew what they missed out on, but I have only eaten 'hot and spicy' pizzas for the last 6 years, and now they are being taken away forever. I understand what the word bereft means now.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Is it weekend yet?

It was like a ghost town today at Baumhaus, both in the offices and on the shopfloor. Everyone seemed to be out doing something - Hazel (half-term holiday), Becks (delivering), Steve (delivering), Kelvin (delivering), Martin (delivering) and that isn't even taking into account the other chaps.

That meant that it was just Joe, Phil and myself rattling around in the 23,000 sq ft warehouse all day long. Being insular and low in numbers, we began to turn in on ourselves, a bit like Lord of the Flies. A psychological power struggle ensued, with Joe and Phil trying to take control of the warehouse by limiting my access to fresh water. Unfortunately, they had forgotten that the Banjo's Sandwich van came at 9.45am, so I was able to stock up on Sprite. Realising their error, they quickly relinquished control, and harmony reigned once more.

Thankfully, from that point onwards, it was pretty quiet (except for Graeme, one of our lovely customers ringing me up and taking the mick!! - you know who you are - OOOH yes you dooo!).

And then as quickly as the day had started...... it descended into the 'Friday Afternoon Clean-up'. Juan decided to take pictures of me cleaning diligently and not posing at all (I am, quite simply, a natural Mrs Mop).

Anyway, I am wiped out after all that new sofa range, so I drove down to London and decided to treat myself to a Dominos Pizza - You have a great weekend!

P.S. Juan has been asking me to view his bedroom in Oxford for the last couple of weeks, because he as been working on the interior design. I will try and get some shots for you so that you can have a look.

P.P.S Did you spot the orb on my t-shirt? EEEK. I am like Yvette Fielding.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

New sofa range - sneaky preview

Look! a world exclusive for the Baumhaus blog visitors! A sneaky preview of the new sofa range that I have been working on for the last million years. The designs have been finalised, the specification firmed up, the photographs done, and they are finally on the website and ready to go. WEHAY! And that leaves me free to go and work on the new white painted furniture that has come in. I feel like a prisoner who has been released after 30 years of wrongful imprisonment.

Anyway, let me introduce our new sofas before I make the final break and clear the perimeter fence.

Sofa Range 1 - the Wentworth
If you are a wallflower, forget the Wentworth. The Wentworth says 'I am big, I am bold, I am fearless, and I am not scared of stripey fabrics'. Hollywood stars like Sir Alan Sugar and Ruby Wax tend to favour this design.

Sofa Range 2 - The Richmond

The Richmond sofa always ends up gracing large interior-designed Victorian homes in affluent areas of London. Everyone who buys the Richmond works for the BBC, and children called Tarquin can often be found lounging on the sofa watching Bob the Builder DVDs.

Sofa Range 3 - the Madison

Everyone who buys the Madison lives in a trendy New York style loft apartment, with exposed brick walls and open plan kitchens. They also all work in the city, eat suchi for lunch and sip skinny lattes during break times.

Sofa Range 4 - the Langham

A classic sofa for those who appreciate timeless, solid designs. Nearly everyone who buys the Langham is a Bank Manager or Watch Maker, but with a twist (e.g. they wear a brightly coloured waistcoat under their suit jackets, or patterned socks)

Sofa Range 5 - The Fairmont

This sofa was designed for all those people who live in Chocolate Box cottages - like Miss Marple. It is available in a choice of timeless, floral fabrics and looks fantastic next to an open fireplace, in which marshmallows are being toasted.

Sofa Range 6 - The Chatsworth

The classic lines of the Chatsworth make it a firm favourite with landed gentry, and rich people in general who are refitting their Stately Homes. Laura Ashley do a similar one, but ours is better.

Sofa Range 7 - the Carrington

The lively, bold designs of the Carrington make it a popular choice with circus performers and Children's TV presenters. The large floral print means it is up-to-the-minute trendy, and Kate Moss will also probably buy one.

Sofa Range 8 - the Calypso

Dark and strong, just like the 'Milk Tray' man. The Calpyso is often the favoured choice of Secret Service agents and Interpol.

Sofa Range 9 - the Cadira

One for the ladies. For some reason, this design is hugely popular among female buyers (but don't let this put you off gents - a sofa which attracts ladies is a good thing). The design is just crying out for you to 'take the phone off the hook, get a box of chocolates, curl up on it and watch your favourite DVD'. A truly scrumptious sofa.

Sofa Range 10 - the Attica

A strong, angular design often favoured by body builders, and interior designers. The low wide design is perfect for funking up any living space, and the wooden feet look bloody good.

Sofa Range 11 - the Abingdon

A clean and fresh design, perfect for people who like eating salad, and washing their hair under waterfalls (like the Timotei advert)
Well, I hope you like our new range. Getting it up and running has certainly been a bit of a slog, but I look forward to hearing what you think of the designs!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Fish and Chips Tuesday

After unloading the container, everyone looked like they were wasting away, so I sent Phil out (post haste!) with my debit card to go and buy 'lots of carbohydrates, with lots of taste, and don't spare the fat content'.

Being a northerner, Phil performed admirably in the carbohydrate challenge. That's probably because the northern diet habitually consitutes 95% carbohydrates (I remember Phil fondly recounting a story about his friend Anthony, whose favourite snack was pie sandwiches).

Back to Phil - he managed to find his way to 'Posh Fish' in Headington, which is apparently the best fish and chip shop in Oxford, according to Kelvin who works next door at DHL.

It was fanstastic! A veritable feast crammed into two carrier bags which we eagerly unpacked, shouting "lashings of carbohydrates anyone?" We all had a serving of fish or sausage, chips, curry sauce, and a bread roll each. Not only that, a single serving was bigger than my head.

Could I just draw attention to Phil in the picture above though. We ran out of plates, so he decided to eat his food out of a pyrex bowl like a dog. He doesn't seem to have put Becky off her chip roll though.

We are LOVING oxford we are. We have been here for 4 months now...... and it is grrrreatttt.

Our customers keep selling stuff!

I woke up early today for some reason (probably over-excited about working on the new sofa range again uh hummmm), and with horror, realised for the first time that there are TWO seven o'clocks in a day! Why did nobody tell me this before? It turned my morning from a two-cup-of-tea'er to a three-cup-of-tea'er, so much so that I was hyperactive when I got to work (still late mind you).

Pic No. 1 - Phil and Felicity the Forklift Truck unloading Colin the Container

It was probably a good job that I was all 'caffeine excitable', because the first thing that happened when I stepped over the threshold, was that our shipping line rang (the lurverly Chris Davies to be precise!), and he told us that we had ANOTHER container of oak furniture arriving at lunchtime. BAD CHRIS - he drives his ships around the world far too quickly, that one!

To give you a bit of background about why we seem to spend our entire life unloading containers at the moment - during the Christmas period our stocks got pillaged because we under-estimated how good our lovely customers were at selling furniture (what with the credit crunch and all - everything was supposed to go downhill!). As a result, post-Christmas we had to increase our investment in containers (by about £40,000+ a month), to replenish our stock levels.

Pic No. 2 - Juan and the best feeling ever - seeing the back of a once-full container

But blow me down, this must be our 6th container in two weeks, and it is still being sold faster than we are ordering it! So now we have had to invest in another 'booster' container which only has three of our fastest moving product lines. CALM DOWN CUSTOMERS - we are supposed to be in a recession ;-) !!

Pic No. 3 - Umm.... Stocks are increasing in the warehouse

Anyway...... another container in, another container nearly completely sold and it looks like we are going to have to plough yet more money into more stock. I have already had to cut back on Naughty George's food and my wild bird seed but please don't feel guilty!!

Monday, 16 February 2009

The credit crunch hits first-hand

It was a bit of a weird start to the day today. I drove the 10 minutes from my apartment to the warehouse listening to Radio 4 as usual. Then I as I got closer to work, I noticed that the road was swarming with big vans with satellite dishes on top (you couldn't actually NOT notice). There were reporters all over the place, lit up with bright lights on booms, and talking quickly into big microphones.

Just as I was wondering 'what the heck.....?', the 9 am Radio 4 news came on; "BMW have confirmed that they have sacked 850 workers from their plant in Cowley, Oxford."

We are based right next door to the BMW plant - in fact everyone at Baumhaus has to drive past BMW everyday to get in the front door.

Given that it was only December when Mini posted increases of 16% in their annual profits, the latest news was a bit of a shock.

On top of that, it has been confirmed that the recession in Britain is likely to be twice as deep as initially anticipated with a 3.3.% decline in GDP over the next year.

Blimey............... just off to don my tin hat and dig out a trench!

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Let's pretend it is not Sunday!

I got back to Oxford at 5pm, and then had to hot-foot it to the warehouse to meet the chaps from the squadron (who had worked overtime all weekend trying to finish off the sofas).

They were all there (including an extra one called Steve Steward, who is a friend and had been helping out by fixing our security lights -Awwww thanks Steve!). Now we can run out of the warehouse really quickly in the dark without falling down the stairs, should we choose to that is.

Aside from that, we have recently developed a new theory based upon the fact that the weekend seems longer if you go out for a meal on Sunday night. I am not sure what the rationale is behind this (does a prison sentence seem longer if you undertake occupational training for example?), but it is a good excuse to go out, and as such, you will find no complaints from my corner - Noooo sirrrrrreeee. Eating out is my nirvana, for the simple reason that I view kitchens only as a back-up in the event that Domino's Pizza refuse to deliver. Other than that, their only use is providing a sink to wash the dog's paws when he has run through mud.

Anyway, I digress - we all decided that we were going to go to a restaurant that Becky had chosen in the Summertown area of Oxford - purely for the reason that we could blame her if it was horrible.

It was located down a really small side street with lots of other quaint restaurants, and was listed as a French restaurant. Yummy - snails and horse on toast, my favourite. "Gacon! Un Dobbin pain grille Monsieur!" Virtually fluent I am.
As we perused the menu, we soon came to the collective decision that the food was a little unusual for a French restaurant, in that it consisted solely of pizza, pasta and paninis.
Despite this, the food was scrumptious, as Becks tried to appreciatively demonstrate with her 'pizza and open mouth' photo. I had a spicy chicken pizza with jalapenos, but everyone else ordered meatballs and tagliatelli, the boring gits.
Just after the main course, I took a quick 'zoolander' shot of the chaps at the table (above), and then we were straight onto the desserts. The odd thing was that the desserts went from Italian, back to being French again, given that they primarily consisted of crepes.
I must admit that at £6.75 per dessert, the price did seem a little steep - until they arrived at the table that is. WOW! crepes piled high with bananas, toffee sauce, cream etc. You name it, it was on there. We would have received a life ban from weightwatchers if they had witnessed our indulgence.
All in all a good night - top tip Becky!

Now there is dedication for you!

Well, can you believe it? I jumped onto my laptop to try and find an electrician to install my new dimmer switch. As always, the Baumhaus page appeared because it is set as my homepage, and lo and behold - look what I spotted on the webcam! everyone was in work........ on a Sunday no less!

Immediately suspicious, I rang the office shouting "what are you all doing in work? Are you all after a promotion or something?!"

It transpires that they were all so excited about the huge push we had on getting the sofas launched, that they all popped in to finish off the technical mapping (something to do with the checkout on the website in case you were wandering!). What a bunch of stars! The only problem is, it means that the only thing standing in the way of the final launch is all my tasks. No pressure then......

Must dash, I am supposed to be driving back to Oxford in half an hour to meet the chaps for dinner, where I shall berate them on their eagerness!

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Friday afternoon clean-up - groan!

Sorry this post is a bit late. I wrote it and then forgot to publish it because I am like that. As a result I have reclassifed myself from Genus Homosapien (bipedal primate), to Genus 'Doughnut' (insensate circular mass). It is a bit worrying because I am sure that Genus Doughnut was the driving force behind the Darwinian Natural Selection theory (and I mean the do-do side, not the side that made it). Blimey, I am waffling again, sorry... mind you it is 200 years since Darwin's birth, so it is all a bit topical.... ummm you see - like 'have I got news for you'!

Anyway, today I thought I would tell you about the 'Baumhaus Friday afternoon clean-up' because is it the only weekly event guaranteed to give everyone a 'face on', so I find it quite amusing. The clean-up basically involves everyone who is at work, mucking in to clean the offices and the shopfloor.

Scrubber No. 1 Steve cleaning the canteen

Picture the scene - it is Friday, about 2.30pm say, and everyone in the warehouse is getting a bit restless and edgy, starting to evaluate who is in and who is out, and therefore how much cleaning they are going to have to do.

Scrubber No. 2 Juan hoovering with Henry the Hoover

Then they all hear a 'PING' come from my computer. They all know that is is an Outlook reminder entitled 'Friday afternoon clean-up'. And everyone simulataneously thinks that if they keep their heads down and stare studiously at their computers, I will miss the reminder.

But I don't ever miss it (ha ha haaaaah! evil, throaty laugh), and shout 'right ladies, clean-up time!' A collective groan resonates around the office, and everyone drags themselves away from their desks cursing under their breath (git, bum, tosh etc).

Scrubber No. 3 Phil washing up

Based on the number of people available, the warehouse is divided up and each section is allocated to an invidual. Straight after the allocations, everyone starts pointing at everyone else shouting 'but I have got more to clean than him!' Generally a bout of 'arm-wrestling' will ensue, as people try and offload 'the server room' or 'the photo-studio' to someone else to clean. It is a wonderful wartime atmosphere that sends your spirit soaring.

Scrubber No. 4 Naughty George

After the arm-wrestling, everyone embarks upon a frenzied cleaning spree. I always find it amusing that the website traffic goes up hugely between 3pm and 4.30pm every Friday. My theory is that because Juan is doing something active, people will login to the webcam because they can't believe he isn't dead (we have complaints about his lack of movement you see).

Scrubber No. 5 Phil doing the recycling
Finally, after a fraught 1.5 hours of cleaning, everyone is finished, except Juan who protests 'why am I the only one still doing anything?'. To which I reply, 'Juan, there always has to be only one person doing something at the end of the cleaning schedule, otherwise we would all clean forever'. He looked inconvinced though, I must admit.

Anyway, back to London this weekend. I have the M25 to brave, so speak to you later.

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