Journal – June-July 2009

Time for another couple of long journal entries. Again there’s just one per month, but there’s been plenty to write about, as I’ve had a good time socialising and going to a summer ball, and a few news stories have caught my eye as usual too. So I hope you enjoy!

Sunday June 28, 2009

Wow, over a month since I last wrote in here, I’m getting worse! Ah well. There hasn’t been much to tell you, quite honestly. But things have been picking up a bit recently.

At work, apart from all the normal jobs, I’ve been trying to fill out my Job Evaluation appeal like everyone else. Thankfully they’ve extended the deadline though. Not that they’ll fully read what we eventually give them I suspect, but still, no harm in trying to get a fair score!

I’ve also signed up for an NVQ in Customer Service, being run by South Devon College, and which my manager suggested would be good for me to go on. Not because I need to improve my customer service skills necessarily, but it might be useful and will make a good addition to my CV. It will start later this year, and mainly involves someone coming in to assess me as I work, and a few hours of formal training workshops as well. There’s no exams or homework or anything like that, which is good. Another colleague has mentioned going on a management training course of some sort before, but as I’m not particularly aiming for a managerial position, and as the course seems to involve a lot of reading from what I gather, I can’t claim I’m overly keen on it. Maybe one day, but not at this moment in time.

Away from work, I’ve just got back from a weekend with AB & AL in Exeter. AB was going to cook a belly of pork on Friday night – which she did, but it didn’t turn out that great apparently. I don’t know what it was like, because I didn’t get to eat any in the end .She had put my plate in the oven to warm it up for when I got there, but it ended up cracking! So I ended up getting fish and chips instead.

On Saturday, we spent a bit of time in The Globe, before meeting up with ST and going for a meal at a pub by the Quay (near the On The Waterfront pizza restaurant, which was too busy for us to go in). I ended up having fish and chips there as well, funnily enough, followed by a lovely sticky toffee pudding.

After that, we went to the Tenpin bowling alley, where we had a drink and played pool and air hockey while waiting for 10pm to arrive – because that’s when the unlimited bowling happens, between then and midnight when the alley closes. So, after losing at pool to AL, and air hockey to ST (which she’d never played before, but she was very good!), we got in 3 games of bowling among the four of us. I beat AB in all of them – quite surprisingly on the first one, because I was a good 20-25 points behind at least, but then managed to get 2 strikes in a row to pass her! So I won that match, and AL won the other two overall.

Then today, AL went home, while AB and I met D, a friend of hers from our school. He must have been in her year, as I don’t remember him, but he’s a cool guy. We went to a pub in town and had a carvery for lunch, which was very nice and filling! Then we popped into Currys, so AB could show D her new TV – she’s got a Samsung LCD TV now, which looked pretty good. Only one Scart socket, but it does have 3 HDMI (High Definition) inputs. We don’t think it’s full-on HD ready (as it’s not 1080pi standard), but it’s good enough for what she wants and what she can afford. After that we went our separate ways, and I did a little bit of shopping before coming home.

I’ll be going back up there in a couple of weeks again, because The Globe are having a Summer Ball, with a Phil Collins tribute act, disco, raffle, etc. The dress code is smart, but that’s not a problem. It should be a good night. AB, AL & ST are all going too.

So that’s pretty much all I’ve been up to really. As for the news, the MPs expenses scandal has been rumbling away, and Parliament now have a new Speaker, plus the BBC have published their own expenses, which have also received bits of criticism in the current climate of people searching for information. Still, they did better than the government, who did finally publish their expenses online – but, unlike the Daily Telegraph’s versions, lots of detail was blacked out, including addresses of second homes for security reasons, meaning you couldn’t find out about things like ‘flipping’ second home addresses, which was exposed by the Telegraph. So the government still aren’t being as open as they say they are, surprise surprise!

But all of that, and wars and disputed elections in foreign countries, and even Wimbledon (where we only have Andy Murray left for the Brits now) have all been overshadowed since Friday, as there’s only been one story dominating the headlines.

Michael Jackson has died at the age of only 50. The understanding is that he was taking lots of medication, perhaps even more so than usual in preparation for his set of 50 gigs at the O2 Arena, and he had been looking very frail, giving people doubts as to whether he could do it. But nobody could have suspected he would pass away. He was a bit weird and certainly controversial, and he’s not one of my favourite artists either – but some of his music is still good, he was a great influence on many other artists, and he did a lot of work for charity. Plus it’s a tragedy for anyone to die that young. So it’s given the media plenty to do this weekend, with the radio and music TV channels playing his songs non-stop, and tributes have been paid to him at Glastonbury over the weekend as well.

I won’t say any more on it – the papers have been chock-full of it enough already! Instead, I’ll leave it there for this week, and I’ll write again in a couple of weeks or so after The Globe’s Summer Ball!

Sunday July 19, 2009

Right, I’m back from another few days away – I’ve been up to Exeter twice in the past week or so. Last weekend I went to The Globe‘s Summer Ball, and it was a good night, with AB, AL & ST also there. They had Bill Collins (a Phil Collins tribute act), who was a guy singing along to backing tracks, but he did sound like Phil Collins to be fair. There was a buffet as well, and a disco to round off the evening. We all dressed up smart, as was the requirement, so I had a shirt, tie, smart trousers and my work shoes on. I didn’t wear a suit though. We even got a free bottle of champagne from Trevor, one of the guys overseeing the evening, and from one of AB’s friends from the pub, so that was cool too. There wasn’t the raffle that the ticket said there would be, unless they held it before we arrived, but that doesn’t matter.

Then, after a two-day week at work, I went back up to Exeter again on Wednesday, as my best made SM had come down to stay. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to go for long, because of some training on a new resource management system at work that had been pencilled in for this week, but they’ve moved it back until at least the end of August now, and it’s still not 100% clear if we’ll be using it in our department at all (given that we already have a system for recording time and resources used on jobs).

Anyway, after our traditional KFC, and a game of Monopoly on his laptop, AB, SM & I went to the hospital for him to have his check-up, which went alright. He hasn’t noticed any real improvement since the laser treatment he had, and still has to have a day or two off work because his eyes are tired, but the doctor says that could be the lighting conditions. I know our lighting at work was bad before the new lights were put in a while back, so it’s very possible. Anyway, his next appointment will be in about 4 months time.

We didn’t do a lot that evening, we just lazed around back at AB’s flat. SM watched the 4th Harry Potter film (The Goblet Of Fire) which I’d brought down on DVD for him. He watched it on AB’s PC, as she hasn’t got her DVD player hooked up to her new flat screen TV yet. Which wasn’t ideal, as it kept freezing every so often – her computer’s not greatly set up it would seem!

On Thursday, when we eventually went out for lunch mid-afternoon, we popped down to Pizza Hut, before going bowling, which I did pretty badly at this time around, while SM did rather well. Then we spent some time in The Globe, putting music on the jukebox – or ‘jokebox’ as SM accidentally said at one point! Actually, when we were in Pizza Hut and he was telling us about his Caribbean cruise, he mentioned Rabbi steak instead of rib-eye steak! So that was two things to tease him about, and he couldn’t find any gaffes of mine to taunt me with in return! But anyway, I didn’t do spectacularly at pool in the pub either, and we ended up relaxing back at AB’s flat after that for the rest of the evening.

Then on Friday, we had lunch in The Globe (I actually had one of their breakfasts), before heading back to AB’s flat for the afternoon to watch the 5th Harry Potter film (Order Of The Phoenix) – this time with audio description for SM’s benefit, which I forgot was on the 4th DVD as well! The reason we were watching both of those films was because the 6th film has just come out (The Half-Blood Prince). So we met up with ST and went to the fish and chip shop (where I had jumbo sausage and chips) before heading to the Odeon and seeing the new film. Which was pretty good, as all of the films in the series have been so far.

Then yesterday (Saturday), SM headed home in the morning, while I had lunch with AB at The Globe (a burger this time) and a few games of pool (which I did quite well at this time!), before making my own way home. So it was a good few days altogether with my friends.

Nothing much to report on the work front really. We had a couple of lads in on work experience who did a newsletter for their school. It tends to be what we suggest they do, as it does help them to see a bit of how the whole process works. We’ve also got to get our Job Evaluation appeals in by the end of this coming week, and I’ve just about finished mine I think! It’s hard to keep it concise, but I’ve done my best.

At home, we’ve all got prizes on the Premium Bonds this month, but again things have been quiet otherwise. As has the news been really. England and Australia are playing the Ashes cricket matches at the moment – we drew the first, and are winning the second, so nothing to shout about. Michael Jackson keeps popping up in the news as they try to sort out who gets what, including who looks after his children. And there’s the usual other cheerful stuff, such as swine flu of course. And Britain’s oldest WWI veteran has died aged 113!

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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