March 2021 Introduction:
Here’s another month of entries from my old journal. This time I had a lot of fun visiting my best mate to celebrate his 21st birthday, so that was the main thing to report on. I was also assessed for support I might be able to get for work because of my visual impairment, there were lots of DVDs coming out in the run up to Christmas that I was keen to get, and we had Children In Need and other delights on TV. So there’s a variety of things here as usual, and I hope you enjoy!
Friday November 4, 2005
I’ve got my DVD/HDD/VHS recorder back, with a new hard drive. I used it to record Coronation Street to see Status Quo’s appearance last night, as they were at Les Battersby’s wedding. Bit disappointing really, as their only performance at the end of the show was cut short, but it was good to see them in it anyway.
Then talking of repairs, our front door came off on Tuesday! So at work I looked up the number of the company who installed it, and a man went round an hour or so later to fix it. It was something to do with changes causing the door to shrink and grow a bit. There was no charge for it either, thankfully.
Amazon stuff has been coming through bit by bit. I got Oh Doctor Beeching! – Series 2 and the Wallace & Gromit TV shows last weekend. I’ve watched a couple of the Wallace & Gromit shows already, and there are a few extras too. I’ve got Queen & Paul Rodger’s live show too, Return Of The Champions, which I’ll watch this weekend.
And I’ve also got a bunch of Ronnie Barker DVDs, to complete all the major releases of his work that are out, as I wanted to try a few things I haven’t seen before.
- Open All Hours – Series 4
- Clarence – A series about a short-sighted guy trying to get work. It also stars Josephine Tewson, best known as Elizabeth from Keeping Up Appearances.
- The Magnificent Evans – A series about a Welsh photographer whose hands and eyes can wander when women are about.
- Seven Of One – 7 pilot shows starring, a couple of which were written by Ronnie himself. Two of them ended up being full series – Prisoner & Escort (which became Porridge) and Open All Hours.
- Porridge: The Movie – Completes my Porridge collection.
Ronnie Barker was a great friend of David Jason, of course, which leads me nicely to the complete box set of Only Fools and Horses. There are 25 discs, in a leopard-skin photo album box, containing all 7 series, all the specials, and a documentary. It looks great online and is much cheaper and easier than buying everything separately. Trouble is, it hasn’t arrived yet, despite being dispatched last Saturday. I hope it comes soon.
2021 Update: I eventually got rid of Clarence, The Magnificent Evans and Seven Of One, as they weren’t very good compared to Ronnie’s more popular shows. But it was interesting to see them out of curiosity. The pilots for Porridge and Open All Hours are provided as extras on the DVDs for those shows anyway, so I haven’t lost those.
Thursday November 10, 2005
Our builder was at the house today, and will be back again tomorrow, doing some more work on the front, including guttering and a new bell. And I didn’t get Only Fools And Horses after all – Amazon say that DHL tried to deliver but couldn’t get a signature, so it’s being returned to them, and I’m getting a refund. If they did try, why didn’t they leave a card or note? Mum’s been in all week, so she’s unlikely to have missed them. I might try ordering again from them soon and see what happens.
I am getting other stuff delivered though, as I did an order last weekend:
- Live 8 – 4 discs, as with Live Aid, including lots of extras.
- Status Quo – The Party Ain’t Over Yet – A documentary plus lots of rare and live footage on 2 discs.
- Red Dwarf – Series 7 – Has 3 discs, because there are more episodes, plus extended versions of a few of them, and a lost episode, and tons of extras.
- The Who – Tommy and Quadrophenia Live – 2 discs, 1 for each of those live mini operas, plus a bonus 3rd disc of other live tracks.
Tomorrow I’m off to Bournemouth for a few days, as it’s my best mate’s 21st birthday. His cousin will be there too, so all 3 of us will squeeze into my mate’s bedroom at the university. I’ll be back on Monday, and I’ve got Friday and Monday off work. So it should be a great weekend! I’ll write the entries for those days after I get back.
Friday November 11, 2005
On Friday evening I travelled to Bournemouth. My second train was delayed, so when my mate’s cousin (SP) got off his flight he actually got on to my train coming through Southampton, but we didn’t know until after we’d got off. We suspected that it might have happened, but couldn’t be bothered to look for each other. I only had to change trains once on my way up (at Basingstoke), which was good, and I was about 45 minutes late in the end.
After we met my best mate SM at his house on the university campus, which he shares with a few other students, the 3 of us did a bit of shopping at Asda, getting some food and drinks. Then that night we met a few of SM’s friends in Dylan’s (the university bar), before going on to The Old Fire Station, a nightclub so called because it uses the old fire station building. That was good fun, and some random girl even gave me a kiss on the cheek, leaving a big lipstick mark that I had to wash off the next morning! We left when the club closed, went back to SM’s flat, and went to bed.
SP and I slept on the floor in SM’s bedroom over the weekend, in our sleeping bags. SM and his friend TB lent us their sleeping bags as well, to put under us as makeshift mattresses. I had TB’s – it’s not very thick, but it did help a bit. Mind you, SP was so knackered on Friday night he just dropped off to sleep still fully clothed, and didn’t bother getting into his sleeping bag anyway!
Saturday November 12, 2005
On Saturday we didn’t get up until the afternoon – hardly surprising after our late night! We met up with SM’s brother-in-law for lunch. He couldn’t hang around after that, as he had to get home.
SM, SP and myself then had a game of crazy golf. Last time I visited Bournemouth it was raining, so this was the first time I’d played it there. It was good fun, and I got a hole-in-one on the first 2 holes, plus another one later on, so I had 3 in total. SP actually won on points though, as I wasn’t that good on all of the other holes. My score was 63 over 18 holes, so that’s 3.5 shots per hole, which isn’t bad. After that we had a quick walk along the beach and popped into the arcade, where SM played me at air hockey, consistently beating me 7-4, 7-4, 7-4.
That night we met SM’s friend TB, who’s good fun. She gave SM some shot glasses for his birthday, though I didn’t bother having shots with them – I tried a bit of Jack Daniels whiskey, but it’s disgusting! We then went up to Dylan’s and had a couple of pizzas between us, which were very nice.
We then went on to the Elements nightclub, and alternated between the dance area and the 70s area (2 of the 3 different parts in that club). I much preferred the 70s bit, as did SM, as we could sing along to the great tracks they were playing – Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, Bon Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer and Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger were all played. We didn’t have lots of drinks in the nightclub, but we’d already had some at SM’s flat and in Dylan’s, so our drinking was fairly spread out through the night. I drank the least, of course, but that’s just me, and I still had fun.
After Elements we went to a kebab shop for a quick bite to eat, where I had a chicken shish kebab. We then spent half an hour at least waiting for a taxi in the cold, before going back to TB’s for a quick non-alcoholic drink. And then us guys went back to SM’s flat, finally crashing into bed at about 5:30am! And yes, we did walk back from TB’s, which took just over half an hour. Mad at that time of the morning, maybe, but it’s not very far really.
Sunday November 13, 2005
Sunday was SM’s birthday, but again we didn’t bother getting up in the morning. None of us were hung-over, it’s just because we went to bed so late in the first place! We got up not long after midday and had a small fry-up of bacon, sausages and eggs – although I didn’t have the eggs, as I’ve never liked them.
In the afternoon, we met up with TB again, and tried to go bowling. But the Megabowl appeared to be shut, and attempts to ring them were either engaged or the number wasn’t recognised. Perhaps they’ve shut down. So we all went for a game of crazy golf instead. We only just got in, as it was getting dark and they were closing (there were a few lights around the course though). No holes-in-one for me today, but TB got one. She wasn’t keen on doing crazy golf, but enjoyed herself anyway. She also beat me by 1 point, and I equalled my Saturday score of 63.
We had another quick stroll down the beach and into the arcade, before heading back to TB’s. We ordered pizzas from Dominos for our tea, which were delicious. We had ham and pineapple with double cheese, and a meaty feast. Both pizzas were large and had stuffed crusts, so were very, very filling!
The 4 of us then had a game of poker with SM’s large print cards and his poker chips. The other 3 played for shots for the winner and loser of each round. I wasn’t great at it, but SP was out well before me, which is something. I’m glad I didn’t have to take the shots though, as I had to keep folding because of the rubbish hands I was dealt! We also had some Viennetta for pudding, and then SM, SP and myself headed back.
The 3 of us nipped up to Dylan’s to see if any of SM’s friends were about. But being about 10:30pm already, they weren’t. We had a quick drink anyway though. We then headed back to SM’s flat and watched Team America: World Police on DVD. They’d been going on about it all weekend, and it’s by the makers of South Park. It’s very rude, and very funny. Quite how they got away with some bits I don’t know. It’s basically a spoof movie about a group called Team America trying to defeat terrorists, but blowing up everything in their path in the process, including important landmarks. They recruit an actor to infiltrate the terrorist’s groups, and it goes on from there. It takes the mickey out of America and various films, with some funny songs too. I don’t want to buy it myself, but I’m glad I watched it.
Monday November 14, 2005
Today my train left Bournemouth at 9:11am. I would have got a later train, but the online booking service restricts what combinations you can get. I also had to change twice (Southampton Central and Bristol Temple Meads). The latter is a huge station, and my train was on the last platform (15). My last train was a bit late, just like my journey on Friday, but not by as much. I got home about 2:40pm, so that’s not bad.
I got home to find my next lot of Amazon stuff had been delivered, so now I’ve got even more stuff to watch – Live 8, Status Quo, Red Dwarf and The Who as mentioned in my earlier entry. Our builder also did the work he wanted to do, and the skip of rubbish was collected just after I got home. There’s a light outside the front now, like we used to have in the past, so that’ll be handy for coming home in the dark.
I’m also going to check out a fun website soon that my mate’s cousin showed me called eBaum’s World. It has some great jokes on there and lots of other stuff. The videos are rather extreme though, I’m told, with people getting badly injured and stuff, so I might avoid those!
Anyway, it’s been a great weekend. It was great fun, great to see SM and his cousin again, and great to meet some of his mates. He’s down in Exeter for an eye check-up in December, so will stay with a friend of ours for a couple of days. I’ll try and arrange to meet them then. But for the moment I’ll sleep well tonight I expect, before it’s back to the daily grind tomorrow.
Thursday November 17, 2005
A lady called Jenny came in to work this week to look at equipment I might need to make my work more comfortable. She does this freelance, and was pointed to me from my support worker Colin via the RNIB I think. She stayed for over an hour, and we had a good chat. The suggestions that came out of it were:
- A dome magnifier for normal reading.
- An electronic hand-held magnifier, that is basically a flat screen with a camera and a light. I can see very small print using that, and you can even angle the camera to read things on walls.
- Lunar, a software package that allows you to enlarge things on the screen. Not just the whole screen, but bits of it too. So, for instance, you can see an individual spreadsheet cell zoomed in, while still being able to see the rest of the spreadsheet around it in normal size. So it means you can still see things in relation to each other. She demonstrated it to me, and it looks very useful. It should mean I don’t have to lean forward to view the screen so much. The Macs have clever zoom functions built-in as standard, which I didn’t know until this week! I’ll have a play with it when I get a free moment.
- A CCTV that can plug into the computer monitor and use a ‘split-screen’ function, so you can look at either the paper document, the computer screen, or both at the same time on one screen. I didn’t see this in action, but she’ll try and arrange for a demo.
Colin also rang and said he understood my letter, as I had to write to him to explain why it would be safer for me to get taxis to and from work instead of buses. It costs more than the buses, but it’s worth it for the safety and convenience.
At home, I ordered the Only Fools and Horses box set again, directly from the BBC this time after Amazon’s failed delivery. It came on Wednesday, and is very well presented, like a big leopard skin photo album. It takes up very little space, far less than if I’d bought all of the individual series and specials on their own.
But it’s not just DVDs I’ve got to watch (and I am getting quite a backlog now!). On the TV, Channel 4 have been doing their Hall of Fame season, with the new lot of inductees being brought in tonight (including The Who, The Kinks and Pink Floyd). They’ve been doing some very good programmes, including documentaries on Queen, The Who, The World’s Greatest Gigs, and a U2 concert.
Saturday November 19, 2005
Children In Need was on last night, and was good fun as usual. Nothing particularly awe-inspiring, but all for a good cause. The performance of Bohemian Rhapsody by the BBC newsreaders was pretty good, and we got a good glimpse of the new Doctor Who in a scene following on directly from his regeneration at the end of the first series. It looks like David Tennant will be good in the role. Tony Blair made an appearance with his Dead Ringers counterpart (impressionist Jon Culshaw), and Catherine Tate brought her “bovvered” Lauren character to Eastenders to meet Peggy Mitchell.
There was also tap dancing from Bruce Forsyth and break dancing from Terry Wogan, as seen in the trailers (sure, we all know it’s a body double, but it’s still fun). Music came from artists including Status Quo, Liberty X, Madonna, Rod Stewart, Chas ‘N’ Dave, Tommy Steele with the cast of Scrooge, the cast of Fame, the cast of Emmerdale doing High Society, and other soap stars and music stars.
By the end of the night they had raised £17.2 million, slightly up on last year, so it’s great that they’re still doing well. As one of the stars said, your childhood years are supposed to be the best of your life, but for many children they’re not, so the money’s really important.
I’ve also done yet another Amazon order, as if I haven’t got enough to watch:
- Doctor Who – Series 1
- The Vicar Of Dibley – The Complete Collection – Box set of the series
- The Vicar Of Dibley – A Very Dibley Christmas – The specials from last year, which aren’t in the box set.
- Harry Hill – Hooves – A new live show, and about time!
- Queen – A Night At The Opera – Remastered for its 30th anniversary, with a bonus DVD featuring new videos and commentaries.
I’m going to have so much to work through over Christmas. Why do they have to release so much good stuff at once?!
Friday November 26, 2005
It’s been a busy week at work, but at home it’s been pretty quiet. The weather’s been pretty cold, and I’ve had a cold to contend with, but it didn’t stop me going to work. It’s not like the one I had earlier in the year – if the worst spell of that one had been during the week, I would have had a day or two off work for sure. Still, the cold weather has given us a little bit of snow. It was good to see it, even if it didn’t settle.
I’ve started watching my Doctor Who DVDs. Apart from the great episodes, I love the Tardis packaging, the extras look cool, and it’s wonderful to see an audio description option. Is it too hard for people to put it on their DVDs otherwise? If they can record descriptions for digital TV viewers, surely they can copy that audio for the DVD? I don’t need to use it myself, but I think Dad will use it if he watches it.