April 2021 Introduction:
Time to finish off another year from my old journal, and there’s a lot packed into this latest collection of entries, including updates about my Access To Work support, meeting up with friends, our first look at digital TV, more DVD and music purchases, and news stories that caught my eye. Plus of course there’s plenty of talk about Christmas. And I conclude with my most extensive end-of-year recap so far, including reminders of news stories that weren’t mentioned in my journal entries during the year but were still important or interesting. So I hope you enjoy it all!
Friday December 2, 2005
Phew, what a week. It’s been busy at work again, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes in frustrating ways. The best news is that one of my support workers has sent me the report from the RNIB recommending various bits and pieces to help me (magnifiers, software, etc). So I’ll show it to my manager, and they can then arrange what to get and sort out what their contribution will be to the costs.
Talking of money, I’ve been buying some more Amazon stuff. Mainly CDs this time:
- Have I Got News For You – Best Of The Guest Presenters – Volume 2 DVD – I see Boris Johnson has his own disc again, and he’s just appeared in the new series. It’s always a good laugh when he does the show.
- John Peel Tribute Album – A collection of songs that John Peel championed during his career. Many of them I don’t know, but I have heard of some of the artists, so it should be interesting.
- Madness – Girl Why Don’t You – CD single.
- Slade – The Very Best Of – CD & DVD editions
- Status Quo – Don’t Stop – A covers album they released for their 30th anniversary, which was 10 years ago.
In the news this week:
- A French woman has had a partial face transplant. She was attacked by her dog, which was trying to save her from a suicide attempt, but bit off much of her face around her nose and mouth. The operation appears to have been a success so far. She will have to take drugs for the rest of her life to stop her immune system attacking her new face.
- David Jason received his knighthood from the Queen. It also emerged that he secretly married his long-term partner Gill Hinchcliffe.
I’ve got 4 days off now. On Monday, I’m going shopping with Mum and Dad in Torquay. Then on Tuesday I’m meeting my best mate in Exeter, as he’s coming down for an eye check-up at the hospital there. So it’ll be nice a short week at work after that.
Sunday December 4, 2005
Yesterday we booked a guy from the Yellow Pages to come and install a new aerial for us, so we could get digital TV. He came round today and set it all up, so I think we’ve got a proper wideband aerial now. We still had our old Pace digital box, so he used that to check the digital reception. It picked up most of the channels, and in very good quality, but it is a few years old, and extremely out of date (it’s never been used, so has never downloaded any software updates). Not a bad price either, just over £200 for the aerial and a few other bits and pieces like cables and an aerial amplifier.
Monday December 5, 2005
Mum, Dad and I went to The Willows in Torquay today, going there and back by taxi. We got a few Christmas cards in Sainsbury’s and some Christmas food in Marks & Spencer. Neither store had a great selection of each e.g. Mum and Dad couldn’t find a fully royal iced Christmas cake in M&S, which they like. But we did get mince pies, which are always good.
But our main stop was Comet, where first we got 2 new Philips Freeview boxes, so we have one for each TV. They were very easy to set up, giving us quite a few channels. I’ve removed the stations we’d have to pay for, but there’s still over 30 left. And we can now press the red button when they say we can. There still isn’t always much on to watch, but it is good to have more choice. And we can get some radio stations using it too. Not all the ones you can get on DAB radio, and some are different. The BBC ones are there though. It’s the independent, commercial ones that are different. There is a bit of interactive text on the screen too, so you can see programme info, playlists and other information.
It means we can now get Channel 5, as well as the extra BBC, ITV and Channel 4 stations (ITV2, BBC3, E4, etc). And there’s news channels from BBC, ITV and Sky. Sky have a Sports News channel too. There’s 3 shopping channels, though quite why anybody buys the cheap, tacky stuff they sell I don’t know. And the presenters have to talk a lot about it, even though there’s not much to say. There’s also a quiz channel called Quiz Call. I feel a bit sorry for those presenters trying to fill in the time while waiting for someone to call in. Not sorry enough to waste my money on calling myself though!
The BBCi service is good – like Ceefax, but on digital. There’s news multi-screen (where you can watch the headlines or special news items), interactive services for special programmes, and so on. ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News have their own text services on digital too. The text services can be a bit slower than normal teletext, but the text and graphics are clearer. No photographs, though, just graphics.
Like I say, it’s good to have the extra choice, and some good stuff does pop up. There’s a Doctor Who extra via the red button after the Christmas Day episode (yes, we’ve got the Christmas Radio Times already), so that should be good, and the main episode itself sounds cool.
Anyway, back to Comet, and next we bought 2 new digital radios, as the ones that Dad and I had were broken, due to a circuit or lead not working properly. And mine’s pretty good. It’s got a nice blue screen with white text, so it’s easier to read, and the sound quality’s great too.
Finally, we got Dad a mobile phone. Only £30, on Orange. It’s so he can use it in emergencies. When he’s waiting for his taxi after work, he’s outside and the office is locked up, so he can’t phone to tell us if he’ll be late. Which is a bit frustrating, as you can imagine. We haven’t set it up fully yet, and we still need to register it with them to get a phone number. But it’s small and basic, which is all he needs. No camera, WAP or other fancy stuff.
Tuesday December 6, 2005
I went into Exeter and met my mates S & A today. They’re both doing fine. We went into a Wetherspoons pub, and they had some breakfast as they hadn’t yet eaten (but I already had). We then had a little wander around the shops, and I got a few Christmas cards that we couldn’t find in Sainsbury’s on Monday, plus a large print calendar for Dad.
S then went for his eye appointment at the hospital, so I continued to go with with A around the shops while she got some Christmas stuff. The two of us then went and had a quick drink and a game of pool in a pub while waiting for S to come back.
Once S had returned, we then had a late lunch in McDonald’s (as it was about 3pm), and we even tried an After Eight McFlurry. Not as good as some of the others they’ve done (like the Creme Egg one), as this was a bit too minty. The sticky, minty stuff inside After Eights is fairly strong normally anyway, so to have quite a bit of it mixed with ice cream is going a bit far perhaps.
We then went bowling. The Megabowl in Exeter is now called Tenpin, which is a pretty boring name. Our bowling performances varied over the 3 games we did, but we all got good scores at one point or another, and we each got a few strikes and spares. And they turned on the ‘cosmic bowling’ effect, which I didn’t know of. It shines ultraviolet light on the alley, which looks really cool, but does make it harder to see what you’re doing. The sides of the lanes had a runway-style lighting effect as well, with the lights flying up and down the alley. The music was pretty upbeat too, nothing too bad.
After that we went back to A’s flat for an hour or so, then me and S went over to the college to say hello to C, the only student we know there now. We didn’t bump into any members of staff that we knew. S and C ordered pizza, but I couldn’t hang around for that,, sadly, as I had to go into town to get the train home.
There has been another change at the school though, as the Scout Hut’s been demolished. It was a drama studio and Design & Technology room, but they’ve now taken it down. D&T is near the medical block now. They are going to put something else there apparently, but we don’t know what. It was a tatty old building, without much of a purpose, so it would be better to have something new there. Anyway, I got the train home, getting indoors about 10:40pm. So it was a nice long day, considering I left in the morning about 9am.
Wednesday December 7, 2005
I haven’t missed too much at work. Things are still fairly busy, but it is calmer than it has been. My section manager showed me a bit about how to use the plotter, that prints big items such as posters.
Not much else to report though. I’ve got all the CDs and DVDs from my latest Amazon order, and have started listening to them. As for the news, the main story is that David Cameron is the new Tory leader, and lots of things have been going on to mark the 25th anniversary of John Lennon’s assassination.
Saturday December 17, 2005
I’ve started using taxis to get to work, under the Access To Work scheme. The only thing is I’ve had to change companies already. The service with the first company was very good, but the payment side of things wasn’t suitable. The Access To Work estimate was £8.60, but they’re charging me £9.00. And the drivers prefer me to pay every trip, in case I have different drivers (which I did for all the journeys I had on Thursday and Friday). That would mean I have to write out 40 cheques each month and send off 40 receipts each month.
In comparison, the firm that Dad uses have set a price for me of £8.00 per trip, and are happy for me to pay weekly, which means only 4 cheques and 4 receipts each month. So I’m starting with them from next week.
Another discovery I’ve made this week is that I can record digital TV after all, which I didn’t think I could, so that’s good. The music channels do some good stuff if you catch them at the right time – there was an air guitar set on one of them last night. There’s lots of modern stuff too, of course, but they do play some decent oldies if you’re lucky.
In the news, the biggest story occurred last Sunday, with massive explosions at an oil refinery in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. Thankfully, it wasn’t terrorists, just an awful accident. It happened at just after 6am, and there were reports of the explosion being heard as far away as France & Holland! A blanket of cooler air stopped the explosion radiating upwards and sent it sideways instead. The huge black smoke cloud could be seen from satellite pictures, and is probably still not gone yet. Motorways were closed and people living nearby evacuated. Much of the depot’s buildings were destroyed, and houses nearby had windows blown out and suffered structural damage.
Only 4 people were seriously injured, with others being treated for minor injuries. No oil tanker drivers were in the vicinity, as they leave for deliveries at 4am. There’s no need for motorists to panic-buy, though – there are contingency plans in place so that supplies are not disrupted. With something as volatile as oil, you need to have backup plans just in case. The fire service have done very well putting out the blazes this week. It hasn’t been easy, but the worst seems to be over. It might take a while for the huge cloud of smoke to clear, it all depends on the weather.
Also in the news this week:
- Rick Parfitt from Status Quo could have throat cancer, due to years of heavy smoking. Let’s hope he recovers.
- The ITV News Channel is to shut down in the New Year. It’s been open since 2000, but has lost out to BBC News 24 and Sky News. I go to BBC News 24 if a big story breaks, like the oil depot blast this week.
- Peter Jackson’s version of King Kong has opened worldwide. Judging by the Lord Of The Rings series, this should be a great film.
Other than that, our Christmas lunch at work is on Thursday, at a pub near our offices. And my parents have got their presents, as I asked them what they wanted and ordered them. I got Dad a film on DVD – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly – and Mum’s gift is the oldest surviving BBC Radio dramatisation of a Paul Temple story, which they’ll both listen to.
Friday December 23, 2005
It’s been a good week, and there hasn’t been lots of work to do. Yesterday, my colleagues and I had our Christmas meal at the Jolly Judge pub in Torquay. And it was nice. I had soup, then roast beef (generous serving too, with lots of meat), and finally a chocolate truffle with cream. And we were all there. The dinner took up all afternoon, so we didn’t go back to work afterwards.
Today wasn’t much of a work day either, and we all left early (I left at 3pm). A guy who’s doing some temp work for us at the moment also does disco and karaoke gigs in his spare time, so he bought in a karaoke machine and TV, and set them up. In the end, hardly anyone went up to the microphone, but everyone had a bit of a sing-song at some point. It was a good laugh, and there was a bit of grub there as well (sandwiches, sausage rolls, that sort of stuff), so it was a nice waste of an afternoon!
I’ve been using the new taxi company this week, and they’ve stuck to their £8.00 charge. There were one or two initial mix-ups between me and Dad, as they now have 2 customers with the same surname at the same address, so we just have to make sure we quote our own account numbers as well as our names. I’ve had different drivers for all 10 trips this week, and today’s had a Rolling Stones album on, the best music I’ve heard in the cabs all week!
At home, our builder’s been in yesterday and today to fix our boiler, which stopped doing its job – not good at Christmas time! The system had got clogged up with dirt and stuff, so he flushed all the radiators through to clean it all out, and replaced the valve, and that seemed to do the trick. He also gave us a big box of Swiss chocolates from him and his family, and they’re delicious. They give us something every year, which is nice of them.
In the news this week, Britain’s first gay marriages (civil partnerships to use the technical term) took place on Monday. It became legal in England on Wednesday – Elton John and David Furnish tied the knot on that day. And Rick Parfitt from Status Quo has been given the all clear after his cancer scare, which is great.
And that’s about it. 4 days off for Christmas now!
Monday December 26, 2005
Well, that’s another Christmas over with. It was a nice relaxing day, with a lovely Christmas dinner. Last year I said we made our own pigs in blankets (sausages in bacon), as they taste better than buying them ready made. I change my opinion this year – we bought them ready made from Tesco to try them, and they were delicious. And the turkey was great too. In terms of presents, I got hankies and shirts from my nan, aunt and uncle, while my parents are giving me money to invest in Premium Bonds. Nothing overly exciting, but all useful things.
The Christmas Invasion from Doctor Who was brilliant. David Tennant looks like he’ll be great as The Doctor. There was an interactive Doctor Who adventure called Attack Of The Graske via the red button after the show. I tried it, but it kept freezing up after I made choices. Clearly our box’s software can’t cope with something that fancy yet. However, I was able to watch the two separate video channels that BBC use for their Red Button service, as they can be watched on channels 301 & 302 on the digibox. So I could watch the channel where you always pick the wrong answers, and then the channel where you always get it right, meaning I still saw it all. The Two Ronnies Sketchbook was also great, and also poignant as it was Ronnie Barker’s last ever recording before he died.
My friend A rang on Christmas Eve, which was a nice surprise. She’s invited me to meet up with her and her dad tomorrow for a drink, and then stay over with her and another friend on New Years Eve. My best mate S had a good Christmas too – they had beef wellington instead of turkey for a change, and he got lots of presents as he’s got a fairly big family. And that’s all I’ve got to say really. That’s another Christmas over already!
Wednesday December 28, 2005
I met up with A on Tuesday, as she was nearby staying with her dad. We went to the pub for a drink first, and then to the cinema to see The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe, the first of the Narnia stories. She’d already seen it twice before, but wanted to see it again. It was good, with some big stars, including Dawn French doing the voice of a beaver. The talking animals were probably the funniest parts, and Aslan the lion was done well.
A’s dad then picked us up and drove us back to his house, where she’s staying, after stopping off for a quick bit of grocery shopping on the way. I told him about my job, and he told me he’s working for a firm who will be looking for people to help in their accountancy department. But I’m happy where I am now, and he knows that. it’s handy to know for future reference though, just in case.
A and I had a game of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, the 3rd of the DVD versions, which you play on your telly. It’s pretty good, but a bit slow. Then her dad cooked tea for us – chicken with jacket potatoes and vegetables, which was nice. After that we watched a bit of TV, seeing The Two Ronnies Sketchbook and The Vicar Of Dibley. So it was a fun day. And I’m staying over at A’s place in Exeter with her and another of our friends for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. I’ll come back home on the bank holiday Monday, ready for work on Tuesday.
So that’s practically another year over with. As I’ll be away on New Years Eve, I’ll finish this year’s journal today, with a summary of the key events of 2005:
- The year kicks off at midnight with the most spectacular New Year’s display on the Thames I’ve ever seen. Pity I only saw it on TV.
- At work, final preparations are made for the new financial system to get up and running. I have to go in over one weekend – the only weekend I had to work all year, thankfully. My contract currently runs until the start of March.
- Tributes are paid to the victims of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Radio Aid – 260 stations working together for 12 hours – raises £3m, while a big concert in Cardiff raises £1.25m.
- Jerry Springer: The Opera brings in over 3,000 complaints, most before it’s even been shown on TV.
- The US admits that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction.
- Prince Harry gets in hot water after wearing a German uniform bearing a swastika at a fancy dress party.
- NASA successfully land a probe on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons – the furthest away a man-made probe has ever landed.
- The new financial system goes live at work, but there is still plenty of work to be done on it.
- Nan’s cat Sandy dies. as he was very weak and had to be put down.
- Ellen MacArthur breaks the world record for sailing solo round the world.
- The hunting ban comes into force.
- The Beckhams have their 3rd child – Cruz.
- IKEA open a new store near London at midnight, unprepared for the 4,000 people who turn up, and the resulting fuss leads to 1 person being stabbed and people leaving their cars on the North Circular causing further disruption.
- Gay penguins are discovered at a German zoo, after the zoo split them up to trya nd get them to breed with the females.
- Dirty Den is killed off for good in Eastenders, though I didn’t care as I don’t watch it.
- Some cast members in The Bill die after a huge explosion at the station, the second in 3 years, and it’s also the end of an era as Jim Carver leaves (not killed, thankfully).
- Angels by Robbie Williams is voted the best song of the past 25 years at the Brit Awards, and Thriller by Michael Jackson is voted Best Music Video by Channel 4 viewers.
- My contract is extended until March 31st.
- A friend from school sadly dies of pneumonia.
- Michael Jackson’s trial for child sex offences starts (he is cleared of all charges in June).
- The government’s anti-terror laws are defeated by the House of Lords.
- Jamie Oliver campaigns, with much success, for school dinners to be improved. It turns out that prisoners get more money per meal than school kids. He even persuades the Government to take some action.
- Lord Callaghan, a popular Labour MP, dies a day before his 93rd birthday.
- A Scottish factory worker is crowned the world’s fastest texter.
- An episode of Doctor Who is leaked onto the web 3 weeks early. But when it arrives properly on TV, it blows everyone away. For a solid 13 weeks, there was actually something worth watching on Saturday nights. We salute you, Christopher Eccleston, great job.
- The Two Ronnies Sketchbook starts, and turns out to be Ronnie Barker’s last ever TV appearances, as he sadly dies later in the year.
- Our Eurovision entry is decided – Javine. Jordan comes second, and makes her feelings very clear. But despite her having tons of publicity, the song was still crap, and the public didn’t vote for it.
- The Simpsons is voted Best Cartoon by Channel 4 viewers.
- The Office is voted Best Comedy in a Comic Relief poll. Comic Relief night itself is good, with Spider-Plant Man and Celebrity Fame Academy. And although McFly did the official single, they were beaten hands down by the song of the year – Peter Kay & Tony Christie performing Is This The Way To Amarillo? One of the few singles I’ve ever bought, and it stays at number 1 for several weeks. The final total on the night was over £37m (and that usually doubles over the year).
- My contract gets extended a second time – to April 29th. It’s then extended a third time for another 3 months, until the end of July.
- We have fun with the drains at home after a firm clear out next door’s due to a funny smell, and push everything into ours!
- Car firm MG Rover goes bust, after a deal with the Chinese fails.
- Pope John Paul II dies, and is replaced by a German Pope (Joseph Ratzinger, who becomes Benedict XVI).
- Prince Rainier of Monaco also passes away.
- Abigail Witchalls is stabbed in the neck while out with her toddler son and is paralysed, but has thankfully regained some movement over the year. The prime suspect kills himself as the investigation gathers pace.
- Prince Charles is caught slagging off BBC interviewer Nicholas Witchell. Don’t mutter under your breath with microphones around! But he was a bit fed up with all the press attention over his marriage to Camilla Parker-Bowles, which took place later in the month.
- The charts incorporate downloads for the first time. That doesn’t stop Amarillo getting to number one again.
- Paula Radcliffe wins the women’s race in the London Marathon.
- Lou & Andy at the swimming pool (Little Britain) is voted the Best Comedy Sketch by Channel 4 viewers. Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch was in 2nd place. How Little Britain beat that all-time classic is beyond me.
- Channel 4 viewers vote Radiohead’s OK Computer as the Best Album. Queen’s A Night At The Opera is #13.
- Labour win the General Election, but with a reduced majority (66 compared to 160).
- France vote Non to the EU constitution.
- The 60th anniversary of VE Day is celebrated. Given that the war finished in 1945, there were a number of other 60-year celebrations during 2005 as well.
- The Airbus A380, the biggest passenger plane, completes its first test flight. It can hold up to 500 people.
- A train derails in Japan, hitting a building and killing many people. And in England, a car crashes into the first floor of a house after flying 20 feet into the air. It then falls into the garden and bursts into flames.
- A shopping centre in Kent bans hoodies over fears of anti-social behaviour being associated with kids wearing them.
- The Beckhams sue their ex-nanny over tabloid allegations. And talking of tabloids, The Sun publishes a picture of Saddam Hussein in prison, in his underwear, doing his washing.
- Malcolm Glazer, an American entrepreneur, takes over Manchester United, despite much protest from the fans. In happier football news, Liverpool win the Champions League final, after a tense penalty shoot-out. And in boxing, Amir Khan defeats the man who beat him in the Olympics.
- The new BBC 3D weather maps cause a storm after Scotland appears much smaller in the distance at the top, there are no wind speeds (the BBC say nobody tends to use them), and others don’t like the map being brown instead of green (the BBC say it is for clarity when looking at the rain and sun). The maps are changed slightly in response to the complaints, with Scotland made bigger.
- The Simpsons reach their 350th episode.
- Amarillo is finally knocked off the number 1 spot after 7 weeks at the top, but doesn’t drop out of the Top 40 for a while afterwards. Kylie Minogue is diagnosed with breast cancer, which is cured during the year. We end up 3rd from bottom in the Eurovision Song Contest. And many people feel like shooting the Crazy Frog after his annoying Axel F ringtone is played to death on TV, and it even gets to the top of the music charts.
- And finally, a woman in Swansea was wearing a pair of vibrating panties she had bought from Ann Summers while shopping in ASDA, but got so much pleasure from them that she passed out and hit her head on a shelf!
- I stay with a couple of friends in Exeter for a week and a half. We meet some other mates, go out clubbing, see the last Star Wars film, play bowling and visit our old school.
- We have new windows put in all the upstairs rooms at the back of the house, and have a porch and new steps at the front.
- I apply for an accounts job with another company, but don’t get anywhere. At the Council, Payroll miss my wages for a month, thinking I’d finished, but that was sorted in the end.
- Some big names are rewarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, including David Jason (Sir), Brian May (CBE) and Jimmy Page (OBE).
- Michael Jackson is found not guilty on all charges of child abuse.
- The US Grand Prix is a shambles, with only 6 cars starting, after the wrong tyres were chosen by Michelin, who supply 3 of the teams.
- The first series of Doctor Who finishes after 13 brilliant weeks.
- My contract is extended until mid-September.
- A busy news month for London starts with the Live 8 concerts, the aim being to convince the leaders at the G8 summit to tackle world poverty. There is some level of success, but still much work to do. The main London concert was great, with the first ever live performance of Sgt Pepper by Paul McCartney and U2, and a special Pink Floyd reunion.
- London is in the news twice in the following week. First, there are celebrations after the city wins the 2012 Olympics. But the elation is short-lived…
- Terrorists detonate 3 bombs on the Tube and 1 on a bus, killing many people in a sick act. Al-Qaeda is suspected, considering it coincides with the G8 Summit. But their actions fail to stop people getting on with their lives, and London is soon back to normality, as much as it can be. Investigations reveal all sorts of info about the bombers, including the possibility that they were duped into killing themselves. And the emergency services have to be congratulated for everything they did in such difficult circumstances. Queen & Paul Rodgers delay their concert by a week and invite all the emergency personnel along to Hyde Park for a free and poignant show, where they play a special version of John Lennon’s Imagine.
- A second, thankfully failed, bombing attempt is made in London 3 weeks later. And police wrongly shoot dead a Brazilian man at Stockwell station, believing him to be a terrorist. Investigations take place throughout the rest of the year, as it seems they shouldn’t have even had suspicions, and he was shot more times than was necessary (including 7 in the head).
- Countdown host Richard Whiteley dies at 61. After much debate, Countdown returns later in the year, with guest presenters to begin with, and then new permanent host Des Lynam. Other deaths include Luther Vandross (54), Edward Heath (89), and the voices of Tigger and Piglet.
- Birmingham is hit by a mini-tornado.
- The end of the Second World War is marked with services and celebrations.
- Amir Khan makes his professional boxing debut.
- Another Chinese company make an offer for MG Rover, but the deal collapses again.
- US astronomers claim to have discovered a 10th planet.
- An Irish woman wins £77 million on the Euromillions draw, after it rolls over 9 times.
- I turn 22, and my main present is a VCR/DVD/HDD recorder.
- I apply for the post of Pre-Press Supervisor at the Council, the post I’d been filling temporarily until it could be formally created. My interview takes place on the 30th with my section and department managers.
- The 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing is remembered.
- Robin Cook dies, aged 59. He had quit the cabinet over the war on Iraq – an MP who left on principle, very rare. And Mo Mowlam dies at the age of 55.
- America is battered by Hurricane Katrina, and it’s not the only storm to hit them. New Orleans and Louisiana is badly hit.
- British Airways have yet another bad summer when catering staff go on strike, causing substantial delays.
- Kelly Holmes runs her last race on British soil prior to her retirement.
- The mystery over Piano Man deepened. He was found soaking wet on a beach earlier in the year, and wouldn’t speak, but apparently could play the piano well. Nobody could find out who he was. Now it transpires that he couldn’t play a note, and was suddenly able to speak again. He just left suddenly to be with his family in Germany. It looks like it was some sort of strange hoax, wasting the valuable time of medical professionals.
- I get the job of Pre-Press Supervisor! I am initially on a shortlist of 2, but am given the job after I am offered an interview for another post I had also applied for within the Council. I also meet a guy called Chris regarding Access to Work support.
- England win the Ashes cricket tournament against Australia, which we haven’t done for some time. 2005 put cricket back into the public consciousness, with more people taking interest after a well-fought series of matches.
- The cleanup after Hurricane Katrina continues, and Hurricane Rita soon follows.
- ITV is 50 years old, and its favourite show is voted as Coronation Street, which Status Quo appear in as part of the celebrations. There’s also a live episode of The Bill (their second).
- Des Lynam is confirmed as the new host of Countdown.
- Gary Webster (Minder’s Ray Daley) declares himself bankrupt.
- A lady called Genevieve comes in to sort out some of my Access to Work stuff. I go with my section and department managers to the Digital Print World exhibition at Earl’s Court in London.
- My birthday present, the VCR/HDD/DVD recorder, goes wrong. It has to be sent back to Comet for repairs after only 2 months.
- Comedy legend Ronnie Barker dies, aged 76.
- Margaret Thatcher celebrates her 80th birthday.
- Saddam Hussein’s trial starts.
- Bird flu starts to become a big issue, as it is feared it could eventually transfer to humans and cause a pandemic.
- The hurricane season around America goes on for so long that they have to start using the Greek alphabet to name the storms.
- The train and construction companies responsible for the Hatfield crash are fined millions, but no individuals are made accountable.
- A huge fire at a warehouse destroys years of work by Aardman Animations, including models for Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run and the old Morph character from kids TV. Luckily, most of the Wallace & Gromit stuff was saved, as it was elsewhere being used for the new film.
- A vicar and author is asked to leave a school after he used words like bum, ass, fart and bogey in a story he was reading.
- The Spinnaker Tower opens in Portsmouth on October 18th, though it was originally going to be called the Millennium Tower as it was supposed to open in 2000! It was also £11 million overspent.
- A Guardian columnist gets upset with a new song by Katie Melua, in which she sings about space. It is deemed inaccurate, and he proposes new lyrics, which she duly records for a laugh for a radio show.
- I spend a weekend in Bournemouth with my best mate and his cousin, to celebrate my mate’s 21st birthday. Our activities include clubbing and crazy golf.
- A lady called Jenny comes in to work to discuss equipment and software I might need.
- I get my recorder back from Comet, and our front door has to be fixed by the company who installed it after it comes off completely!
- Football legend George Best dies in hospital, aged 59.
- Two police officers are shot while attending a shop robbery, one officer fatally, only the 4th woman officer to be killed on duty.
- 24-hour licensing for pubs begins. Premises with licenses can open later if they wish. Fears over people’s behaviour don’t seem to have been realised, as staggered closing times may help the problem. And hardly any premises want to open for a full 24 hours anyway. Late closing times are only really wanted on special occasions
- A scientist claims to have invented flatulence-free baked beans.
- Children In Need is another success, raising over £17 million. Highlights include the newsreaders doing Bohemian Rhapsody and an exclusive glimpse of the new Doctor Who.
- I receive the report of my assessment from the RNIB, in support of my Access To Work claim, and I change from buses to taxis for my commute with that suppot. I also have a lovely Christmas lunch with my colleagues.
- We get digital TV at home for the first time, as we get a new aerial and new Freeview boxes. We also replace a couple of digital radios, and get Dad a mobile phone for emergencies.
- I meet up with a couple of friends in Exeter, and we have lunch together and go bowling. I also meet up with one of them on the Tuesday after Christmas, as she was staying locally at her dad’s house. We go to see The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe and spend some time at her dad’s place. At the end of the year I spend a couple of days in Exeter with her and another mate.
- Massive explosions rip through an oil refinery in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. Thankfully it was just an accident. But it caused some initial chaos on the roads, and produced a huge cloud of smoke that spread for many miles.
- Tony Blair agrees a new budget deal with the EU.
- The House of Lords votes that evidence obtained through torture cannot be used in terror cases.
- The tax credit system changes. Payments will made into bank accounts, not via the employer, and the online service is stopped.
- There are mixed reactions to proposed mergers of police forces.
- America executes its 1000th person since capital punishment was brought back in 1976.
- Britain’s first gay marriages take place after a change in the law. Among the first to wed are Elton John and his partner David Furnish.
- A French woman has a partial face transplant after being attacked by her dog, which was trying to save her from a suicide attempt. So far it seems to have been a success.
- David Jason receives his knighthood from the Queen this week. It also emerged that he secretly married his long-term partner Gill Hinchcliffe.
- Microsoft’s Xbox 360 games console goes on sale, with many ending up on eBay as people profit while shops are sold out.
- Rick Parfitt from Status Quo is diagnosed with possible throat cancer, but later cleared.
- A reality TV betting scam is exposed. A gang of 5 people were using an insider at one of BT’s call centres, and placed bets at the last minute for shows like the X Factor after finding out the results.
- Darren Gough wins Strictly Come Dancing.
- The reality show Space Cadets on Channel 4 fools contestants into thinking they are travelling into space.
- The ITV News Channel shuts down, beaten by BBC News 24 and Sky News.
- Peter Jackson’s version of King Kong opens worldwide.