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So here we are again with another of those typical office politics questions. This time it is about the office fridge! Who is responsible for cleaning it out?

Having worked in small offices (of 6-20 people) and offices with as many as 300 people I know the state the office fridge can be in. Fridges tend to get smelly and overcrowded and the science experiments in many of them are enough to put people off their lunch. In a previously company myself and the rest of the admin/office support team monitored a yoghurt in a fridge to see how long it would stay there. We monitored it for at least a year and it is probably still there as it was when I left the company. That company was an engineering firm and at least half of the 300 staff weren’t office based. I can almost forgive them for bringing something in on their office days and then forgetting about it (not completely but almost). But now I work in an office with 20 people who are all office based and it is almost as bad!

About a month ago I encountered mouldy hummus and Sainsbury’s basic seafood sticks that had gone off about a month previously. I am NOT good with mould, it makes me retch so it is not something I wish to see when reaching for the milk to go in my cuppa. As the office manager people come to me to complain when they see something in the fridge. Today it was mouldy sandwiches that someone else had to throw away for someone who forgot about it. I honestly get that one could forget they had put food in the fridge – I have a yoghurt that has been in ours for a week – but it is still in date! I have sent emails galore asking people to take their food and pots home but it doesn’t happen. The only solution is for myself and my member of staff to be the ones emptying out the fridge!

So I have arranged for it to be cleared out twice a month and have told staff that anything that looks questionable will be thrown out regardless of what container it is in. This is probably going to upset people but they are adults and should be able to look after their own property! If they can’t manage to take their unwanted food home with them or wash out their dishes then tough luck!

Let me know your thoughts on the office fridge!!

Why is it that I have to wear more layers and thicker clothes to work in the summer than I do in the winter? Why is it that everyone always says ‘just throw on a jumper’? How can it be fair that us cold blooded people have to sit at our desk like the Michelin man when they are quite comfortable in their jeans and t-shirt? People often say, ‘it is easier to warm up than it is to cool down’. This is not true. As a cold bodied mortal myself I know that when I get cold (especially if there is an icy cold blast of air-con on my neck as there is now), I will be cold for the rest of the day until I get into bed and force my husband to spoon me to warm me up!

There is also the argument that being too hot is bad for productivity. People moan in the UK, a country that hardly ever gets warm weather that it is too hot to work. How on earth do they think people in hotter climates continue to work? The temperature here gets to 24 degrees and suddenly everyone is melting. In Spain if exceeds that on a daily basis but they still manage to hold down jobs. They aren’t falling asleep at their desks all day because it is ‘too hot’. Whilst I agree that it can be stuffy in an office, why not just open the windows? If you are lucky enough not to be in an office that had non-opening windows (like my last office), then fresh air is 100% better for both human health and the environment. Plus it has actually been proven that low temperatures are worse for productivity that higher ones. The UK government sets a minimum temperature for a workplace but no maximum. There must be a reason for this. In my previous job our air conditioning (which also worked as the heating) broke last winter. Temperatures were frequently below 11 degrees which made it impossible to work. I found myself standing over portable heaters instead of sitting working at my desk and when I was sitting at my desk, I had to have gloves on or else I could hardly move my fingers. Looking back we could have gone home as the law states that if the temperature does not reach above 16 degrees within an hour of being at work (this is for an office, it is 13 degrees for a warehouse environment) then you can go home.

But now I am left with dealing with the air conditioning wars. I am one of the opposing sides of the war itself (I am sat directly under the air-con. Why do the cold bodied people always end up the ones sitting directly under it!?), but I am also the person responsible for sorting out the war as the office manager. The only way forward I can think of is to block the thermostat so only certain people can change the temperature and agree on a suitable temperature for the office. 21 degrees is too low. We had it at 25 and it was just right but someone came along this morning and turned it down to 20!! Now I am sat here with my fleece on when it the beautiful summer outside.

So I have having an interesting conversation with my father in law (FIL) on Sunday, which biscuit is best to dunk! I just got reminded about this because my rich tea finger just fell in my brew. Now I am going to be met with a face full of mushy biscuit at the end of my morning cuppa!

So which do you think is the best and worst biscuit to dunk? My FIL basically dismissed the Rich Tea saying they are useless and just flop straight into your brew. Now I didn’t dispute this but the finger variety are one of my favourite biscuits. Guess this mornings incident just proved him right! He determined that the best ones for dunking were digestives as neither of us like a Hob Nob. Personally my favourite are Malted Milks 🙂

What is your favourite dunking biscuit?

As a blanket of grey hides the sun,
Snow falls to earth, winters begun.
Alone stands a bear, cold, tired and lost.
Winters for hibernating, he must have forgot.

Hearing a growl, he’s startled and scared.
But if rivals are there, he must be prepared.
To mark out his territory, which he must defend.
Using the strength on which his life must depend.

Hearing it again, he grasps it is him,
He hasn’t eaten for hours, so now he must swim.
But the lake is all frozen, it’s an ice rink for sure,
And the fish look at him and laugh ‘I’m not yours!’

Hungry and sad, he wants to get rest.
Finding a barn, the hay he does test.
And here he will stay, till the sun comes back through,
When spring arrives, and other bears too.

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I love the way you hold my hand,
And stand beside me come rain or shine.
I love the way you tell your tales,
They entertain me every time.

I love the way you plan and plan
Our life on lots of lists.
I love the way you comfort me,
A hug with you is bliss.

I love the way you give me the giggles,
Just looking at you makes me smile.
I even love the way we bicker,
It’s not wrong, that’s just our style!

He waits. Waits for his chance.
Standing proudly to attention,
Waiting for the order:
Turn! Turn! Turn!

His amber lights shine brightly,
Even when the sun is high in the sky.
He’s ready to spring to life,
As soon as the director shouts ‘Action!’
But the call never comes.
He stands motionless day after day.
How he wishes it was his go to
Turn! Turn! Turn!

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For me the biggest fear in life is losing the ones I love and the objects I own. I love my life and want to protect it so it can remain as it is. However, I know that fire is something that could bring devastation to my life and ruin everything. At 29, I am a single parent of two beautiful daughters and my whole world revolves around them. I would literally die to save my children. But this built in protection is not always a good thing. My life has turned to a constant fight between my logical self (Lee) and my illogical self (Joe). ‘Did you really turn that stove off?’ Joe would nag away at me. ‘Of course you did, you starred at it for 5 minutes to make sure you had’ replies Lee. But, even the blatantly obvious proof of starring at the stove doesn’t satisfy Joe. ‘Ah but what if you accidently turned it on when you turned away’. ‘Of course you didn’t. You didn’t touch it.’ ‘But you may have done and just not noticed.’ ‘Of course you would have noticed. You would have felt it’, Lee desperately tries to reassure me. ‘Ah but you may have touched it, felt it and then forgot. You can’t trust yourself’, concludes Joe. And so it goes on until I give in and go back downstairs to check that the stove is off. Standing over the cooker, starring at the knobs like a hawk, I try and reassure myself that they are off. ‘You can’t spend all night down here in the kitchen’, Lee tells me. ‘Just a few more minutes to check that they are off.’ There is no way I am going to be able to tear myself away from this argument until I get that warm, satisfied feeling in my stomach that the stove is off. 10 minutes later and I finally get a nudge of that relieving feeling. Turning away fast before I lose it, I leave the kitchen and slog back upstairs to head to bed. But the arguments start up in my head again and a whirlwind of fear starts in my stomach and spreads through my body like wildfire. ‘What if Katie and Claire have stopped breathing?’ Joe asks me? ‘I am sure they are ok’, Lee replies, ‘you would have heard something if they weren’t’. ‘But they wouldn’t be able to tell you or move if something happened to them in their sleep. You best go in there and check on them.’ Creeping into their shared bedroom, I sneak across the room like a mouse so I don’t wake them. The gentle sound of Claire snoring reassures me that she is fine but there isn’t a peep coming from Katie. Gently I put my finger under her nose and sigh with relief as the reassuring wave of air touches my finger. Feeling satisfied for now, I creep back out of their room and head for mine, believing that I can finally get some sleep myself. But as I lay down in bed, the thoughts plague me again. Imagining what would happen if for some reason I hadn’t turned the stove off. The whole place would go up in flames, and I would lose everything. I have sat my girls down and given them strict instructions what to do if there is a fire. They are to open the window as wide as it will go, throw something soft on the ground, one story below, and then jump out. I trust that my girls know what to do, but what if they are hurt and they can’t jump out of the window? What if they were to forget in the heat of the moment what to do and try and come through the house? Worst of all, what if they don’t wake up and remain in their beds for the hungry fire to come and take them? ‘Stop it, you know they are safe. You are just worrying yourself’, Lee tells me as I turn over in the bed and pull the cold side of the pillow over my head. But, Joe isn’t giving in that easily. Next he teases me with images of my belongings and my beautiful house being engulfed by fire. The images flashing past my eyes seem so real that I just feel like crying. Bolting up right, I open my eyes. It’s no good, Joe has won again. I need to check the stove is off.