It’s time to finish off yet another year of journal entries. So naturally this post includes mentions of Christmas, along with a variety of news stories that have caught my eye during the month. So I hope you enjoy!
Sunday December 2, 2007
I’ve been back at work this week, I’m pleased to say. I still wasn’t feeling perfect when I went back on Monday, but I’ve been getting better as the days have gone on. I still have a little tickle in my throat, but it’s going. It’s just taking its time about it! And it turns out my best mate had similar symptoms to me a couple of days after I visited him in Bournemouth recently, and he was actually sick, before feeling rotten just like me. So we’re wondering if it’s from something we ate while I was there. We don’t know if our other friend P, who was also with us, has been ill as well. One of us will ask him soon I expect when we next talk to him.
There isn’t much to report at work this week though. One of my colleagues is off because she’s recovering from her foot operation. She rang up work the other day, and I answered the phone, and she seems to be doing alright. She just doesn’t want to sit around doing nothing all the time I think, which is fair enough. She’s quite keen to be up and about again, which she will be soon I’m sure. And our manager’s back next week from his holiday in the Maldives, lucky devil!
There isn’t much else to mention at home either. My parents have decided that my Christmas present is going to be a nice new office chair though, which is a good idea – one with a nice high back that I can lean back and relax in, and with armrests too. So I’m going to have a look around for one this weekend and see what I can find. I just have to make sure I get the height right, of course!
In the news, there has been continued fallout from the discs scandal at HMRC. And there’s more fuss about donations to the Labour Party, after somebody donated through a few other people, apparently to maintain his privacy, but that’s actually illegal, as it must be clear who donations come from. Gordon Brown has certainly had his share of problems since he became Prime Minister, that’s for sure.
However, perhaps the biggest story this week has been about a teddy bear. A British teacher working at a school in the Sudan invited her class to name a teddy bear. And they agreed to name it after one of the boys in the class. All well and good – except that the boy’s name is Muhammad. And he was the one who suggested the name. Calling anything Muhammad is a big mistake in the Muslim world, as it is seen as an insult to the Prophet himself. So, after complaints from parents, she was arrested, and has now been sentenced to 15 days in jail, with protestors gathering to say she should be executed. Which is far too extreme to say the least. She should have been more careful, but she never meant any harm by it. And to be fair, Muslims in the UK have condemned her sentencing, realising that it was a mistake.
There isn’t much else of any real interest. Not long until Christmas though!
Sunday December 9, 2007
It’s been another normal week, although it’s clear Christmas is fast approaching. I’ve been helping to do a carol concert brochure at work, a job that a colleague normally does every year, but she can’t do it this time as she’s recovering from her foot operation. Our manager’s back from his holiday in the Maldives as well, and he had a great time by the sound of it. Plus we had more cream cakes, as it was another colleague’s birthday this time, and the arrears for our pay rise came through (cut down quite a bit by tax and other deductions of course). So there’s been a few little things happening, but it’s been quiet other than that overall.
Home’s pretty quiet too, not much to report other than spending a couple of hours doing our Christmas cards last night. I finally watched Die Hard 4.0 on DVD as well yesterday, and it’s a great film. Brilliant action sequences, and Bruce Willis seems much happier with it than the second and third films in the season, going by the interviews on there.
There are plenty more DVDs coming out soon too, so I’ll be doing another order this weekend. I knew there’d be loads coming out this time of year, so I’ll have plenty to watch for a while! I’ve also just bought another batch of Premium Bonds as well.
In the news, the Labour funding scandal has continued to rumble away. But the big news has been about John Darwin, a canoeist who was presumed dead 5 years ago when the remains of his canoe were found in the sea. But he walked into a police station last weekend, claiming not to remember anything. You’d think this would be a thrill for his family, but it turns out there’s more to it. His wife had claimed on the life insurance – perhaps understandable at first. But she was then spotted, with her husband, in a photo taken in Panama about a year ago (she’s also moved over there recently). So she knew he was alive after all. They didn’t tell their sons though, who are furious of course, and now don’t want anything to do with their parents. And now they’ve both been arrested, with the canoeist himself charged with obtaining life insurance money by deception and lying in order to get a passport. So it’s all been a scam. Quite why he should walk into a police station, therefore, is quite stupid, but there you go.
[2021 Update: A new ITV drama about this story is currently in production.]
So that’s been the main story of the week. A man from Paignton’s also been in the news though – he’s been ordered by a gentleman’s club he attends to stop farting, as it’s upsetting the other members! If he has to do it, he has to go outside. He understands that, of course, but you think he’d have had some sense in the first place!
That’s all for this week though. Better order my next lot of DVDs, and the Dad’s Army CDs Mum and Dad want for Christmas.
Sunday December 16, 2007
Work’s been quiet as usual this week, but we have won £10 in the lottery again, so that’s something. And our Christmas dinner is this coming Friday.
At home, we’ve received the new chair we ordered from Tesco for me to use with my computer, as that’s Mum and Dad’s Christmas present for me. It’ll let me sit back and relax while I listen to music, watch videos, etc. We’re having a little bit of trouble putting it together (the joys of self-assembly items!), but I’m sure I’ll be able to try it out soon.
I’ve also ordered another bunch of DVDs – including the last 2 episodes of the Vicar of Dibley, The Simpsons Movie, and a documentary set about The Who called Amazing Journey. I also watched the 5th Harry Potter movie (Order Of The Phoenix) last night, and that wasn’t bad. Very dark compared to the others, and perhaps not quite as great as the others, but it was still good. The last 2 will be the most interesting I’m sure.
In the news, there have been a few bits and pieces including:
- Led Zeppelin reformed for the first time to perform a concert in the O2 Arena (formerly the Millennium Dome). And from all the reviews and reaction I’ve heard, their massive 2-hour show was absolutely spectacular. It seems they still rock, and there are rumours there might be a tour, but that is only speculation. The concert was in tribute to a record producer who died a short time ago, and who had helped many acts, including Zeppelin, early on. So there were other performers on stage too, including Paul Rodgers and Foreigner. But Led Zep blew them all away apparently. So let’s hope the show gets released on DVD.
- A new EU treaty (the Lisbon Treaty) has been signed by all EU leaders – including Gordon Brown, even though he turned up after everyone else to do it, so he didn’t appear in the group photo. He claims he was busy, but it still got the media in a frenzy. The UK has a number of opt-outs on certain parts of it I think anyway. The new treaty replaces the failed EU Constitution.
- There was uproar in Australia after a judge decided not to jail 9 men for raping a 10-year-old girl in an Aboriginal community, so all of their recent cases are now being looked into. The judge’s argument? The girl probably gave consent. How stupid is that judge? The girl was 10!
- A man got locked in the toilet for 4 days at his bowling club after the door handle came off! He was rescued after a cleaner heard his cries for help. He didn’t have a mobile phone, and used tap water for refreshment and heat. He was said to be none the worse after his ordeal.
Other than all that, there’s nothing I can really add. Just one more relatively normal week at work, apart from the dinner on Friday, and then it’ll be Christmas!
Sunday December 23, 2007
Well, it’s nearly here, just two days to go. The last week at work has been business as usual for the most part, but Friday was different of course. In the morning we had a little draw for some goodies we’d been given – and I won a nice big box of Belgian chocolate biscuits! I haven’t bought them home yet though, as I didn’t want to carry them around while we were having our Christmas dinner.
The Christmas dinner was at the Ocean Drive restaurant, which I’d never been to before. But it’s a nice place, and we were upstairs with a group from the Post Room on another table nearby. Our manager has been off ill, so he couldn’t come, but the colleague who recently had a foot operation did make it, thanks to another colleague picking her up, and she was very happy to see everyone. And she seems to be recovering well, which is good.
The meal itself was nice too, and all the food and drink was paid for from the winnings of our lottery syndicate during the year, which was handy! For starters I had soup, which was fairly hot because of the peppers in it. Turkey, potatoes, sprouts and other veg came next of course, and then for afters I had cheesecake. And it all tasted lovely, so I’d go back there again another year if they decided to. Apparently they used to go to that restaurant quite a lot before they decided to try other places each year. As for drinks, I had a couple of pints of cider and a couple of glasses of wine, but that was it.
Anyway, it was a nice little get-together for a few hours, but we didn’t go anywhere for drinks afterwards. Most people had to go their own separate ways, so I dropped a colleague off near home in my taxi on the way back. And that was that, it was an enjoyable day.
Then yesterday I went shopping in Torquay, as I needed to pop out to put in Mum’s latest £100 Premium Bonds cheque and get a few little things. I had a slow wander around all the shops, but my main port of call was the Marks & Spencer Just Food store. I picked up some roast chicken legs, a nice big chocolate cake, and a chocolate Swiss roll. And I also popped into Tesco. We haven’t been able to get a Tunis Cake this year, sadly, but I did pick up some puff pastry mince pies instead.
I also received my latest set of DVDs this week, as listed in my last entry. I’ve just finished watching Doctor Who: Series 3, so just need to wade through the extras now! And the Christmas Special is looking great from the previews.
Nothing much else to report from home really. But AB has invited me to go with her to a party at another friend’s place on New Year’s Eve, so that should be interesting. It appears there should be trains on New Year’s Day, so I should be ok getting back again. Let’s hope so!
As for the news this week, the biggest story seems to have been around Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl, arguably the best Christmas pop song ever (apart from Slade’s big hit perhaps). Why? Well, Radio 1 decided to censor it, cutting out certain words in case they caused offence. The backlash to this was astonishing, with message boards flooded with complaints, the anger becoming so widespread that Radio 1 backtracked and agreed their decision was wrong. They’d been reviewing songs for inappropriate lyrics they perhaps ought to remove, and that had become one of their targets.
There haven’t been any other major stories this week really. Tony Blair has now officially converted to become a Catholic, the collapse of a holiday firm has left 40,000 people without their holidays (including Christmas trips), there are calls for paying for sex to be made illegal in the UK, a Manchester United player is arrested on suspicion of rape after a party, Lewis Hamilton is arrested for speeding, and scientists appear to have debunked the myths that your nails grow after you die and that shaving hair does not make it grow back faster and darker. Those are the sort of stories that have been knocking around, but nothing too amazing.
So that’s all for today. I’ll be in for half the day at work tomorrow, just in case I’m needed for anything, as my section manager’s off for the next couple of weeks. And then it’ll be Christmas Day already. How time flies!
Sunday December 30, 2007
Another year’s flown by as quickly as ever. It hasn’t brought any major changes in my life, but that’s good in a way, it’s just made for a nice year. Still, Nan did turn 100, which was a pretty big thing!
Work’s been very quiet this week, with only a few of us in the office, so we left early on the 3 days we were there (24th, 27th & 28th). It was certainly very quiet in the studio area with me being the only one in there. But people did pop in, and I was needed to help out with a couple of things elsewhere, so my time wasn’t wasted. It’s nice to get paid for not doing much anyway!
At home we had a lovely Christmas dinner as usual, and the chocolate cakes we bought from M&S were delicious! My Aunt, Uncle and Nan sent us clothes for presents – I got a fleece, socks and handkerchiefs, which are all useful things to have. My big present from Mum & Dad was that office chair of course, although as we’ve had a bit of trouble putting it together, I’m still not able to use it quite yet! And on the telly, Doctor Who was brilliant as per usual, with Kylie Minogue doing a great job as the guest star. Harry Hill was also on to provide some good comedy on Christmas night with TV Burp. Other than that though, the TV hasn’t been too exciting, but then I had expected that. Same old films and depressing soaps and stuff like that.
In the news, the big story this week has been the assassination of former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto, who was respected by many Pakistanis. So that’s caused a lot of unrest and violence in that country.
Back here in the UK, the New Years Honours have been announced as always. Plenty of deserving members of the public and armed forces were honoured, as should be the case. Celebrities and other famous faces were also honoured too of course, including Michael Parkinson (knighted), Kylie Minogue (OBE), M&S boss Stuart Rose (knighted), Des Lynam (OBE), Julie Walters (CBE), Leslie Phillips (CBE), Richard Griffiths (OBE), BBC journalist George Alagiah (OBE), former athlete and broadcaster Brendan Foster (CBE), snooker player John Higgins (MBE), and Ian McKellen (Companion of Honour, an exclusive award limited to 65 members, including the Queen).
And that’s it for another year. After work on New Year’s Eve I’m going with AB to a party at another friend’s house, so it’ll be interesting to see him after all this time, along with others who are going. I’ll see you after I get back from that!