Journal – May 2008

Glen sitting by a window and drinking a pint of cider. The grass, trees, tables and chairs outside the window are bathed in sunshine.

Here’s the next set of entries from my personal journal. This month I’ve had a nice time meeting up with a friend in Teignmouth, and I attended a workshop all about dealing with change. Plus i’ve highlighted various news stories and mentioned a few other things as usual. So I hope you enjoy!

Monday May 5, 2008

It’s a Bank Holiday, so I get a nice long weekend! Thanks to the free bus travel, I went down to Plymouth on Saturday and had a look around the Drake Circus shopping centre, which is fantastic. I got myself some new trousers in M&S, as I’ve gone down a waist size thanks to cutting out all the junk food, although I did also get us some nice sweet treats as well there! I also had a look around to see what other stores were there and in the high street next to it. There’s hundreds of places. And it’s all just round the corner from the bus station, I couldn’t believe how convenient it all was. So I’ll definitely be going back that way, especially as it’s free! I might try some other towns as well for the same reason, to see what shops they have.

Not much else to report though. At work, we’ve been working on our job evaluation forms, and I passed my latest ECDL exam (Word Processing). But that’s about it there.

And at home, I’ve still been talking to A about the Spain trip, as it looks like a couple of other friends are also keen on the idea of coming with us, so it would be good to see them again. I’m also meeting P in Teignmouth next weekend, as his family are coming down to stay in the Cliffden Hotel, which is designed with visually impaired people in mind.

In the news, Labour have taken a severe knocking in the local elections this week, losing many seats to the Tories, and even the Liberal Democrats just pipped Labour into third place. And then, to cap it all, Tory Boris Johnson has been voted Mayor of London, so that should be interesting.

The other big story has come from Austria, where Josef Fritzl kept his daughter Elisabeth in a cellar for 24 years and fathered her 7 children by raping her during that time. 1 child died early on, 3 were ‘adopted’ after being left on the doorstep to be taken in (his wife never knew where they really came from) and the other 3 lived in the cellar with their mother, a cellar which had narrow corridors, bathroom facilities and a small sleeping area. It all only came to light when one of the children fell ill and was taken to hospital, only for doctors to get suspicious and ask about the medical history. Josef was then arrested and gave police the code to the reinforced concrete cellar door. Such a bizarre and disgusting story.

Those have been the biggest stories of the week, really, other than it being a year since Madeleine McCann disappeared. Seems hard to believe it’s that long already.

So, next weekend, I’ll be in Teignmouth to see P, so that’ll be good. Until then, I’ve got a slightly shorter working week, which is always good too!

Monday May 12, 2008

Well, what a lovely weekend it’s been! Perfectly hot summery weather, ideal for meeting up with P in Teignmouth. If only I’d known it would be quite that nice, or I’d have used suncream – oh well, it was only my neck that got burned, and that was mainly on the Saturday, as I took a wide-brimmed hat on Sunday!

So I went there in the morning on Saturday, and we ended up having a long walk up and down the seafront and along the pier, and having a nice chat. Then AB & AL came down to meet us, and we had lunch at a fish and chip shop, before ending up in the pub for a few drinks and some games of pool. Once we were done there, it was pretty late, so P came back with me to the train station while AB & AL went to get their bus… only for them to meet us at the train station because they’d missed their last bus! So they ended up getting the train back as well.

AB & AL didn’t come down on Sunday, but I met with P in the afternoon, eventually. On my way there, they told me they were in the Smuggler’s Inn, the opposite way from the town. Fine, I thought. I found out which way to go in the end and had a walk down there – they didn’t tell me the inn was in Dawlish! So I had quite a long walk in the end. Still, luckily I’d had lunch already, and that’s what they were having at the inn with their other friends that were down with them. The reason P and his family were down in Teignmouth was because his mum was going to a meeting of a taped newspaper group or something like that.

Anyway, I found them eventually, and had a couple of drinks there. We were planning to go to the adventure golf on Teignmouth beach, but figured it might be a bit too late in the end, so I went back to the Cliffden Hotel with them. It’s a nice hotel too. P and I had a pint of Gaymer’s Pear Cider in the bar there, which was pretty nice, and had a little walk around the grounds. We would have played some pool in the summer house, but the pool table wasn’t out, so we couldn’t.

So we went back up to his room in the end and watched a bit of telly before I ordered my taxi – which I managed to miss, just, so we had to order them back again so I could get the next train instead! The driver had asked at reception for me and, of course, they’d never heard of me as I wasn’t a guest, so although he waited (apparently until 8:10, but we were out by 8:05 and didn’t see him), we didn’t meet him in time. We warned reception a taxi was coming for me second time around, and I got home fine then!

So it was a good weekend, it was lovely to see P again. I also had a text from K at last, the friend who contacted me on Friends Reunited recently. She’d had exams and been ill, hence she hadn’t been in touch for a little while.

As for work this past week, I’ve been covering for a colleague while he’s been away. He returns tomorrow, so we’ll be back to normal then. Another colleague is back from her month in America too, and had a great time in Florida and Disneyland and places like that, even swimming with dolphins, lucky girl! Still, we had our own bit of luck at work too, getting 4 numbers and winning £51 on the lottery! Which isn’t worth dividing between us, so we’re using it give us 3 free weeks of tickets. And there’s nothing to report at home that’s of any major interest really.

In the news, there have been not one, but two natural disasters in the headlines. Burma was hit by a cyclone, but the government aren’t letting foreign aid workers in – they’ll happily take the aid, but not the workers to help distribute it, so nobody knows if it’s getting where it should. They’re a very secretive country, reluctant to let outsiders in, even in the most desperate situations it seems. The other disaster’s happened only today, that being a big earthquake in part of China. Thousands have died there by all accounts. What with controversy over human rights and Tibet, this is all they need before the Olympics!

As for other news, we’ve had a teenager murdered in a bakery shop, the worst landslip for 100 years in Lyme Regis (the size of 4 football pitches at least), and ITV being hit with a £5.68 million fine for premium-rate phone line scandals. So it’s all been cheerful stuff – not! There hasn’t been anything terribly exciting to mention really.

Sunday May 18, 2008

Well, the sunburn on my neck has pretty much gone now, I’m happy to say, after last weekend! It wasn’t anything too bad, but it was a little irritating. It’s been pretty quiet since then though. Work’s been pretty much back to normal now that my colleague’s back. But I did have a support worker called Mary come in to fill out a long form for their audit purposes, and I need to get her some extra information to finish it off. She was very friendly and filled out the form for me.

Tomorrow I’ll be going with my colleague D to a Change Workshop for the day. It’s about dealing with and managing change, which the Council feel is important because of the restructuring and job evaluations. Which sounds pretty boring, but apparently the course is pretty good, getting everyone involved with activities rather than just sitting around listening to someone talk all day. So we’ll see.

There’s nothing to report at home really. It’s been a very quiet, uneventful week here. The weather’s been pretty miserable since last weekend, until today when the sunshine has finally re-emerged.

In the news this week, the 2 natural disasters I mentioned last time are still being cleared up. Well, China are working hard on theirs at least, digging people out from the rubble following their earthquake. It’s still going to be a massive death toll, with generations of children lost in schools that collapsed, but they really are throwing all their resources at it to find as many survivors as feasibly possible. Whereas Burma, on the other hand, are still not letting foreign aid in following their cyclone, which is very stupid to be honest. The death toll there keeps rising, and there are reports of aid not getting where it’s most needed, but nobody can get in to verify it or help. Occasional bits of aid do get through, but even then, it’s difficult to distribute it.

Back home, the Government have done a big U-turn over their abolition of the 10p tax band, because it had increased the tax burden for lots of people on low incomes. They haven’t put the band back, but most of those affected are getting compensation of £120. Of course, the Government have done this because they care about such people, and not because they have a key by-election coming up… of course not…

Elsewhere, there were riots during a football match in Manchester (the UEFA Cup Final between Rangers and Zenit St Petersburg), after a big screen broke down – most people were taken by bus to a second screen that had been set up, but some drunken yobs just decided to go mad and attack police instead. And in the odder side of the news, we’ve had a man cutting his car in half in protest at being clamped, and an Australian man being fined for strapping his beer into the car seat while his child was unrestrained on the floor in the back of the car (and he didn’t understand what he was doing wrong!).

Monday May 26, 2008

Today is the Spring Bank Holiday, so it’s meant a nice extra day off work. Well, I say nice, the weather is living up to Bank Holiday traditions, but still, it’s nice to be lazy!

The main event of this past week was the Change Workshop I mentioned before. And it was very good, it must be said. Lenny, the lady teaching it, is brilliant. She’s not someone who talks down to you – she’s fun and engaging, and gets everyone involved. So we were introducing ourselves, getting involved in discussions, making drawings with coloured pens and glitter, and playing one or two little games. Not silly things, they all had a purpose.

The whole thing was basically about change in general, not just the Council’s restructuring, although that was obviously a big topic of conversation throughout. But mainly, it was about how to deal with change, and also took in communication styles – out of the 4 colours I’m blue, apparently, as I like logic and facts.

The lunch was lovely too. Churston Golf Club, where the training was held, put on a lovely buffet spread for us with things like pie, sweet and sour pork, chips, veg, salad, etc, and even puddings. And the weather was nice. So it was a good day all in all.

The rest of the week at work has been pretty quiet really. My section and department managers went to a printing conference for a few days, and were pretty happy with the things they picked up there. And there’s not much to report at home really, although Mum did win £50 on the Premium Bonds, which is good.

In the news, Labour lost the by-election in Crewe and Nantwich by miles, which most people expected, Burma are finally starting to let aid in after the cyclone, and China is still getting aftershocks after that terrible earthquake.

But the big story this week was an explosion in the Giraffe restaurant in Exeter’s new Princesshay shopping centre in Exeter. It was in the toilets, and gave the bomber himself facial injuries. He was arrested in Plymouth, and a couple of other devices outside the restaurant were made safe. Turns out the guy has mental health problems, and because he was vulnerable, seems to have been brainwashed into converting to Islam and trying to plant that bomb. It’s very rare we get things like that down here, but it’s been enough to make national news.

The other event this weekend was Eurovision – which we came last in, despite Andy Abraham doing a good job with his song. We got points from San Marino and Ireland, giving us 14 in total. That was it. But the voting is now so heavily biased towards the Eastern European bloc countries (as there’s so many of them) that we would never have had a chance anyway. Nor have most of the Western European nations really. Even Terry Wogan is questioning his future involvement. And you can’t blame him. The combination of political and cultural voting really doesn’t leave the Western European countries much chance any more. Shame, but there you go.

Other than that, there’s not much else to mention really. The rest of this week should be pretty normal, apart from my last ECDL exam.

Author: Glen

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

One thought on “Journal – May 2008”

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