Archive for the ‘About me’ Category


Spam, spam spam spam, luverly spam, wonderful spam!

November 7, 2012

(And hands up if you were singing along)

No, just amused to notice that, even when I’m not posting because of PhD pressures, I’m still getting about the same number of readers, and the same number of spam comments.  That warm glow that you get from someone posting a comment about how helpful they found your information… till you see it’s attached to a link for counterfeit handbags.  And then there was the comment saying some of my posts were so well-written they sounded like poetry, which would have been a lovely thought if it hadn’t been attached to an ad for viagra.  Most persistent spammer, however, is something called lista de emails, which sends me two or three messages a day with randomised sentences that almost, but don’t quite, make sense; plus of course a lists of links.  Give it up, people!  I’m never going to hit any of the links.  And I’m never going to allow the comments to be posted on my blog where someone else might be fooled into clicking on the links.  Although I do kind of appreciate the randomness.  Sometimes it’s almost like haiku poetry.

And then I press “delete all” and we’re back to work.


Nothing to look at, move along please

September 13, 2012

No bloggery today, although instead I urge you to go over to the Guardian’s Public Service pages.  There you will find an interesting piece on why civil servants leave, and an “expert panel” live two hour discussion in the comments thread.  Warning: includes me.  Apparently I’m an expert now.  Well, at least an expert in Not Being A Civil Servant, anyway!


[Update Friday 14th: there’s a roundup of the event here.  Warning: contains me!]


Another tax tracker

May 21, 2012

There was a new version of the tax consultation tracker published on 18th May. There are twelve open consultations listed, although the VAT anomalies (pasties, caravans, hairdressers, sports drinks, self storage and listed building repairs) closed on Friday and you only have until next Friday to respond on the Gift Aid Small Donations scheme.  There are still 22 consultations “due to be published in May” – time’s getting on, guys, really! And there’s still no annotation to show what’s changed from the last iteration.  Only THIS time I had the foresight to save the document so I can check next time around!

And now I’m off to the States for a few days with my science fiction and fantasy head on – I shall be attending Wiscon, the worlds only feminist science fiction convention, where I am on panels discussing fan fiction and other transformative works, whether there’s any meaningful distinction between “fan” and “professional” writer in a world of self publishing, disability tropes in classic science fiction, and finally “newly professional older writers”.  Yes, that’s me, folks.

Just in case you were wondering, I shall of course be claiming the cost of attending the convention (less the small grant I have been awarded towards my costs) against my first self employed tax bill.


Tintacks, tintax and, er, encarta

May 17, 2012

I was at the ARC dinner last night – ARC being the Association of Revenue and Customs senior staff, of which I am a proud Life (which is to say retired) Member. So I was talking to former colleagues and the subject of this blog came up.

“I remember tintax,” someone said.

And then I realised.  I thought I had coined the name of this blog myself, from the name of the documents on which I worked before my retirement, the Tax Information and Impact Notes – TIIN – and the word tax, to make something that sounds a bit like the American name for drawing pins, tin tacks.

But no.  Actually in the dim and distant past, when the Inland Revenue was kind of cutting edge as regards computer technology (sigh) we had a guidance system called Tintax.  It was a bit like a static version of wikipedia, with all the internal guidance you could want, sitting there for you to search through.

Hey, don’t laugh.  I remember when Inland Revenue manuals came on paper, and you had a clerk assiduously go through and replace the relevant pages when there were updates, and initial the front of the manual to show they’d done so.

Tintax was cutting edge.  In its day.  Like, er, encarta was back in ’93, when having an encyclopedia on your computer – so it was searchable – was like Living In The Future.

Ah well.

I blame the drink, but none of us sitting around the table last night discussing the old Tintax system could remember why it was called Tintax.  Presumably it was an acronym – but of what?

Answers in comments, please…?


About me

April 2, 2012

My name is Wendy Bradley.  Until last Friday, I was a Civil Servant in Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.  I’m now a retired Civil Servant and full time writer.  I’m working on a thousand page fantasy novel which doesn’t as yet have an actual title but whose working title is “Game of Thrones: With Cowboys!”  It may take me a while.  Watch this space.

In the meantime, I thought I might also blog about some of the stuff that you can’t write about when you’re a Civil Servant, for example “Just How Stupid is… (insert whatever government innovation is the current flavour of the month) exactly.” My particular interest is in regulations: the idea that all regulations are bad and can be categorised as Red Tape (which is, of course, “strangling business”).  Five minutes browsing the comments at the government’s own “Red Tape Challenge” website will disabuse most of us of that notion.

But the government has put mechanisms in place to make sure it doesn’t make BAD regulations.  No, honestly.  There has to be consultation according to the government Code of Practice and consultation is usually accompanied by some sort of assessment of the impacts of the change.

So that’s my focus.  With mechanisms to regulate the making of regulation, how could anything possibly go wrong?