Katherine Hayton | BLOG

10 Aug / Bronchitis

Thank you Mr Google. You’ve just saved me $46.00 at the Doctor’s office, although you haven’t saved me any pain and suffering.

I do love the ability that we now have to Google all our symptoms, and perform a self-diagnosis the equal of many a doctor (as long as the doctorate relates to subjects other than human medicine).

Occasionally, I’ll have a freak-out. Usually that comes shortly after I type anything with the word lump into my search engine, and it reassures me that the most likely option in all cases is cancer.

Lump in roof of mouth? Cancer. Lump on little finger? Cancer. Lump on elbow after whacking it hard on the table? Definitely cancer.

Not wishing to pay my Doctor a visit so soon (four days) after the last time, I put my symptoms into my favourite search engine (after Duck Duck Go) and then pondered the information available.

I had specifically mentioned that I didn’t have a cold, only a cough, so the first thirteen pages were useless to me. Later I started to get to the good stuff. A cough without cold symptoms and no fever?


Or more probably Bronchitis which affects 5% of the adult population worldwide every year.

Not like this though. Not like what I’ve got. It may be unprecedented in the history of the world ever, but I think I actually have MAN-FLU.

Hold the presses. Stop the phones. Do any of those things that no longer count in this digital age. I could be front page news tomorrow. Or at least a link from the human interest section.

Posted by Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog Read More

08 Aug / Quizzes

There was a time in the recent past when I thought I had a well-rounded general knowledge of the world.

Sure, I knew that I didn’t follow the groups of people who think that hitting a ball by a variety of different means around a course or through wooden posts is the most interesting thing in the world, but no one has much interest in that sort of stuff, do they?

Turns out my general knowledge may more accurately be described as highly-specific-and-limited-to-television-and-movie knowledge.

The first round of a quiz held last night was luckily on movies, so I carried on thinking I was pretty good through that entire round. Nine out of ten. Boom.

The second round was on Tom, Dick and Harry (questions or answers to contain one of said names) and due to the fairly large incorporation of movie and/or television references I continued to shine in the reflection of my brilliance. Nine out of ten. Double boom.

The third round was food and drink. I eat. I drink non-alcoholic beverages. I felt confident. I thought that the monk who developed champagne was called Benedict because that’s what a lot of monks are called.

The sports round was even more disappointing than I’d expected. It was on modern sports. I could pull a few names out of a hat if it was a reference that had a couple of decades to seep into the national consciousness, but current references. Give me a break. You’ll notice I’ve stopped giving scores at the end. Boom.

There was a special list round. We discovered that the pink and white terraces weren’t one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. I don’t know why. They certainly didn’t last into the modern one.

True or False sounds like a round where you can guarantee at least a fifty percent victory. Apparently the way that works is by using the same answer throughout. If you change your answer each time due to a gut feeling, the odds drop way lower.

I’m now just pretending that I didn’t want to win the box of extremely nice food that was a prize for the winners. Or a bucket of the Christmas cookies that were the prize for the runner’s up. That’s why I told my team that the full name of the female lead character in Grease definitely wasn’t Sandra Dee. And Meat Loaf’s character in the Rocky Horror Picture Show was something like Richard.

Posted by Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog Read More

06 Aug / Strategy Days

‘Hello and welcome to this two-day planning session. I’d like to start by suggesting a couple of things be done which your unit has already tried several times in the past but which I wasn’t employed at the time to observe, so think haven’t been tried and are exciting and new ideas.’

‘Sounds fantastic. I’d like to bring up an opinion that was shot down three years ago, but which I didn’t really understand the reasons for it not being incorporated so have held back as a long-standing grudge.’

‘That’s great. Thanks for participating. In fact I’d like to encourage everybody to participate, so that I can misinterpret it and use it against you in future conversations.’

‘Buzzword. Buzzword.’

‘That sounds a really sensible idea. I don’t understand why you do this thing you’re paid to do that tracks the things that you’ve previously been told to track. Why does that happen?’

‘Oh, now that I think about it I’ll disown all responsibility for that, and thank you for the great perception and insight you’ve brought to the table.’

‘Is it okay now to bring up the thing that didn’t work when I tried it halfheartedly with my team that one time which doesn’t really prove my point one way or another, or should I save that for later?’

‘I think that should wait until we transpose the digits on the whiteboard and confuse everyone because what they’re looking at on the printout in front of them is completely different.’

‘Oh good. Did I ever tell you about the time that the thing happened to me that isn’t relevant to this conversation?’


‘Now while you were all out of the room for ten minutes we’ve rewritten a whole lot of stuff on the board to reflect our minority opinion.’

‘But we won’t lock that in until…’

‘It’s locked in.’

‘Buzzword. Buzzword.’

‘That’s great. Keep that sort of thought coming.’

‘ ‘

‘Really great contributions from everyone here today. Does anyone has a dissenting view that we can look confused about before we move on as though it wasn’t spoken aloud?’

‘Hey, I think this thing that looks like it’ll take about three years could be a quick win for us. No I didn’t say that. You misunderstood.’

‘We’ve certainly got some strong and positive vibes coming through, I think we’re almost finished and have everything tied up apart from this list of things we didn’t even touch upon and this other list of things we haven’t reached agreement on.’

‘It’s definitely been a productive couple of days so we’ll just clean up here and schedule another day or two to address the few remaining ends we have to pretend we’re considering before we just go ahead and do what we did last year.’

Posted by Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog Read More

04 Aug / Doctors

Every three months or so I trot along to my doctor’s office for a regular check-up. There’s medication to be adjusted and restocked, arms to squeeze blood pressure readings out of, and injections to be administered in my nether regions.

This is all par for the course, and nothing more nor less than to be expected.

The public weighing is a new thing, and I’m not all that pleased about it.

Back in the day, six months ago and prior, my doctor had a small scale in her room which she kept underneath the wheeled cabinet which contains gloves syringes, cotton wool and bandages.

Each time I turned up for an appointment it would be dragged out, and I would take my shoes off, step onto it, and a private notation would be made as to the reading on its little screen.

Things have changed.

Remember when the pharmacist used to have a full size weighing machine outside which was coin operated? They used to be fun to stand on when I was a child, but no one ever knew how much they weighed on it, because it wasn’t the sort of thing to actually spend hard-earned pocket money on.

My doctor has splashed out, and brought a similar model. Unfortunately, this one isn’t coin-operated so I can’t get out of standing on it just by pleading poverty. Worst of all, instead of being neatly tucked away inside her room, it’s located out in the middle of the surgery.

Yay. Going to the doctor just got even more fun.

It doesn’t help that at the moment it’s probably best she has a full size model, as chances are that I’d break a more petite version. Not the point at all.

Privacy. That’s the watchword of the day. Privacy.

After all, if I’m going to be fat that’s my own business. No one should be able to tell just by glancing over at me, while I’m on the scale.

Posted by Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog Read More

There I was, walking through the supermarket and minding my own business, when a packet fair sprung out from the shelves and screamed ‘Buy me! Buy me!’

I’d been fairly good up to that point. My one treat item had been some fresh bread. And a packet of potatoes thinly sliced, salted, and fried in oil. And a bunch of rice pressed into a delicious healthy treat, then slathered with cheese and fat. And a… never mind, this is getting me nowhere.

Needless to say, I was having a normal shopping experience where I was ignoring the list I’d painstakingly drawn up in favour of grabbing things that my stomach insisted it deserved off the shelves. I’d put about half of them back, which is a good week, and then I saw the dream item from hell.

Breakfast biscuits.

I’ve never heard of such a thing before. I may never hear of them again if they’re as patently ridiculous as their name sounds.

I grabbed them, and scurried to the checkout before I could change my mind.

It’s probably worth noting that at this stage I had no idea of what was in these biscuits. There was a list of ingredients of course, that’s mandated by law, but my darling frowns upon the reading of labels in the supermarket. It upsets his routine.

True story, his mother once walked through a supermarket collecting the items she collected each week, and almost fell into a construction pit in the middle of the store, because she was just looking at the next item on her list. Luckily her husband had chosen that day to accompany her and dragged her out of harm’s way.

These are the genes that were passed down to my darling. It’s not his fault, really. He has a list. He puts items on the list as things run out at home. He doesn’t try something new. Ever.

He doesn’t need to read the list of ingredients because he already knows them off by heart after having eaten the same item made by the same brand for at least forty of the last fifty years. You don’t want to be around him when they discontinue items. He often chooses to just eat less for a time until something sorts itself out.

Once I’d got the fantastic new item home, I cracked open the box and took one of the breakfast biscuit packs out of it. There are five. Well, not now because I’ve had them for two days, but there were.

Each packet has two biscuits. I don’t know why this is the appropriate serving size when you choose to have biscuits for breakfast, but it’s the size they come in so it must be right.

In case you’re wondering if these biscuits are like the North American biscuits that we would more appropriately call unlevened scones, or if you were one of those weird creatures from across the ditch you’d call damper, don’t continue to wonder. They’re not. They are sweet biscuits held together with chocolate hazelnut cream filling.

At least, the ones I purchased are. I did have the choice of other flavours of creamy filling, but this one appealed to me more than the yoghurt or strawberry or I-don’t-know-because-I-didn’t-have-enough-time-to-read-them flavours.

And what, pray tell, makes them biscuits appropriate for breakfast rather than dessert or afternoon tea? The label stating that they’re for breakfast which gives me permission as early in the day as I please. That’s all I needed. Thank you Sunblest. You are blessed amongst biscuit makers.

Posted by Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog Read More

01 Aug / Animal Hospital

I was sitting on the couch this morning, finishing up with a never-ending continuation of the Windows 10 upgrade, and trying to ignore the fact there were chores that probably should be done otherwise we’ll soon be living in a hovel, when there was an almighty BANG on the window.

The sound when a bird flies full-tilt into a window that it really should be noticing is so shocking that I wish they’d pay more attention. Honestly, I know it often kills them, but it frazzles my nerves something awful as well.

I went outside, expecting to find a dead bird, but found a live bird in its place. There were some bird friends? enemies? out there with her. I’m not sure whether they were trying to help or what, but three male sparrows dive bombing one vulnerable female around the tale region seemed more like they might not be helping.

In my defence, if they were helping they were pretty bad at it.

Opening the window put paid to whatever services they were or weren’t offering the distressed bird, and when the victim remained unmoving on the back porch I went forth to rescue her.

She was little and frightened and her eyes were at half mast. I decided it was unsafe to leave her sitting on the ground within eyeline of neighbourhood cats, so I picked her up carefully and placed her inside one of the bird’s nests I’ve collected over the years.

Not the one with the dead monarch butterfly, blue marble, and empty eggshell because those are my favourite treasures, but in the next best bird’s nest.

Once she was safely in her new home, I went inside to fetch her something to eat. I haven’t read a lot of books (any) on sparrow concussion, but I’m sure that having a large chunk of bread can’t hurt the situation any.

Her beak was firmly open, so there wasn’t much chance of getting any of it down her gullet, so I left it perched in front of her face. Her eyes went down to half-mast again, so I stroked her carefully down her backbone? and her eyes flicked fully open again.

Thinking back on it this was possibly due to the terror of having a large creature pick her up, place her in a strange location, dump some artisan sourdough bread which even the creature finds difficult to swallow in front of her, and then attempt to crush all her back feathers into some strange new pattern with her abrasive phalanges.

After a few more trips to check on her, she eventually recovered enough to stare at me with stark horror, and fly away.

They grow up so quickly.

Posted by Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog Read More

When I looked up the other day to see how to get Windows 10 installed on my own timeline (I turned off windows updates years ago because I don’t like having anything drop by unannounced, even updates) I noticed that there were a few people reporting there was an error saying ‘something happened,’ which they couldn’t get past.

This was reported in text only, so I made the rather foolish assumption that they meant there was a more specific error which meant that something happened which stopped the upgrade.

Oh no. That would be too easy. If you haven’t had the pleasure yet, welcome to the most helpful Windows error message yet:

Way to waste my time Windows 10. I don’t mean providing me with unenlightening messages that look like they might have started life as a program placeholder to come back to later (or not as it turned out), I just Googled the answer to that conundrum and was done with it.

No, the bit that took the time was finding the hashtag on twitter and reading the random nonsense that this particularly existential explanation had spawned.

I hold a strong belief that people are at their best when they’re mocking. It truly releases fonts of creativity that would otherwise go untapped. To appreciate this, it’s essential that every last sarcastic comment is read.

So, thank you Windows. Thank you for releasing such glorious fodder to the creative geniuses of our current generation.

Posted by Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog Read More

29 Jul / Introverts

Despite being half of the population (or maybe more, we do keep to ourselves after all) introverts just don’t have a lot of events catered to their needs.

Next week, we’re going to be offsite for two days of torture discussion about the strategy and direction of our unit for the coming year.

I know, right? Bundles of fun all around.

In addition to this horror-show being slowly drawn out over two full working days, I’ve been belatedly informed that on the first day I’m also attending (that’s an order) a delightful evening meal to commence directly after our fun-filled extravaganza of a strategy day.

There are certain rules that should guide all planning sessions that involve introverts.

Rule Number One: Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone. Give them alone time.

This is the ultimate rule that should always be observed. If you fail to follow this rule you’ll have a group of burned out, irritable people making up approximately fifty percent of your group. It may not be the origin of ‘going postal’ but it certainly mimics many of the key features.

Rule Number Two: Introverts like being invited to things. Invite them to things. They can then turn you down politely.

Just because I would rather gouge my eyes out than be trapped at a table in a restaurant for a meal that’s going to be served long after I’ve stopped feeling hungry, and the digestion of which will keep me awake long past my bedtime, doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be invited.

On the other hand the key word here is invitation. I don’t want to go. Don’t make me go. If you make me go you’re breaking rule number one, and you won’t like me when I’m over-socialised.

Rule Number Three: If you break rules one and two I will take introverted revenge.

Okay, you extraverts. You catered for your own needs. You planned things out your own way. You think things are going to be pretty sweet during the social days from hell.

You’re especially looking forward to going out for a nice meal afterwards. I bet you’re planning on making it last for a really long time so you can wring maximum enjoyment out of it. I can hear you ordering your dessert course now and making me realise that I’m at least half an hour away from freedom.

I’ve got one word for you.


You think you can trick me into participating in lively discussions all day long, and then unwind later over a long degustation? I’ve got a few more one-words.


Oh, is that a bit more social fun you’re trying to force down my throat?


Really? It’s compulsory to join in the group activity and role-play?


Yeah, you just try to run.

Posted by Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog Read More

27 Jul / Time-travel

I’ve spent a lot of the past few weeks dreaming about my upcoming holiday. I firmly believe that this holiday is going to be a good one, a holiday to beat all other holidays in fact, mainly because it hasn’t arrived to not live up to my expectations.

An unfortunate side-effect has been my decreasing ability to tell what day or time it is. Slips of the mind that are perfectly natural on beach holidays, but slightly more concerning when attempting to perform my officely duties.

Today I was unhappily ensconced in a meeting room, when I looked down at my watch to check on the time. It said 2.00pm which was patently ridiculous as it was still morning. Stupid Samsung watch. Or, I’d been replenishing my lives on Farm Heroes and forgot to reset the time afterward.

Except, it wasn’t the fault of the watch or my gaming addiction. It really was 2.00pm. I was eventually able to verify this myself by recalling that I’d sat in the breakout area and enjoyed lunch a few hours beforehand.

At least that one was headed in the right direction. Last Friday I had my more usual wake up in the morning before the alarm dead-set certain that it was Saturday only to find out it wasn’t.

Fair enough. On Saturday at midday I thought that I was at home on a weekday, and didn’t bat an eyelid that my darling was also home, even though on the rare occasions that we’re sick at the same time I force myself to go to work because being sick at work is better than listening to someone else be sick at home.

In two weeks and four days (not that I’m counting) this will all be irrelevant because everyone knows that holidays at the beach reside outside of the time space continuum unless you want to have an evening meal at three in the afternoon in which case it reasserts itself pretty sharpish.

Posted by Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog Read More