Journal – October-December 2009

Time to finish off another year with a brief bit of socialising, a new mobile phone, more DVDs, Doctor Who, a mixture of news stories, and of course Christmas. I hope you enjoy!

Saturday October 31, 2009

I ought to get in one entry this month, as it’s been so long since my last one. I think it’s better doing an entry once a month though, or as events arise, rather than trying to write something more frequently when there’s less to tell.

Work’s going fine. Neal came in for my second Customer Service NVQ session, where he asked me some more questions and I showed him a bit of what I did, so that’s progressing nicely. We’ve also had a manual handling course and had to do easy little health and safety questionnaires, as they’ve been cracking down on that a bit. We’re all getting new safety shoes as well, so I’ve ordered a pair with steel toecaps. I hardly ever have to lift anything heavy, but you never know when something might drop on your toes, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

At home, meanwhile, my mobile decided to die on me recently, so rather than get it repaired, I’m just going to upgrade to the next one. I’m going to go from a Nokia 6300 to a Nokia 6303. It’s an improvement on the 6300 with better battery life and other little enhancements. Mum and Dad are going to pay towards that as my Christmas present, although I’ve also built up a fair amount of money in Orange‘s Phone Fund through my top-ups as well, so that’ll bring the price down too.

I’m also buying a fair number of DVDs as always, especially now in the run up to Christmas. This week I’ve received 24: Season 7, a remastered Fawlty Towers set with new extras (even audio menu navigation and audio description), and Status Quo: Pictures – Live At Montreux (a DVD + CD set), and I’ll be ordering other things soon I expect. I’ve been working my way through The Simpsons: Season 12 lately as well.

On TV itself, Harry Hill’s TV Burp is back (and there’s a second DVD compilation of that out soon), along with Have I Got News For You, and Russell Howard’s Good News on BBC3 is also proving quite enjoyable. So while there’s not a lot on TV, there are sill bits here and there. Graham Norton’s chat show is now on BBC1 too, and he has some interesting guests on sometimes. And then in mid-November we get the first of David Tennant’s final 3 adventures as Doctor Who, called The Waters Of Mars. He also made a fun guest appearance in the Sarah Jane Adventures this week. It’ll be a shame to see him go, but the Christmas 2-part finale’s bound to be good.

Of course, I suppose I’m lucky to receive any DVDs at all with the postal strikes that are going on at the moment. The Royal Mail want to modernise, which the union accept will result in new equipment like walksorting machines, and hence a loss of jobs. But the union claim they haven’t been consulted enough and haven’t agreed to anything, and the Royal Mail are stubbornly saying the opposite. Hopefully they can keep talking and resolve the matter, but we’ve already had 5 days of strikes by various parts of the workforce in the last couple of weeks, and a few more days are already planned.

Another big news story recently was the BNP’s Nick Griffin appearing on Question Time, which caused a lot of controversy. We know what he’s like, and he lived up to his reputation, so there’s little to be said on it. But a different sort of controversy altogether occurred in America when a mother and father claimed their son had been carried away in a hot air balloon they owned, causing various emergency services to be involved in tracking it, and the events being broadcast live on TV – only for the boy to be found safe and sound in their attic. Which appeared to be a great relief for their parents. Unfortunately, they were invited on to a chat programme to talk about it – and when the boy was asked why he was hiding in the attic, he gave away that it had all been done for show. The parents had been on TV twice before, once in Wife Swap, and were after a bit more attention by the sounds of it. They’ve now been arrested.

Other than that, to finish all I can think of for the moment:

Friday November 13, 2009

This has been a busy week. Monday at work was pretty much a normal day, but then a colleague had to nip off on Tuesday to deal with a family emergency, and I had to cover for him. So I had plenty to do, especially as I was going to be on leave myself for the rest of the week!

Then on Wednesday I went up to Exeter for the day to meet SM & AB. SM had booked the time off because he thought he would have an appointment, but misjudged it, forgetting he’d last been up in July, so isn’t due back until around January! Still, he was going on to Bournemouth and Southampton next, to meet some of his old friends from university, so he’s making the most of his short visit. So we went to KFC for lunch, got a few little bits in the shops in town, visited a new sweet shop selling all the old pick ‘n’ mix type of stuff, went bowling, and visited an all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant. All of which was very enjoyable.

I then spent Thursday and Friday relaxing at home, sorting out a few bits and pieces. Mum and Dad got me a new watch, because the strap came off my old one the other day, and despite getting it put back on twice, the hole it clips into is obviously too worn. And it’s a nice watch too – it’s formed part of my Christmas present with my new mobile phone, which I received last week (the Nokia 6303 I mentioned in my last entry). It’s a nice phone too, and the battery is lasting a lot longer than the old 6300 was managing in recent months (I had been needing to charge it more often than before). So that’s good. As for DVDs, I will buy some more shortly – I still haven’t got around to watching 24: Season 7 just yet, but I’ve finished The Simpsons and now moved on to watching Fawlty Towers, which are always funny no matter how many times you see them.

There hasn’t really been a lot going on in the news. Afghanistan keeps coming up, such as the mother of a soldier killed in action who got upset because Gordon Brown appeared to spell her son’s name wrong in his scrawly handwriting. The Sun published the details of the letter and the subsequent phone call apology from the PM, and he has apologised for any upset he caused. There was also a mass shooting at Fort Hood army base in Texas.

But, in more cheerful news, two tickets from the UK won £45 million each on the Euromillions. One was a syndicate from Hewlett Packard in Liverpool, and the other was a married couple from Newport. Lucky them!

Friday December 31, 2009

Heh, well, I haven’t been the most dutiful writer in this journal this year. I just haven’t had the urge I suppose, as it’s been a nice, normal year really.

Work’s been much the same as ever, and I didn’t go in at all during Christmas week. I decided to have Monday and Tuesday off anyway, arranged around a colleague’s days off. But on the Wednesday there was so much ice about that the taxis couldn’t get to me! So I ended up having the day off – and, as Christmas Eve was a half day anyway, and likely to be icy too, I had that day off as well. So I ended up having the whole week free to laze around!

So Christmas week was a nice quiet affair. I got a bit of money from my relatives, which I can put into the bank with the £25 Premium Bond cheque I got this month too. They also sent a fleecy jumper for Dad and I, and a top for Mum, along with a hamper for us all to share. My new mobile phone was already my present from Mum and Dad of course, and I had bought them some Sherlock Holmes audiobooks that they wanted.

We went out shopping on Christmas Eve (it wasn’t too icy to walk then, although still not perfect) to see if we could get a turkey from Tesco, and came back with an extra large one! So we had a delicious few days of roast dinners and turkey sandwiches from that. And I was able to get a couple of Tunis Cakes, which I like having at this time of year. So they’ve been nice, especially as we couldn’t get them last year.

This week I’ve been at work from Tuesday until today, but it’s been very quiet, as we’ve only had half the staff in. And we did leave shortly after 3pm each day, which was good. No point in staying around longer than necessary!

I’ve been mainly watching DVDs like Season 7 of 24 and various stand-up comedy shows that I bought. But the big TV event is The End Of Time, the final two-part story for David Tennant as Doctor Who. The second part’s tomorrow, and it’s already proving to be a great finale for him. He’s been on various other shows as a result of course, hosting Never Mind The Buzzcocks and being on QI for instance. The new Doctor will have a lot to live up to! There have been a few other fun programmes on as well, but not lots.

Music-wise, I’ve been downloading some as usual. The streaming music service Spotify is great for listening to things and finding stuff I might then want to download to keep from somewhere like Amazon. The most amusing music story this month, however, was that people on the internet got together to try and force a 1992 song by Rage Against The Machine to stop the latest X Factor winner from getting the Christmas Number 1 – and it worked! Killing In The Name, not the most cheerful song and with swearing at the end (as their performance on Radio 5 Live proved!) actually took the top spot that week. The X Factor’s Joe McElderry rose to number 1 the next week, but that didn’t matter. The idea was to stop another X Factor Christmas Number 1. Petty perhaps, but I’m glad the campaign worked. And who knows, because of that there may be similar attempts in subsequent years.

And on a final happy note, Status Quo leaders Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt have got OBEs in the honours list!

I can’t think of much else to mention to be honest. The rest of the news hasn’t been too thrilling, which is hardly surprising. Tonight I’m just relaxing at home for New Years Eve. And then we have a three day weekend, which is nice. Then let’s see what 2010 brings!

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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