Horses for courses

By the time I got to work I felt like I’d already done a full day’s work. In reality I’d done about half a day before I got to my desk. We woke up to a good few inches of snow so I immediately slipped into winter weather mode – quick shower then computer on and phone at the ready. The first thing I do is tweet the first half of my postcode, the number of centimetres of snow and #uksnow on the council account, inviting people to do the same for their area to add to the national picture. This is good because it gives me a fair indication of where we’re likely to have school transport issues or school closures. People seem happy to chip in and you can tell who’s exaggerating for effect. From there I’m checking for texts and email for info from Education HQ who’s first with the closures. If they tell me of any they go on the homepage of the website which tweets automatically but there can be a delay so I tend to tweet closures independently. From there I update a directory on the site which updates our mobile app. All the while I’m keeping an eye on the council’s main Twitter account and its Roads account trying to answer people’s questions where appropriate. I sit tight working from home while HimIndoors gets the kids to school. It’s safe for me to leave when the Education web contributor and one of the other content approvers is in the office then I can get on the snowboots and head for the bus stop. It was nearly 11 o’clock by the time I was changed and at my desk.

At lunchtime I signed up for my next MOOC, even although I’m still doing my complexity course. I have to say I’m impressed with the amount of preparation that has gone into this one and it seems more academic. It’s Dan Ariely’s Introduction to Irrationality at Duke University. This seems more up my street and it’s all the stuff I’ve been learning from the behavioural Insight Team at the Cabinet Office. In fact it was Simon Ruda from the team who introduced me to Dan’s work and I’m really looking forward to this intense 6-week course. Week 1’s required reading is all academic papers including How actions create – not just reveal – preferences, Tom Sawyer and the construction of value, The great rationality debate and Do defaults save lives. There are quizzes in each module but there’s a written assignment and an exam. If I pass I get a nice certificate signed by Dan but no credits from the university. But then, just like camera club, I’m not in it for the certificate, I’m in it to learn.

Today I have learned:

  • people tend to over-estimate snowfall by 2 cm
  • mine is the lost generation that uses both imperial and metric but doesn’t really understand either completely
  • French children have their very own sweary word – caca boudin. They learn when it’s appropriate to use it and when it’s not – it’s OK in your own room but not in the living room in front of granny!

Today’s track

This morning while tweeting as the council a guy called me babe. This raises a couple of questions:

  • how did he know the person tweeting was female?
  • does he think the council is female?

Anyway I felt like tweeting him the link to this track – but I didn’t.

Today’s recipe


Chicken and tarragon pasta

Serves 4


olive oil for frying

3 chicken breasts, cubed

a knob of butter

3 handfuls of mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

125mls white wine

185mls double cream

1 tbsp tarragon chopped

100g Parmesan, finely grated

black pepper

tagliatelle to serve

Method: Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the chicken in batches till lightly browned. Remove to a plate.

Melt the butter in the same pan and cook the mushrooms. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Stir in the wine and simmer for 5 minutes until nearly evaporated. Stir in the cream and the chicken and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tarragon, Parmesan and some freshly ground black pepper and heat through.

Serve on a bed of tagliatelle.


  1. kate Goodall · March 19, 2013

    I’m in the lost generation too. I know what a mm and cm and even a m looks like. I know what an inch and a foot looks like. I know a yard is similar to a metre. I know how long a mile feels, but not so much a km. As for 3/8 of an inch or whatever? Forget it. I have to work out what it is in mm to have a clue.

    Love chicken with tarragon. I’d maybe add in some spinach leaves for colour and to feel virtuous 🙂

    • carolynemitchell · March 19, 2013

      I nearly put in spinach but when I went to the veg bag the veg bag was bare. I vere from imperial to metric depending on what I’m measuring. Human height is feet and inches, length is cms till it gets to a certain length then it changes to feet and miles. I used to weigh in metric till I had a baby, although it was still metric when baking till I got crazy new kitchen scales that don’t make sense in metric so now I bake in imperial. Confused, I am.

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