Journal – July-August 2002

Here’s another selection of posts from my journal. I’ve combined 2 months in one post here as they’ve been relatively uneventful during my summer holiday from university. There are still a few points of interest though, including a house invader, a fun charity event, a surprise from my university, my birthday, a bit more sport that caught my attention, and some more music and DVDs that I bought. So I hope you enjoy!

Monday July 1, 2002

I met up with my best mate in Exeter again today and we went bowling again, getting in 6 games in about one and a half hours. He won 3, I won 2 and we drew once. Tomorrow night I’m meeting up with him and some of my other college friends as they’ve invited me to go along to a restaurant with them (pizzas being their specialty…. mmmm…..) to celebrate the end of the academic year. So I’ll be staying with them overnight.

I also did a bit of shopping. I got the Prom At The Palace and Party At The Palace on DVD, and the Summer Holiday album on CD, which I’m listening to now, and it’s cool as I expected.

Wednesday July 3, 2002

The pizzas last night, at an Exeter restaurant called On The Waterfront, were wonderful as usual. We ordered 4 different 16-inch pizzas, which were cut into 8 equal slices each, giving 32 slices between the 6 of us. We only ended up leaving 4 slices, which is pretty good! Ok, so we spent quite a bit as a result, but it doesn’t matter. It was a great night out.

Assuming the rain stops at Wimbledon, good luck to Tim Henman in the quarter-finals. He’s playing a Brazilian, so it’s another England v Brazil match, only in tennis this time instead of the World Cup. Hopefully Tim will win, the Brazilian is unseeded and has never got to the second round before. Should be easy for Tim in theory but don’t take it for granted. Greg Rusedski went out yesterday, so Tim Henman is our only British guy left!

Thursday July 4, 2002

Tim Henman is through to the semi-finals, but Wimbledon is now behind schedule because he had to play most of the match today, as it rained yesterday for ages.

To all Americans reading this – Happy Independence Day! We don’t celebrate it here in the UK, but have a good day anyway over there.

Friday July 5, 2002

Hardly surprising really I suppose, but Tim Henman lost his semi-final match against the current World Number 1 player Lleyton Hewitt. That’s 5 Wimbledon semi-finals Tim has reached now – he’s never made it to the final!

Wednesday July 10, 2002

Well, with it being summer holidays and all, not a lot is happening, that’s why I haven’t written in here much. Nan is coming down on Saturday though and will be with us for a week, so that’ll be good.

Thursday July 11, 2002

Even in the quiet time of summer, you never know what will happen! We’ve just had an interesting hour or so…

We have a fireplace at the bottom of our chimney, which we blocked off with plywood panels when we had some work done, as we have no need for it. It’s not very thick wood, but it does the job nicely and it looks fine.

So an hour ago we suddenly heard a tapping noise on the other side. Clearly not ghosts – I’ve never believed in them. It had to be an animal, probably a bird of some sort. But whatever it was, we couldn’t leave it there to die.

Dad cut a fairly small hole in the wood and looked inside. Nothing. There had been silence in there for a few minutes. He couldn’t see anything, and neither could I. So he enlarged the hole a bit more. Still nothing. Then he put his hand inside and felt up a bit – a-ha! There was indeed something. Enlarging the hole further to get at it revealed that it was a baby seagull.

It was alive, animal lovers, don’t panic. Alive and uninjured. Handling birds is not too much of a good idea, but in a situation like this, pretty essential! So Dad was very careful as he got it out and showed it to me. It was very dirty, as you’d expect. And it was very tame, evidently quite scared, as you would be if you’d just fallen down a chimney!

Dad took it outside and put it on top of our conservatory – a small extension we have on the end of the house. We figured it would be safer up there, as cats and dogs wouldn’t be able to get to it very easily. It moved about and flapped its wings, but didn’t fly off.

I phoned the RSPCA, just to make sure there was nothing else we should do. The woman was very helpful, and pleased about what we had done. She explained that parent gulls often push their babies out of the nest to try and get them to fly. This one evidently just fell down our chimney instead. There are nests up around there, we know that, so it makes sense. It could take 7-10 days for it to get enough strength to fly off. So my thanks to the RSPCA for their advice.

Its parents did then come along as it started to talk to them. That’s brilliant news as they will (hopefully) bring it food and keep guard over it until it gets back to full health.

So there you have it, we rescued a seagull from our chimney. That’s our good deed done for the day!

Apart from that, we went out shopping earlier today too. I got The Simpsons Season 2 on DVD – all 22 episodes plus lots of special features. I haven’t seen some of those episodes for a while, some probably not at all, so it should be good. I also got a couple of Playstation 2 Magazines with DVDs on the front to watch. Plus I got a couple of puzzle magazines to keep my brain going. And we also got a few things in preparation for when Nan comes down this weekend.

Saturday July 13, 2002

The seagull appears to be doing fine. Its parents are still looking after it, and it keeps trying to fly but clearly hasn’t got the strength yet. But we know it could still be here this time next week, so we’re not worried. Nan arrives tonight, my aunt and uncle are bringing her down.

Monday July 15, 2002

The seagull has gone from our conservatory roof. It’s been hopping between that and the roof on the kitchen extension next to it. But now it’s disappeared, so it must have got some strength to fly, which is great. We just need a good bit of rain to help us move all the crap he’s left behind. There’s quite a bit!

I’ve got through about 10 episodes of The Simpsons Season 2 now, plus commentaries for each, it’s great. Nan is fine too.

Sunday July 21, 2002

Nan left to go home this morning, it was nice having her here for the week. And I’ve finished The Simpsons Season 2. The episodes are great, but the extra features are probably only worth watching once, they’re nothing too special.

Friday July 26, 2002

The Commonwealth Games are getting underway in Manchester, so they should be interesting. The opening ceremony yesterday was great to watch. I hope we see some of the disabled athletes on the TV, they try very hard and deserve to get some coverage by the media.

Monday July 29, 2002

The Commonwealth Games are going well. I’m supporting the Home Nations – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland mainly – but I’m also supporting Guernsey, as one of my friends lives there.

Jonathan Edwards got gold in the Triple Jump last night, and Paula Radcliffe stormed to a win in the 5,000m, finishing about 20 seconds ahead of everyone else. We’ve won plenty of medals in other things too. The top of the medal table is dominated by Australia in 1st, England in 2nd and Canada in 3rd. It looks like that’s the way it will stay, with those 3 at the top.

But you never know, nothing is guaranteed. There was a 400m women’s hurdles race yesterday. The lady running for England, Natasha Danvers, was doing the best run of her life and was in practically guaranteed bronze position down the home straight – but then tripped over the very last hurdle, so she ended up being last. Such a shame. But at least she knows what she is capable of if anything can be learned from it.

Thursday August 1, 2002

August already! My birthday is on the 25th. I don’t know what I’m going to get yet, although we’re talking perhaps about a DAB digital radio. Apparently the sound quality is brilliant, you can move around without having to change the frequency and there are new stations. I listened to one on the Internet the other day – Planet Rock. It sounds great.

Congratulations to the England team in the Commonwealth Games. They did really well in the final night of the athletics events last night. The organisers put up the words to Land Of Hope And Glory on the giant screen so the crowd could sing along to it. The atmosphere there looked really good.

Apparently the Australians aren’t too happy with us, and they were eager to point out that they are holding the next Commonwealth Games in 2006. For just the athletics events, England were top of the medal table, Australia were in second. Overall, though, Australia dominate the full medal table, England are in second and India third. It finishes on Sunday overall, then next Tuesday the European Athletics Championships start, so hopefully we can do well there too.

Saturday August 3, 2002

Congratulations to everyone in the Commonwealth Games, especially the Home Nations and particularly the England team, who by the end of yesterday had a total of 105 medals! Keep it up! Australia are still winning though, with Ian ‘Thorpedo’ Thorpe having won 5 of a possible 7 gold medals in his races. He is a great swimmer and is very tall with big feet.

Sunday August 4, 2002

Well, this has been an unexpectedly fun day! Last night I got a surprise phone call from Dean, whose wedding reception I went to in May, telling me about a charity competition called It’s A Knockout, based on the old TV gameshow, that was being held locally to me. It’s a charity event raising money for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, who do a super job for all visually impaired people (like him and me). Another of our mates was going to be captain of one of the teams, but he couldn’t make it, so Dean was trying to think of someone to replace him. So I said yes, as I’m up for a bit of fun, and was picked up by Dean this morning.

The event had lots of people attending. There were 24 teams, each consisting of about 10 people and a captain. There was at least 1 visually impaired person in every team. Dean had organised 2 teams. The one I was in was called Anthony’s Angels, after the guy who was going to be captain, but now it was me. Dean’s team was called Deano’s Devils.

There were 3 games in the morning, and 3 in the afternoon, followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and a grand final. And all the games involved getting wet! Practically everyone who turned up was armed with a water pistol, so there were water fights going on quite often – it was encouraged and good fun. The games also often involved foam – basically lots of water and washing-up liquid – and inflatable objects.

The teams were split into groups of 8, each doing a different game before switching to the next. In each game, 2 teams competed against each other, the winner of the 2 getting the points. Plus, if you played the joker card you were given, your points got doubled if you won. To ensure everyone got involved as much as possible, each event was done in a relay form – each team member goes after the last one has been. This carried on until the time limit was up for your particular go.

One game, for instance, involved a slope and a pyramid. The pyramid was made up of inflatable blocks. Each person had to carry 1 block of the pyramid up one side of the slope and slide down the other side. Then you had to re-build the pyramid on the other side. Sounds easy? How about trying to run up an inflatable slope covered in water and foam? It’s very slippery! I managed to run up and over (just!) first time, but it’s harder than it looks or sounds. Many people kept getting close to the top and sliding down again.

Another game involved 2 people at a time running through a big tube with an inflatable log. Once they came out the other end, they had to carry it back through for the next 2 members of the team to do the same. Once all team members had done it (with 11 members, someone had to go once or 3 ended up doing one go together) they had to all sit on the log. Whoever did this first won, obviously. Again, sounds easy, but these tubes were filled with water and foam. We did it so that one person went ahead. The second person then got hold of the log and ran straight into the tube. I managed to slide most of the way through in one go, they weren’t that long. Another slippery game!

Another game involved one member of the team being dressed up like a giant frog, and we’re talking a proper frog costume here with a head and suit. They then had to do an assault course, assisted by the others at various points, collect something, run back to the start, drop it in a bucket, then do it again… and again… and again until the time was up. Not much water involved in that one. And another game involved catapulting wet sponges over a wall for your team mates to catch.

There were a couple of other games, but I think you get the idea. Sadly, my team didn’t make it past the first round of 6 games. But Dean’s team made it all the way to the final, which involved a tug of war, and they became the champions! So all in all, it was a great day. We all had a good laugh for charity, so I hope a lot of money was raised.

2020 Update: In compiling this post, I’ve rediscovered Dean’s old article about the event on his website. One photo is repeated 4 times in error, but at least it’s the one with me in, so that’s the one I’ve included above (I’m on the right in a dark t-shirt)

When I got back, I found out that there had been a powercut during the day – caused by a bird! I don’t know what it did, but it cut the electricity off at the local substation for half an hour while they tried to work out what had caused it. They thought it might have been a little explosion in the substation, but it wasn’t. Hopefully it won’t happen again, they’ve taken the appropriate action apparently.

The Commonwealth Games finish tonight, it’s been great to watch. Well done to England especially, but also to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland who have won some medals each. And well done to the other 68 countries who took part. We’ve got at least 54 golds, which is really good. The last swimming events are happening as I write this, so hopefully our tally will rise before we get the final medal table.

Tuesday August 6, 2002

I got a surprise in the post today – a certificate from the university! It was a commendation because I had achieved an overall 1st class average during the first year. That basically means I got an overall average pass of at least 70% for the year, which I didn’t know. I just knew I’d passed, which was all that mattered. So that’s a boost for the next couple of years!

Other than that, the weather is hot and sunny again! We are so lucky in that we seem to be one of the few parts of the country that haven’t had any storms or floods recently. And the European Athletics Championships have started today, so I’ll be watching some of those.

Thursday August 8, 2002

Great Britain are off to a good start in the European Athletics Championships in Munich, we’ve got a couple of golds and a few other medals.

There was an article about the It’s A Knockout event on Sunday in our free local paper today. It’s believed to have raised over £10,000 for the RNIB, so that’s great news! It happens every year and with money like that coming in it’s easy to see why they keep doing it. Well done all!

Sunday August 11, 2002

Great Britain are doing better than we expected in the European Athletics, considering many of the athletes just did the Commonwealth Games too. Steve Backley won the javelin final, meaning he’s won 4 consecutive European Championships, making it a record. Jonathan Edwards only got bronze for his triple jump, which is still respectable, but Ashia Hansen got gold in the women’s event! And we’ve had other successes too. It’s the last day of the competition today, so it should be good.

Wednesday August 21, 2002

We went shopping today. I got a couple of magazines and a CD of driving songs, as it had some tracks I didn’t know, but by artists I knew. It was cheap too so I thought I’d try it. We’re talking about artists like Duran Duran, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Billy Idol, Whitesnake, etc. A few songs on there I already have, but they are good ones and the majority I don’t own already, which is unusual for a compilation. And I’ve also got Lord Of The Rings on DVD at last. I haven’t watched it yet, but I will soon and let you know what I think.

Saturday August 24, 2002

There was more athletics on TV last night, just a one-day competition this time, and it was good. Jonathan Edwards came 3rd in the Triple Jump and Steve Backley came 6th in the javelin. We didn’t do great, probably because of the Commonwealth and European Championships we’ve just had, it’s been a busy season for the athletes. Dwain Chambers won the 100m though, so that’s good.

Sunday August 25, 2002


I don’t feel any older though, you never do on birthdays. Still, I’ve had a few cards already. As it’s Sunday today, post doesn’t get delivered. So any that missed Saturday’s delivery will have to wait until Tuesday, as Monday’s a Bank Holiday.

I got money from my parents today, and when we go to stay with relatives in London soon I’ll probably go and treat myself to something in the shops – there’s a massive HMV there for a start, with lots of music, videos, games, etc.

Of course, I’m not the only one having a special day, so happy birthday to the following. This is only a selection of people you may know.

You can see lots of facts about today on and as well – they’re fun sites for checking out your birthdays or other important dates. It’s interesting, for example, that on my date of birth the UK #1 was Give It Up by KC & The Sunshine Band, while the US #1 was Every Breath You Take by The Police. Both great songs.

You may also like to know, as a final note, that I watched Lord Of The Rings last night. What a great film! Wow! Now I understand what the rave reviews were about! I think this could overtake The Matrix quite easily as my favourite film. Can’t wait for The Two Towers. Anyway, hope everyone is enjoying themselves today. See ya for now!

Tuesday August 27, 2002

My Dad’s seen Lord Of The Rings now and thinks it’s great, just like I do. I’ll be getting the collector’s edition DVD in November, that’s definite. The DVD I’ve got now is only 2 discs, but the November release will be 4 discs, with 30 minutes extra of the film and 6 hours of special features! So I think it will be well worth getting to replace the standard version, which I got to see if I liked the film in the first place. I didn’t want to buy the more expensive version if I didn’t like it.

When DVD first came out, films were often released without extra features, as companies were trying it out. But now they know what they’re doing, so they’re releasing films again, this time with extra bits. Speed is one example. A classic action film, released at first with just a trailer as an extra feature, just a 1-disc edition. I bought that too! Then they released it again a few months ago, this time with decent features on a separate disc, as they should have done to start with. So it’s great that they’re doing that.

Author: Glen

Love London, love a laugh, love life. Visually impaired blogger, culture vulture & accessibility advocate, with aniridia & nystagmus, posting about my experiences & adventures.

3 thoughts on “Journal – July-August 2002”

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