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Party time

30th of January: my first ever CAD (Crédit Agricole Deveurope) office party. The fun started early when at 2pm the cantine was turned into a makeshift hair salon and makeup artist's studio, with 6 professionals brought in to help 200 ladies look their best. Then after work, we had half an hour to change into our glad rags (and lock away our regular clothes ready for taking back home with us on Monday) before we were herded into several coaches that took us to our mystery destination: a rather trendy club in the town of Hilversum. Of course, when we got there, there were the usual 'ínspirational' speeches by management that no one bothered to listen to, preferring to keep their orders for free beer and champagne coming in. Funny, how the male constituant of every crowd will always go for Heineken, when Moët & Chandon is so much better-tasting...

Then the entertainment kicked off with a performance by Slagerij van Kampen, a group of percussionists world-famous in The Netherlands; and they were followed by a local band I'd never heard of, who were quite good though nothing out of the ordinary; and they in turn were followed by one of the many Björn Again-s (they're a franchise now, I understand. I remember years ago having seen the original tribute band at an hp party, when they were flown in especially: they were fab. This one wasn't). There were also performances by jugglers and fire-eaters and a strongman who kept lifting weights all night (honestly, why would anyone want to see that at a party?), there was a tarot-reader, and a DJ to take care of proceedings between the various musical performances; while the head of the HR department made a drunken spectacle of herself. The catering was fine, the buffet plentiful and tasty, there was a chocolate fountain...and yet I kept glancing at the time willing it to go forward, because the party was to end at midnight when we would all be taken home by taxi. As far as I was concerned, that was the best bit...I'd been up since 5:30am and not being as young and resilient as I used to be, by 11pm I was definitely starting to sag...Unfortunately for some not too steady on their feet, the local police turned finding one's taxi at the end of the evening into something of a game of hide-and-seek, as they kept directing the 28 minivans to move; Hilversum is a small town with a small pedestrianised centre, and whoever had organised the party had forgotten to notify the police that sometime on Friday just after midnight, there'd be an invasion of minivans all heading for and coming to a stop on the market square. They had also failed to take into consideration that there would actually be a market held on Saturday morning, as it has been for centuries, which meant there were also quite a lot of market traders coming in around that time to start setting up their stalls...in short, it was chaos. Having left the club at the stroke of midnight, I had been lucky enough to find my taxi before we were moved off, but we had to drive around for 3/4s of an hour after that to pick up waifs and strays going in the same direction, which meant I didn't get home before half two...but at least I got there, delivered right up to my doorstep safe and sound and free of cost!

All in all, as far as office parties go, I think this was one of the better ones I've ever attended, though I do thank God that with the credit crunch deepening, there's unlikely to be another one quite as big and exhausting any time soon.



( 27 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Jan. 31st, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
I'm jealous. We had one of these "mandatory fun" office things ourselves, and they took us bowling! Seriously. It was like Chuck E. Cheese for grownups.

Well, you're entitled. I hope the shoes were as glamorous as the event.
Jan. 31st, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
We had a mandatory bowling night ourselves a few weeks ago, as one of those recurring 'team-building' exercises. I only managed to escape it by actually falling ill that week...

Yesterday's festivities were to celebrate the succesful merger of several formerly independent or semi-independent financial services companies into French giant Crédit Agricole to form a new company, Crédit Agricole Deveurope which is what it says I work for on my pay slip now.
Jan. 31st, 2009 04:29 pm (UTC)
I hope your company lives long and prospers. I am SO glad you got a job. It may not be your dream job, but I'm glad you have it. It can be a springboard, if you like.
Jan. 31st, 2009 06:18 pm (UTC)
I'm pleased I'm in work too, esp. in these times -- but I am thinking of moving on soon. One thing I've learnt from leaving hp: it doesn't do to stay too long where you're not entirely happy...
Jan. 31st, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC)
I have to admit to being rather glad that the NHS doesn't do that sort of party...
Jan. 31st, 2009 06:15 pm (UTC)
No? What sort of party does it do, then?
Jan. 31st, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
They don't. At least no bit of it I've ever worked in did. My current department did lay on pizza, pasta and orange juice for us in the seminar room at our base one Christmas, asked us to provide the desserts and charged us £3.50 each.

Partying on NHS money would be seen as unacceptable.
Jan. 31st, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
Of course it would! I didn't think about that, but you're righ; it would be totally inappropriate. Still, an informal get-together with pizza and OJ once in a while sounds like it could be a lot of fun too, even if you do have to contribute toward the cost yourselves.
Jan. 31st, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
Ahhh Bjorn Again. One of the funnest nights of my life was when they toured to Perth and I went alone because no-one else would, and I ran into my cousin there whom I hadn't seen in years and we just had the BEST time. Mind, that was in 1993, perhaps that was pre-franchise too? It doesn't do though, to have crap bands in the franchise. People will stop going altogether if they can't be sure the Bjorn Again they are seeing is one of the good ones. (or THE good one?)

Sounds like a worthwhile party to go to, nonetheless. And I echo the sentiment above: I'm very glad you have a position in this tough times. They say that as long as you have a job in a recession, you'll be okay.
*clings to hubby's job* (I work for the govt, so I'm safe, but don't earn enough to even pay the mortgage)
Jan. 31st, 2009 10:53 pm (UTC)
My office parties tend to be a bit underpoputlated - just me and the cat :) I trust you used the occasion as an excuse for a suitable pair of new shoes?
Jan. 31st, 2009 11:48 pm (UTC)
Sounds great to me. :)
Feb. 1st, 2009 12:00 pm (UTC)
It has its advantages :)

How's the familiar?
Feb. 1st, 2009 02:15 pm (UTC)
Very naughty. She's stripping wallpaper off the walls.
Feb. 1st, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
A cat with skillz, clearly. You could rent her out to property developers.

We've just found our part-timer sat on the doorstep with a pile of snow on his head like a hat. He's now sitting by the fire, steaming gently, and giving me hurt looks. Stupid cat.

It's snowing like it means it here. Good inch on the ground so far and no sign of it letting up. Here's to being snowed in tomorrow *is hopeful*.
Feb. 1st, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)
I think she'd enjoy that,

It's still bright and sunny here. :(
Feb. 1st, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC)
It's heading your way according to the forecast and worth the wait! There's at least an inch out here in the wilds. I do hope it keeps up. You'll have to take The Familiar outside if it does snow - kittens seeing their first snowflaked are teh cutest thing.
Feb. 1st, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
Whoo hoo!

The Familiar is meant to be a house cat (due to her neurological disorder), so I don't want to tease her. She can look out of the window with me!
Feb. 1st, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
Oh, sorry - I didn't know! What's the problem?

Looking out of the window is almost as much fun and she'll no doubt find it just as intriguing. Plus warmer :)
Feb. 1st, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
She doesn't have full control over her back legs. If you saw her and didn't know, you wouldn't think anything was wrong, but when you do you can tell she not quite right and her balance isn't very good - she falls off the edge of the window sill and get tangled in the curtains with great regularity. The Blue Cross wanted her to kept in because they didn't think she could defend herself, but she holds her own with my parents' cats when I take her up there, but the balance thing worries me more as she loves climbing.
Feb. 1st, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC)
It's amazing how cats adapt. I once knew a three-legged one (argued once too often with a car) and very little stopped him, although climbing was a challenge!

Sounds like keeping her inside is sensible, though. They just don't know when to stop, kitties.
Feb. 1st, 2009 03:09 pm (UTC)
She's happy enough, that's the main thing.
Feb. 1st, 2009 10:53 am (UTC)
Cat? You've got a cat? How wonderful! I know you've wanted one for a long time; I'm glad you've finally got your wish.
Feb. 1st, 2009 11:59 am (UTC)
Not exactly our cat.He's a very lovely if demanding lilac Burmese who lives somewhere up the road. I guess his owners must go out to work, because he turns up on our doorstep at breakfast time, hangs around in the study with me all day or curls up on the heated floor in the bathroom if it's chilly, then potters off in the evening for his tea! It's a good arrangement as far as I'm concerned - I don't have to feed him or worry about leaving him if we go away, but I get to play and snuggle with him when he visits. Although he does play hard and is past master of the ambush. Ouchie!
Feb. 1st, 2009 06:27 pm (UTC)
I don't have to feed him or worry about leaving him if we go away,

Sounds like a perfect arrangement to me! Sometimes I wish mine were just visiting; being cooped up in the flat all day (I don't allow them to go out) brings out their evil natures -- there's always some potted plant uprooted or a new scratch on the leather sofa when I come home.
Jan. 31st, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
world-famous in The Netherlands? Well, it's a small world...
Feb. 1st, 2009 10:53 am (UTC)
Indeed it is!
Feb. 1st, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a pretty decent party, as far as parties go. :-)
( 27 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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