It’s time for another bunch of entries from my journal. This month we’ve had a lot of building work done on the ground floor of our home, and I met up with my friend in Exeter. Plus I bought some more DVDs and music as usual, and there are some news stories that have caught my eye, among other bits and pieces. So I hope you enjoy!
Sunday October 1, 2006
I managed to get to see my friend AB in Exeter yesterday – she was working yesterday morning, so there wasn’t much point in me going up on Friday night. Her boyfriend AL was also there.
We didn’t do anything too eventful. We had lunch at about 3:30pm in the end, as the train I wanted to get wasn’t running, meaning I had to wait for the next one, and then we obviously had to get to the pub (the Hole In The Wall in this case) and wait for the food. But we got it in the end – we all had the Chicken New Yorker, which is chicken portions topped with bacon and melted cheese, along with chips, peas and sweetcorn. It was pretty nice, and we watched the football there at the same time – that pub has quite a lot of TV screens around the place. We also had a few games of pool there afterwards – AL beat both me and AB, neither of us were playing great!
We went to another pub for a drink after that, and then decided that we’d stay in for the evening and watch a movie. Blockbuster in South Street didn’t have anything we fancied, so we went to a large place in Heavitree, a short bus ride away (free thanks to my Devonwide card). We eventually settled on a Peter Kay stand-up show, Red Dwarf: Series 2 and The Green Mile. We got some bits to eat as well – Pringles and M&M’s. And we got a few more bits from the shop across the road from aB – a box of chocolates, a couple of Mr Kipling’s boxes of cakes (Bakewell Slices & Lemon Slices), and some cans of Diet Coke.
Peter Kay was hilarious of course, and we saw an episode of Red Dwarf. Then, after we’d watched Match Of The Day, we put on The Green Mile. I’ve never seen it before, as I had turned down the chance of watching it during our trip to America in 2000 – a friend and I saw Toy Story 2 instead at the time, which I think annoyed the member of staff in charge of us, as he had to drop us off for it. I’m glad I made that choice though. The Green Mile isn’t my sort of film to be honest, and was far too long. It was ok, but I wouldn’t want to watch it again. The miracle healing powers of that hugely tall guy just seemed far-fetched, and that spoiled it for me, especially as it was a major part of the plot. Still, at least I can say I’ve seen it now.
AL went off early this morning, after the thunderstorm we had in Exeter (we didn’t get a storm back at home though, Mum told me). Later me and AB went back to the Hole In The Wall for lunch – we got there 10 minutes early (they don’t open until noon), so we waited downstairs rather than outside in the rain, but it had calmed down considerably by the time they did open, and even the sun was out! So we went in eventually and had a roast dinner each – we’d seen it on the menu on Saturday, and thought we’d try it. We each had roast lamb, and again it was nice. Not quite as good as, say, George’s Meeting House, which we’ve had our Sunday lunch at a few times now, but nice nonetheless. I made my way home after that, as AB was working this afternoon.
There isn’t much worth reporting at work, although support worker Genevieve did pop in to do my 6-monthly review. That was pretty easy stuff really.
As for home, Mum and Dad had some trouble at the Abbey bank on Friday. The machine at the cash desk chewed up Dad’s pass book and, even though he was allowed to sign a replacement, she refused to give it to him as he didn’t have any other ID. That’s despite the fact that he’d just put in a cheque and some cash before the book had been chewed! She consulted a colleague who agreed with her. So Mum and Dad dictated a complaint letter so I could type it up for them, and they sent it off on Saturday. They’ve also mentioned in the letter an incident earlier this year when Mum was refused a Chip & Sign card, after being forced to ring up by a person at the bank who just sat her down and shoved the phone in her hand. So Abbey aren’t in my parent’s good books right now. But that’s it from home really, it’s been normal other than that.
In the news, Richard Hammond has been making a remarkable recovery. He’s now been moved to a hospital nearer to home, and was actually filmed walking the short distance from the helicopter to an ambulance as he arrived. Doctors say he will need to rest for at least 6 months to fully recover, but he has had a very lucky escape. It’s his brain that doctors will be most concerned with, although it might be lucky for him that the car rolled, and didn’t just crash straight into a wall – that would have flung his brain against the front of his skull at high speed. Time will tell, but let’s hope “The Hamster”, as he’s affectionally called, recovers soon.
Also, rather than flowers and cards, his family have asked for donations to be made to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, who tended to him immediately after the crash. And donations have flooded in since then, with a couple of hundred thousand pounds raised. A £50,000 offer was found to be a hoax after the donor’s bank refused to pay it, which is a shame, but they’re still getting a lot of other money.
Friday October 6, 2006
Where are the weeks going? That’s another one over with already. It’s much the same as usual at work, although we are now getting more involved with the printing of cheques, which have to be done in a secure way.
As for home, that’s quiet too. I lost my internet connection for a couple of days, but managed to sort it after swapping the microfilter that goes into the phone line with the second one that came in the box. Strange. And our builder’s coming round this evening to talk about the work downstairs that he’ll be doing soon. My corner will be redone – I don’t need all the shelves that are there, and it’ll be nice to get a proper telly – LCD, HD-Ready, with Freeview. Perhaps I’ll even get surround sound.
And I’ve ordered some more DVDs from Amazon:
- Knight Rider: Season 4 – Final season
- Goodnight Sweetheart: Series 6 – Final series
- The Simpsons: Season 8
- Status Quo: The One & Only – Concerts and shows on 2 DVDs
- The Rolling Stones: The Stones In The Park 1969 – A key concert back then, as it was after guitarist Brian Jones had died just 2 days earlier, and it was free for the audience.
The Freddie Mercury stuff still hasn’t come, so I might have to look into that soon.
And in a few other items of news this week:
- A DNA breakthrough could help to solve thousands more crimes, including those from the past that couldn’t be solved. If more than one person touches a surface (e.g. a door handle, table, etc), all of their DNA profiles will be on it. Until now, it’s been virtually impossible to separate them. But a new technique, developed here in Britain, will allow forensic scientists to separate those profiles to extract individual people’s DNA from the multiple prints. It’s currently being piloted by 4 police forces, and will hopefully be extended after that.
- TV channel Five plans to screen a live birth, by following a number of mothers through pregnancy, and hoping that one will give birth live on TV.
- Singer Katie Melua breaks the world record for the deepest underwater gig after performing on an oil rig. She and her band needed extensive medical tests first.
Friday October 13, 2006
Yes, it’s Friday the 13th, but nothing bad has happened today. We’re still trying to sort out cheque printing at work, and the project’s becoming more complex as we go along. Other than that, I’ve been trying to set up other projects to sort documents by postcode – not quite as easy as it might initially sound, especially when you have to remove spaces, and the postcodes vary in length. A colleague is off next week too, so I’ll be covering for him a bit, although there won’t be too much work apparently. And we’ve also booked our Christmas lunch – it’s at Café Mambo on Friday December 22nd at 1pm. They do a traditional turkey dinner, but also a Thai meal, made by their Thai chef.
As for home, our builder’s back again, this time for a month. We’re getting the downstairs rooms done, so we’re all a bit up in the air at the moment. The front room’s been cleared out, as we’re doing that first. The sofa and chairs are squashed into the back room while he’s here, although Mum and Dad move their chairs onto the bare front room floor when listening to tapes in the evenings. We’ve also got a new cooker – we bought it now so our builder could install it, and it’s pretty easy for Mum to use. We had fish and chips for tea and they came out very nice.
Because the aerial booster’s been unplugged in the front room, it’s impacted on my telly. I can see and hear the terrestrial channels, but the picture is very snowy, so isn’t much use to watch. And Freeview certainly doesn’t work. It’ll be nice to have the back room done properly, including where I sit, and then maybe I’ll get myself a new TV.
Still, there’s nothing on TV at the moment anyway. But I have been watching the final series of Goodnight Sweetheart on DVD. Although I remember the last episode well (we haven’t got that far yet), I don’t remember the others. Just goes to show how long it’s been since I last saw them. I’ve also been watching the last season of Knight Rider, and that’s pretty good too.
I’ll probably watch the music DVDs by The Rolling Stones & Status Quo at the weekend. And all of that gives me a bit of a break from James Bond – you can’t really do all 20 films in one go! But I’ve done the first 5 (all starring Sean Connery), so it’s a good place to pause. And the extras have been cool, plenty of interesting bits. It’s just a pity Sean Connery shied away from the press and didn’t do many interviews. He doesn’t do many new ones for the documentaries on the DVDs either, which is a shame.
Lastly on TV, we did try watching the new series of Robin Hood last Saturday, but were frankly a bit disappointed with it. It’s not my sort of thing anyway, and I doubt you could beat Doctor Who on a Saturday, but Dad wasn’t thrilled with this new adaptation of a story he really likes either.
Back to music, and right now I’m listening to the first of the Slade albums I ordered from Amazon this week. The whole collection are being remastered with bonus tracks, so it’s a good opportunity for me to get them. And they’re sounding brilliant so far.
We’ve also ordered Dad’s birthday present that he asked for – the complete Harry Potter set (all 6 books to date) from the RNIB, as he’s been enjoying the books as well as me. It’s in their special DAISY format, which plays on their talking book players. But it uses MP3 format as its basis, so I should be able to copy the remaining 3 I haven’t yet bought to my PC. It’s the proper commercial version read by the great Stephen Fry too, which is great. Even better is the price – because it’s in the RNIB’s format, and the MP3 format allows each book to go on 1 CD each, it’s only £39.99 for all 6! The iTunes price is a whopping £195!
I’ve also spoken to my best mate who’s at university in Bournemouth. I’ll hopefully be going up there for his birthday in November, as will a friend who has graduated and his cousin. His uni friend will be sleeping on his bedroom floor, so I’m going to look for a hotel or B&B to stay in. I’ve decided I’ll go up on the Thursday and come back the next Tuesday, as my mate’s got Thursdays free of lectures, so I can meet him that day. He has lessons Friday morning, then his cousin will be coming down that day (and leaving Monday). And when I’m not with him, I’m planning to have a walk around Bournemouth on my own – it’ll be a nice chance to have a long weekend and explore a little bit.
However, this does all depend on a colleague at work who is expecting a baby soon, and he’ll be off for 2 weeks. So I will probably need to be there in his absence. If that falls across the 2 weeks that I’m having days off, I’ll have to cancel. Which isn’t the end of the world, as I can always visit another time, but it would still be frustrating.
Anyway, I think that’s all the news from my end, it’s been quite a busy week. The news has also been fairly busy:
- Siôn Simon, a Labour MP, posted a spoof video on Youtube this week. I didn’t watch it, but have only seen clips on news reports – from what I can see on the snowy TV picture in the morning while having breakfast anyway. He was doing a parody of David Cameron’s video blog, which I have had no intention of watching anyway. Cameron’s official blog shows him talking to the camera while loading his dishwasher or playing with the kids. Siôn’s spoof, pretending to be David, invites viewers to sleep with David’s wife and take one of their kids. It’s now been taken down, although others have since reposted it.
- Talking of blogs, the National Trust has earmarked next Tuesday (October 17th) for people to participate in a massive weblog for that day. The aim is to record all the normal, banal, everyday stuff that people do, and it is then saved at the British Library and other places as an account of the sort of life we lead now. It might be interesting in the future for people to see how we lived in 2006.
- And to finish this week, a couple of the stranger security scares. People in Germany panicked after finding a strange green substance by a road, so chemical teams were called in to investigate the possible toxic waste. It took them 2 hours to work out that it was jelly! It had been dropped after some wedding celebrations apparently. And back in the UK at Prestwick Airport, a man sparked a scare because he had a tube of toothpaste strapped to his body, which was a very strange thing to do!
Friday October 20, 2006
After a busy week last week, it’s been relatively quiet this time. The main focus at work is still on cheque printing, which has become more and more complicated, with more bugs to fix. We’re getting there, but it is a little frustrating at times. At home, our builder’s getting on well with the front room, I got my Slade CDs (and they’re very good), while Dad received the Harry Potter CDs. I’ve been able to copy the Harry Potter MP3s on to my PC, as it’s handily organised into 1 chapter per file.
In the news there are ongoing debates about Muslim women wearing veils, Madonna’s adoption of a Malawi child, Paul McCartney’s divorce from Heather Mills, and a man who was given a suspended sentence after helping his terminally ill wife to commit suicide. And there are other little stories including the development of an invisibility cloak that hid a small cylinder, and news of a Fraggle Rock movie in the making, but nothing particularly worth shouting about.
Friday October 27, 2006
Our builder’s been getting on well at home – the front room is practically done now and looks great, with a new floor, inset fire, shelves, and better lighting. He’s also put a cupboard by the old door to the back room. I’ll have to move all my stuff soon I expect. Just as well considering we still haven’t worked out how to plug in the TV stuff in the front room, so that we can get the decent reception we used to. We have put it all back in, but there’s clearly something we haven’t done, and there is a wire left over. Hey ho. Dad’s also got the date for his eye operation – Friday 24th November. They’ll be taking his lens out, and the cataract with it, and putting a new plastic one in. I’ll be going along with him to keep him company and help him.
And it’s been a busy week at work – we’re still sorting out the cheques, and the project’s been getting even more complicated. My colleague’s new baby is due tomorrow, so he’ll probably be off starting sometime next week. Which will muck up my planned trip to Bournemouth – his subsequent 2 weeks off will fall over the days I wanted to travel. I have booked the Travelodge and coach, but they’re easy to cancel. The Travelodge don’t charge for cancelling my Flexible Rate booking, and cancelling the coach costs only £2. I’ll go up there another time if need be.
My mate will probably be at the uni another year now. Someone he was talking to told him that he could split the year in two, doing 3 units per year. He likes the sound of that, because there is a lot of reading and stuff to do. He finds it harder to read things than me, and he doesn’t always get the reading material converted to computer or tape format in time for him to use it. As far as costs go, it’ll only be half the tuition fees per year, so they don’t go up in total, but the rent will double. His parents have said they’ll support him whatever he chooses to do, and all of his friends, including me, have said it’s his decision. We all agree that he’ll maximise his potential grade that way, by being able to concentrate on fewer subjects.
There’s not too much to report in the news. The Muslim veils debate has quietened down a little bit, councils could get more control away from national government, two children are found dead in Corfu after suspected gas poisoning at their hotel (while the father and his partner, not mother, are seriously ill in hospital), Richard Hammond reveals in his first interview since the crash that he nearly died, a man is arrested for defecating on 22 train services in the past 3 months and a pelican swallows a pigeon in a park (they normally only eat fish). Quite a variety there!