Journal – April-May 2007

Here we go with another batch of journal entries. During these weeks I had a nice little break in Bournemouth, and a couple of trips to Exeter to meet the friends I’m preparing to go to Spain with. And with that upcoming trip in mind, I’ve also included the first entry from May, so that my next post can be dedicated exclusively to my overseas adventure. So I hope you enjoy!

Monday April 9, 2007

This is the last day of my long week off work. It’s been a nice relaxing week too. In particular, I went and stayed with my best mate S, as he’s got some free time having finished the spring term at university.

So I went up to Bournemouth on Tuesday, and after I arrived we got some drinks and two boxes of Strongbow cider from Asda, as it was on special offer. Then he made Spanish chicken and rice, and it was very nice. We then had a game of Trivial Pursuit, which I had successfully copied on to a CD for him to keep, and he won. Then, that evening, we watched two movies – Cars (an animated Pixar film) and Under Siege (an action film starring Steven Seagal). Both were pretty good.

On Wednesday, we met A & T and a couple of their friends for lunch at Dylan’s (the uni bar). A & T are the two we went to Blackpool with in February, so of course I couldn’t resist bringing up the Basingstoke reference again! S & I had burgers. After that, S & I went into town. We went into the library so he could return one book and pick up another, then we played some crazy golf and air hockey.

Finally, we went to the fudge stall and picked up plenty of the stuff, as they had an offer on. We got caramel, double chocolate, coconut ice, and rum & raisin. We shared it out when we got back to the flat- S had all the rum & raisin as I don’t like it, and I had all the coconut ice as he’s not keen on that. The rest was dealt out equally, and I ended up taking all mine home.

That evening, we got in a couple of pizzas from Dominos and watched some of Have I Got News For You on DVD, followed by Under Siege 2 (again starring Steven Seagal, and it’s a good film).

Then on Thursday we went to KFC for lunch, and I got the bus and train home. The bus left on time on this occasion, and was a quicker service, so I got home at a reasonable hour even after changing to use the train at Exeter.

The rest of the week has just been quiet really. The main event in the news is that all the Navy personnel captured by the Iranians have been released. They’ve talked of how they were all shut away from each other for days and put through psychological torture – which Iran are now claiming is propaganda to cover up for the trespassing, which they blatantly didn’t do. The personnel were wise not to fight. Instead, they just said what they were told to, without giving away any military secrets. They were very brave, it has to be said.

And that’s it really. A slightly shorter week at work lies ahead, which is good. And there will be another long weekend soon for the May Day Holiday, followed a couple of weeks later by my trip to Spain. So there’s plenty to look forward to!

Sunday April 15, 2007

Wow, what a busy week at work that’s been! A few things got upgraded or went wrong, we’re continuing to do work for the upcoming local elections, and there have been other jobs to do as well. It will continue to be busy next week too.

Home’s been much more quiet and relaxed. I did go out with Mum and Dad on Saturday morning though, as we had to replace our Devonwide bus passes. Torbay can’t afford to let us have free bus travel across all of Devon, so they’re doing their own scheme instead. It’s not all bad – it’s still free around Torbay, and it’s only £1 to get to Plymouth or Exeter. But still, it limits things a bit. I now have to pay to get the bus around Exeter, for instance. However, next year the law will apparently mean that disabled and elderly people are entitled to free bus travel, so I don’t know what will happen then.

Getting the cards themselves took a little while, as the computer the lady was using kept crashing, plus we had to fill in a form while we were there. But it was quite an easy process otherwise – the form isn’t too bad, and we had our photo taken using a webcam. The printer then just printed and laminated the whole card for us.

After that, I got on the train to go to Exeter, as I stayed at AB’s last night, because it was her boyfriend AL’s 31st birthday on Saturday. So I had my rucksack packed and with me while I was getting my new bus pass.

I met AB & AL at her flat, and we all met up with C, so it was nice to see her again. She was with a friend called H and her baby, who we also saw briefly, but she didn’t come to lunch with us. The four of us had lunch in the Walkabout, the Australian pub. I had the bacon, ham and cheese melt. C left us to meet H again after that, so AB, AL & I went shopping.

We popped in to M&S first, as AL had a £10 gift voucher to spend there. He bought some t-shirts for Spain, and I decided to as well, spending about £24 on three extra-large t-shirts, with a nice thin material, so that they’d be loose and cool in the hot weather.

Then we went into Blacks, a store in the same group as Millets. AB went in to buy some sandals for Spain, and I decided to follow suit there too. So I came out with a pair of sandals and a Lonely Planet guide to Spain. AB also brought some sunglasses.

After that we just went back to the flat and relaxed for the afternoon and early evening. AL left about 7:30pm, as he was going with friends to watch today’s Everton game – he’d been given 2 tickets by his boss at work I think. So AB & I went out to the pub that evening, before coming back to her flat to watch some TV and an Eddie Izzard DVD. We bought some VK (vodka drinks like WKD) from the Spar shop on the way back, and AB had an Easter egg at her flat, so we had those to snack on.

Today we ended up having lunch in McDonald’s, as the pub we tried going to for lunch stopped serving at 2pm, just as we were deciding to order! Never mind, having McDonald’s every now and again is ok. And AB met a friend there who she hadn’t seen for a while.

So that’s about it. There’s nothing exciting to report in the news really, so I won’t bother mentioning any of that. Next week’s evidently going to be busy at work – which is ok, as being busy makes the time fly by anyway, and it’s good to have a variety of things to do. It’s what I like about the job, so I’m happy. I’ll probably still be grateful for a rest next weekend though!

Sunday April 22, 2007

It’s still busy at work, as I expected, not helped by the fact that we were given some wrong information so some things had to be reprinted! And at home I’m pleased to say I received two £50 cheques from the Premium Bonds this week, woohoo!

In the news, the big story this week has been the shooting of 32 students at Virginia Tech university. The gunman, who was also a student there, killed himself after his rampage. Since then it’s become all too clear just how mentally disturbed he was (as if it wasn’t already obvious by his attack). He sent photos and video clips to NBC News, showing him brandishing weapons and rambling on about why he did it. And his mental state had been flagged up often before. After emigrating to the US from South Korea with his family, he was very much a loner by all accounts, and was often bullied because of it. But clearly nobody thought he could be that violent. It’s a very sad tale for the families of all the students who died, and the killer’s family have also apologised unreservedly for his actions. It must have been a huge shock for them to find out what he did.

And apart from that, the media made a massive fuss earlier this week when Prince Harry split up with Kate Middleton. We don’t know the actual reasons for it, but with him in the Army, and her getting no respite from the paparazzi all the time, it was bound to put a strain on the relationship. It also sparked a class debate after Kate’s mother was apparently spotted chewing gum. Kate seemed nice enough from what I could tell, but being thrust into the media spotlight by dating a royal prince was never going to be easy.

There isn’t anything else too interesting to mention, other than to add that Doctor Who is still brilliant, the latest story bringing back the Daleks in spectacular fashion in 1930s New York, and that story concludes next week.

Sunday April 29, 2007

Things at work are calming down a little bit, but there’s still plenty to do. And Dad actually went out on Friday night, for a get-together with some of his workmates, playing darts and skittles and things like that. So I stayed home and sorted out a way to get back on the internet. The plug in my router went, which is presumably why some of the electrics got tripped. So I phoned up BT, and the guy gave me the number to ring to get a new router, which I did. Thankfully it’s free, and will arrive within 14 days hopefully. In the meantime though, I still had to find a way to get on the internet, and I discovered that the plugs off Mum and Dad’s talking book players do the job perfectly, so I’m using one of those for the time being.

I got Series 1 of Monty Python’s Flying Circus on DVD this week. At long last, they’ve started releasing them in this country! And all 4 series are being released pretty quickly, all coming out in the space of a few months.

And in the evenings this week, I’ve been learning Spanish ready for the holiday. Michel Thomas is a very good teacher, I must say. Ok, I haven’t remembered everything, but a fair amount has stuck, which is good going after doing a bit each night.

I’ve also been out this weekend, staying over last night with AB & AL (I didn’t go on Friday because we didn’t want to leave Mum on her own). The three of us didn’t do anything special, as AB & AL were both having a bit of financial trouble. AB has had her incapacity benefit stopped temporarily because she didn’t return a form in time, as she couldn’t read the small print to know when to send it back by. She’s sent it off now, so they’ll sort it out soon, but it still leaves her a bit short for the time being.

As for AL, he’s had his bank card pinched, which he managed to cancel and request a replacement for over the phone. But in the meantime he had to go into the bank to get some money to tide him over – and they could only give him £20 because he didn’t have any ID. And they only gave him that amount after asking him how much was in the account, his date of birth, etc.

So for lunch we just had a hotdog from the stall as we were wandering around, then went into the pub for a drink while watching the football. AB then went to her tutorial, so AL & I went up to The Globe for a drink, some crisps and had a few games of pool, which he won 3-2.

After that, we went back to AB’s place, and for tea we went down to the fish & chip shop, where AL had curry, AB had chicken & mushroom pie, and I had jumbo cod & chips, which was delicious. ST came round for a couple of hours as well, and I ended up taking her down to the chip shop too, where she got sausage & chips, after she saw what we had been eating. She & AB also nipped over to the corner shop to get some fizzy drinks. The evening was spent lazing in front of the TV mainly – AB and AL played on the PlayStation a little bit, and we saw The Return of Allo’ Allo’!, which was pretty good. After ST left, we watched Have I Got News For You as well, which gets an extended repeat on Saturdays now, with extra bits not shown on Friday.

And today, because AL couldn’t afford a taxi to the station, we all walked down there together, as he goes from Exeter St Davids like me. We got there in time for his train, and there was one for me about 10 minutes afterwards, so that was very handy. And that’s it. In 2 weeks time, I’ll be seeing them again when we jet off to Spain.

In the news this week, we’ve had the biggest phone-in scandal yet. GMTV suspended all competitions and fired the telephone operator that handled them on their behalf, after it was found that callers had wasted thousands of pounds. Lists of potential winners were being picked before the competitions had actually closed, a fact uncovered by the BBC’s Panorama programme. GMTV is working on ways to refund callers. Mind you, it’s hard to have sympathy for the woman who said she spent £1000 on calls to the show. All that just to answer some stupidly simple questions!

There’s also been an ongoing debate about whether Prince Harry should go to Iraq or not. Yes, he’ll be a target, but he went into the army for a reason, and he’ll have wasted his time if he doesn’t do what he was trained for. People should admire his courage anyway.

And this weekend, there’s been an earthquake in the south-east of England, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale. It damaged properties in Kent mainly, which must have been pretty scary for them.

And that’s about it really. Only a couple of weeks before the holiday, so I’m getting pretty excited about it now!

Monday May 7, 2007

Well, what a month this promises to be. This time next week I fly out to sunny Spain with AB and AL for two weeks, which should be great fun!

As for this past week, we were busy finishing off bits and pieces for the elections at work, but that was about it. Things have been a little less busy since then, which is good. And as you’ll notice, I’m writing this on the Monday, as it’s the bank holiday weekend. So it’s a short week before I go away.

At home, I’ve received a few more DVDs – the second series of Monty Python and, also long overdue like Python was, the first series of The Two Ronnies. They’ll be fun to watch when I get back.

The news has mainly been about the local elections of course, and we also know that Tony Blair will be announcing his resignation soon. But another big story is the disappearance of a girl called Madeleine McCann in Portugal. Her parents left her and their other children in their apartment to sleep while they went out to a restaurant just down the road with their friends. They checked on the children every half hour, but when they finally got back, Madeleine had gone. It’s hard to imagine how terrifying it must be for them. And the media here are getting frustrated because, under Portuguese law, the police can’t say much about their investigations. We can just hope that their searching finds Madeleine safe and sound.

But the next thing for me is Spain. I’ve got a phrase book now, which I ordered with the DVDs, and the Michel Thomas course has been very interesting to listen to. I’ve got some swim shorts as well, in case I decide to go for a dip. I’ve also got a concealed waist wallet from Millets, again bought online, which seems pretty handy. All I need to do now is get the money to put in it! I’ve also photocopied all the key documents to leave at home with Mum & Dad, plus copies to take with me, to be on the safe side.

So all in all I think I’m ready. I go up to AB’s home in Exeter on Saturday, we go to Bristol on Sunday, and then fly out on Monday. We fly back on Monday 28th, and then I’ll have the Tuesday off work too so I don’t have to rush around. Providing I don’t get sunburnt (I’ve got high factor suncream to try and avoid that), it should all be great fun! See you in a few weeks!

Author: Glen

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

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