Welcome to another month of journal entries. Again this hasn’t been a particularly busy month, but there’s been a little bit of socialising, a surprise contact from an old friend, the new series of Doctor Who, and various other bits and pieces. So I hope you enjoy!
Sunday April 6, 2008
I’ve just returned from staying the weekend with A in Exeter, though there’s nothing special to report. We went to the pub on Friday night, then on Saturday we had a wander around town, followed by an Indian meal and a night spent watching DVDs (including Garfield and Matilda, as we fancied some light family films). And today we had a lovely roast dinner at The Clifton just down the road from her. We were hoping to meet up with another friend, but he couldn’t make it in the end. A is doing fine though. She’s now a member of the local disabled ten-pin bowling team, and they’ve made it to the national finals in their first season! So she’ll be going to Sheffield in May for those. Her cat Sally was also being very friendly, spending much of Saturday night sitting on my lap happily purring away!
As for the rest of the week, we’ve been busy at work with various bits and pieces. And there’s not much to report at home really. However, Doctor Who’s back this weekend, so I’ve recorded that, and must watch that soon. And Queen + Paul Rodgers were on Al Murray’s Happy Hour on Friday night, to premiere the track C-lebrity from their new album The Cosmos Rocks, which is coming out in September. So that’s another recording I must look at! I’ve pre-ordered the special edition of their album, and enrolled into their album club, which has special previews and treats in the months running up to the album’s release (as the band are going on tour as well). So that’s all very exciting. I’m still downloading some Rolling Stones albums too, to bring my collection of those up to date. But there are downloads from Queen’s store that I must get – I hadn’t got them before I got broadband, but I’m very tempted now!
In the news, there’s been a lot of talk about the Zimbabwe elections, and it’s not clear what the result is. Getting Mugabe out would be a good start, but knowing how corrupt the regime is, we’ll have to wait and see. Over here in the UK, we’ve had the Olympic torch relay as it passed through London – marred a little by scuffles with pro-Tibet protestors (they want independence from China, basically, and it’s become a big issue given that China are hosting the Olympic Games this year). And the big April Fools spoof this year was the BBC ‘footage’ showing flying penguins for the first time, which was a promo for their iPlayer (which lets you watch TV shows from the last 7 days online).
And that’s about it. The weather hasn’t been too bad for the start of April so far, apart from being a bit cold and wet today. So maybe we’ll have a nice April like last year – but if we do, let’s hope we don’t have a horrible summer as well! We’ll soon see. This year’s flying by fast enough as it is!
Sunday April 13, 2008
A very quiet week really, not a lot worth mentioning. But I did watch the things I recorded last weekend. First, Queen’s new song, C-lebrity, is pretty good. It’s very catchy, has a great riff and lyrics, and has been growing on me day by day. What with that and Say It’s Not True, the album is looking ever more promising.
Doctor Who was great too, both in the first episode and last night. Catherine Tate, whose sketch show I find gets far too repetitive, does a fantastic job as new assistant Donna. The Doctor’s former assistants Rose and Martha will be turning up later in the series too, which sounds very exciting. So that’s all been good stuff.
In the news, protests have been marring the Olympic torch relay wherever it goes, over China’s human rights record and its control over Tibet. The torch has had to be extinguished and transported around on buses rather than people running with it, after people tried to grab it. So despite China’s best efforts to try and keep such things quiet, their image really isn’t looking good right now. Talking of running, though, the London Marathon has been taking place today, no doubt raising lots of money for good causes again as it should. I know that the guy who once ran it in a diver’s suit is this year running in a tall robot costume, with him on stilts inside! But the news has been relatively uninteresting apart from that.
Saturday April 19, 2008
Well, this has been an interesting week, if only for one reason above all others. I got a message on Friends Reunited from an old girlfriend! I could barely believe it! But we’ve exchanged a couple of emails now, although it’s taking her a while to respond because she’s got typing exams she’s practising for. It sounds like she’s doing well for herself, and it’s been a delight to hear from her!
Apart from that though, there isn’t much to mention. Work has been much the same really, with various jobs going on. And at home, I need to start thinking what to do with the money I’ll be getting from the Royal London policy that ends when I turn 25, in terms of which bank accounts to put it in!
In the news, Mark Speight, the presenter of children’s arts programmes such as SMart, was found hanged on the roof of a building next to Paddington station this week. He’d never got over the death of his fiancé, and never got the help he needed to sort himself out. So that was a very sad story, as was the death of 5 young Brits on a gap year trip in Ecuador, when a lorry smashed into their coach. Talking of travel, 2 BA executives have quit over the Terminal 5 fiasco, which is still rumbling away, although I think the terminal is operating normally at the moment. And elsewhere in the world, there are still calls for Zimbabwe to announce the results of their presidential elections, which have been very slow in coming.
But back here, one of the more amusing stories was a retired teacher claiming disability discrimination – because he’s bald! Apparently it was because he kept getting bullied and insulted by the children, which may be a fair point, but it doesn’t mean baldness is a disability! Like the judge said when he threw out the case, you could class any slight abnormality as a disability, like a big nose or a slightly less than average height.
And that’s about it for this week. The weather is living up to its usual April standards – it’s been lovely and sunny during the week, then horrible at the weekend! Still, I expect it’ll clear up soon.
Saturday April 26, 2008
Another week, and nearly another month, flies by. The main thing we’ve been focusing on work is job evaluation, as we’ve got to fill out the new questionnaires for that. So we’re just trying to put as much down as we can about what we do. My wages have just gone up the scale again this year it seems, so I don’t want them to fall after all this. The pension contributions have also gone up (6% to 6.5%), but my movement up the pay scale has cancelled that out, so my wages have still gone up a little bit.
I also had my first ECDL test this week, which I passed of course. It was just about using the computer – managing files (moving, deleting, renaming, etc), using the help system, and answering multiple choice questions about things such as viruses and RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). That test was done with printouts and a memory stick – future tests from May onwards are being done using an online system, so you get your result back instantly rather than waiting for a day or two.
At home, I haven’t heard from my old friend this week, so I assume she’s still busy with work and exams. Which is a bit of a shame, as it’d be cool to continue to catch up with her. I’ve sent her my contact details though, in case she wants to phone or text me any time.
Still, I have heard from my Exeter friend A again. She wants to go to Spain for a week at the end of September, to the same place as before, so we can see the friends we made again.
And, still on the subject of money, I had a little bit of a scare today. I had to go out to put some cheques in for Mum and Dad, including payment towards the ISAs they’re holding for me. They’ve put in the full amount for the year so I can get the maximum interest, so I’m paying them back. Anyway, I drew some money out and topped up my phone – only for the receipt to say I only had £57 in there! Now, given that I’d had over £5,000 on my bank statement just a couple of weeks back, that got me worried, especially with all the talk of card fraud that’s still in the news right now. So I wanted to check that. I considered ringing the bank, but then decided to see if my e-banking was still active, just out of interest. I haven’t used it for years, literally, so I’d always assumed they’d taken that functionality away from my account through lack of use. Wrong! I can still access it! And all my money is still there! The machine was wrong, and when I was at the bank, a lady did say the machine outside was working again, so they’ve evidently been having problems. So that put my mind at rest!
In the news this week, all the kids got an extra day off school thanks to a teachers strike, while an oil refinery up north also had to gradually close because of a strike up there. Gordon Brown’s come under fire for abolishing the 10p tax band, causing most low earners to have to pay more tax – the claim was that tax credits and benefits would help the poorer people, but as MPs have been rebelling against the decision on behalf of their constituents, the government are now doing a bit of a U-turn and saying that those affected will be compensated in some way. There was also the sad story of a mother and her severely disabled son who were found dead this week – she had put him in a suitcase after he died following an epileptic seizure, and presumably felt so ashamed of not being able to look after him properly that she took her own life. But to finish on a happier note, a couple have beaten odds of 200,000,000-1 to have identical triplets, and she’s a midwife herself!
So that’s pretty much it for this week, quite a few bits and pieces to mention it seems. The weather seems to be getting nicer as well now, so let’s hope it decides to stay that way!