Sunday, 18 September 2011

Applying for a job at UBS

Now, I may be a little long in the tooth but I am giving serious consideration to applying for a job at UBS, that hitherto most respectable of Swiss Banks. After all, on the surface, I appear to have all the right attributes - a public school background with a degree from a top university, a qualified chartered accountant, and a CV which includes relevant work experience at a couple of investment banks.

Moreover I am more than capable of losing a couple of billion dollars of other people's money.

Sadly, having just read the lengthy tome that is the UBS Dress Code (see link below), it would seem that I may lose out despite being widely regarded by my peers as a something of a fashionista (as my profile picture will attest).

UBS Dress Code: The Bankers' Guide to Dressing and Smelling like a winner

Whilst I could no doubt comply with certain requirements: 'You can wear a watch to the extent it does not threaten not safety', 'Your figure should not suffer from the way you wear your underwear', and 'Do not wash, nor ever iron, your shirts yourself', it is likely that I would struggle with others: 'The jacket must completely cover your posterior', 'Shoulders should have natural proportions', and especially 'The tip of your tie should under no circumstances enter your pants'.

In light of recent events, UBS appear to have missed a trick by omitting the following:
  • Don't lose your shirt (or that of the Bank), but if you do
  • Don't keep it under your hat (or trouser the proceeds).

Friday, 15 July 2011

Smoking Ban

At the beginning of this year, the Spanish government introduced a new anti-smoking law. Now call me cynical, but based upon their previous attempts to ban the popular weed from public places, I was anticipating that I would not notice any change. How wrong could I be?

Bars are no longer allowed to opt out and indeed they run the risk of draconian fines, should they permit their punters even a quick puff in the urinals (so to speak). The ambience is now one of Anis and BO rather than stale Ducados (and BO).

But perhaps the tide is changing?

The other day, as I popped out onto the terrace of a local hostelry for a licit drag, I took this photo which suggests that one of the regulars has found a way around the regulations. Or was it the hand of that great smoker in the sky?

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Nepotism in the NHS

A few weeks ago, as I was hobbling on crutches into our local NHS hospital for a spot of rehabilitory circuit training, I took a wrong turning. Suddenly I found myself walking down what seemed like an endless corridor with only a few zombie-like waterbottle-carrying members of staff, some broken beds, and the pungent odour of boiled cabbage for company.

Struggling past the challengingly-named Maxillofacial, Orthotics and Endocrine units, my new hip was in need of a rest. I spotted a vacant seat in an adjacent waiting room but thought twice about sitting down when I discovered that I had just entered the 'Discharge Lounge'.

Fortunately a wheechair was at hand in the nearby 'Department of Portering' outside of which was, in true Nu-Labour style, a board with the names and photographs of smiling senior members of staff. It was interesting to note that, other than Ian Manager, the names were John Supervisor, Andy Supervisor, Graham Supervisor, Peter Supervisor and Phil Supervisor.

It's good to see that nepotism in the NHS is alive and kicking.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Spanish Caravan

I have returned to Andalucia following my recent surgery to discover that spring has sprung and that the smell of orange blossom is all pervading. The snow on the mountain tops, which has a strange brown hue as a result of southerly winds blowing in sand from the Sahara, is starting to melt and the heat of the summer is surely not far away.

Ah, Spanish summers. Fiestas, jazmine, flamenco, gazpacho, figs, chilled vino rosado, long lunches and even longer siestas, hot sleepless nights, and ........ tourists. Perhaps I should consider hitting the road this year.

And I think I've found the ideal vehicle for someone with my current infirmity. Small, yet perfectly formed and with a built-in entertainment centre, I can even stock up whilst driving down a supermarket aisle. Perfect for life in the slow lane.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Send in the Clouds?

I have an confession to make - I love clouds (no sniggering at the back, please). From the humble Cirrus and Cumulus to the more spectacular Mammatus and Lenticularis, I love them all.

And I am not alone in this respect as the 25307 (soon to be 25308) members of the Cloud Appreciation Society ( will testify.

For the sceptical amongst you, here is a short film I have put together with photos of the Sierra Nevada mountains taken from the ringside seat that is our house.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

If you go down to the woods today

When you’re budgeting for your holiday in Spain, what items of expenditure should you factor into the equation? Flights, accommodation, and food and drink are probably at the top of most people's lists. Maybe also a hire car and some extra cash for souvenirs and last-minute gifts.

But how much should you set aside as a contingency for those little unexpected costs? Well, if you’re planning a BBQ in the countryside, you may wish to re-think your figures once you've read what happened to this unfortunate but rather na├»ve Brit abroad.

Click here to read article

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Best a Man can get

I am currently stuck in the UK for a period of enforced R&R - recuperation and rehabilitation - following a hip replacement, and cabin fever is starting to set in.

My day seems to consist of popping pain killers, injecting my stomach to prevent DVT and nostalgically tucking into Fray Bentos Steak & Kidney pies whilst hopping around on crutches in a shell suit and a rather elegant pair of surgical stockings. The only respite from the confines of my padded cell is when a sympathetic neighbour takes me to the local Tescos and I race through the aisles on the complimentary mobility scooter, terrorizing other shoppers.

I also have to report that I have joined the ranks of young mothers, students and the unemployed in becoming addicted to day-time TV. Waking up to Holly Willoughby may be no bad thing but I am embarrassed to admit that I have become a dab hand at solving 9 letter anagrams in less than 30 seconds and spotting a bargain at an antiques fair. Moreover I now know how to turn my attic into cash in order to fund the wedding dress of my teenage gypsy bride and the DNA test of my allegedly illegitimate child.

And, perhaps worst of all, I have recently found myself reciting the straplines of various advertisements under my breath. Is this really the best a man can get?

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

A Stroll in the Park

One of the joys of living in the mountains of Andalucia is being surrounded by spectacular scenery and having a wide variety of flora and fauna on your doorstep. Whether your preference is for deep ravines, babbling brooks, orange groves or soaring eagles, everything is readily accessible and indeed often within easy walking distance - unless of course, like me, you are lazy, infirm or suffer from vertigo.

Here’s a video I took earlier whilst out with the dogs.