Welcome to another set of journal entries. There’s a fair amount to mention, including socialising, a baptism, building work, and an amusing email from a friend, although there is also less cheerful news with Dad going into hospital. So I hope you find plenty of interest in here as usual.
Sunday September 26, 2010
Our builder’s been here the past couple of weeks, and he’s got quite a bit done. We’ve got new tiled flooring in our kitchen – white instead of black, so it seems lighter now. We’ve also got mirrors in various places – one down my end of the lounge, with my graduation photo and certificate on either side, one by the door in the kitchen, one at the top of the stairs, and a lovely big one in my bedroom. They make the rooms seem a bit bigger and lighter, so they’re nice. He’s also put white lines on the front steps, so it’s easier to see the edges, and a paved area to the right of them instead of what was there before (i.e. not much), and a handle by the porch to help us step down onto that paved bit. And he’s put a fence up at the side of our paved driveway. So it’s all worked out well.
Dad’s not been able to do a lot the past week or so, as he’s had a touch of sciatica in his back, making it hard to move around quickly or lift heavy things. So I’ve helped with the shopping a little bit, either at the weekend, or picking up milk from the corner shop on the way home. Mum and I also went to see the dental hygienist earlier in the month, which went fine for both of us, with no problems. I hadn’t seen her before, but she seems like a nice enough woman. She had a bit of trouble with the water sprayer which she used at one point to clean our teeth with, as she couldn’t control the pressure too easily – so she either ended up spraying water in Mum’s ear, or down my neck, or over the nurse who was next to us helping out! So that made us laugh a bit, not something you do very often in a dentist I suppose! I managed to get a haircut as well this weekend, having waited until after the barber got back from his week’s holiday at Loch Lomond in Scotland.
I finally got around to buying a couple of new things for my computer this week from Comet, which Mum and Dad paid for as my birthday present. One is a Hitachi 1Tb external hard drive for backing things up on, and it might come in useful for storing other things on as well. And the other is a headset (i.e. headphones with a microphone) that I can use on Skype, as my webcam microphone wasn’t working with it properly, and I’ve long wanted a proper headset anyway. And it works fine, as I’ve spoken to SM on it already.
I’ve also had some new DVDs to watch. I’m still working through Family Guy, and have almost done Season 5. It is very funny. I’ll probably have a break from it then though, to watch some of my other new stuff – The Simpsons: Season 13, Are You Being Served?: Season 10 (the final one at last) and The Two Ronnies: Series 8. There are various other bits and pieces coming out between now and Christmas too, so I’ll probably end up getting a bit of a backlog again. Which is good – I’d rather have too much to watch than not enough. I’ve just finished watching the first season of The Ricky Gervais Show on DVD too, and it’s hilarious. It’s not often a show makes me laugh until I cry, but there were moments in there that did. It’s a combination of Karl Pilkington’s unique take on the world, along with Ricky Gervais’ and Stephen Merchant’s laughter, all brought to life with brilliant animation, that really makes it work.
On the TV itself, we do have new series of things like Mock The Week and QI on at the moment, so they’re good too, and I watch a few other bits and pieces that are easy for my hard drive recorder to keep track of and record whenever they pop up. The last season of 24 is out on DVD soon too, so I’ll probably watch them all from the beginning to see the story as a whole. It’s been a while since I saw the earlier seasons anyway.
In the week ahead, my best mate SM’s coming down to Exeter on Tuesday for a short break, but it looks like I’ll only be able to see him for a day on Thursday now, as work’s rather busy at the moment. Which is fine, at least I get to see him, even if it’s more briefly than I’d like, so that should be fun.
Friday October 1, 2010
I had a good time with SM & AB in Exeter this week, and I was able to be there a little bit longer than I’d expected to. So I went up on Wednesday night. AB was out at a party for a girl we once knew from school when I arrived, but she turned up about half an hour later. She wasn’t feeling too well, having got a bit of a head cold at the moment, so SM & I went over to the pub for a couple of drinks, and put some music on the jukebox. That was about it for that evening.
Then, yesterday, we went bowling around midday, meeting a couple of AB’s bowling friends there before they left. We had 5 games on the unlimited deal, most of which I won – and, for much of the time, we were the only people in the place! All the other lanes were empty, it was very quiet!
As tradition dictates, we then went to KFC for lunch, before going to the sweet shop to get some tasty treats between us. We also went into Blockbuster on the way back to AB’s place after that, but there were no DVDs we fancied renting for the evening. So instead we waited in AB’s flat for a little while until ST came over, and we watched the Michael McIntyre stand-up DVD AB had, followed by The Simpsons on TV (a couple of rather weird episodes too!). ST then went home again after that, unable to stay too late as she had to go to work the next day.
A little while after she’d gone, SM & I went over to the pub again, putting some more music on the jukebox and having 5 games of pool (all of which I won, but we were both playing pretty badly!). We fancied going to the fish & chip shop after that, SM getting a jumbo battered sausage and chips, while I got large cod and chips. We brought that back to AB’s flat and watched Family Guy on the TV. AB had gone to bed by then, but was tempted in by the chips!
She went back to bed after that, while SM & I had a flick through the channels, struggling to find things to watch. We saw bits of Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Bullseye, and some of a Comedy Store stand-up show on Comedy Central which was quite good. Wasn’t too long until we went to bed though.
Then today we helped SM get his coach at 11:25, before AB and I met up with EM, one of her old support workers. We went to a little café called Boston Tea Party, where I had a baguette, chocolate cake and a Coke, enough to keep me going for the afternoon. Obviously they did most of talking, having not seen each other for 2 years, but I was able to chip in here and there as usual. And then I came home after that.
AB is being baptised next week with her Christian group of friends – in the sea, believe it or not, so they don’t have to pay to hire a baptising pool in a church – so I’ve been invited along to see that. Her old boyfriend AL’s going to be there too, so it’ll be good to see him again. And it was great to see SM this week of course. He’s not going home just yet, as he’s going to see a few of his old friends from Bournemouth University too, then he’ll go home sometime during next week.
Back at home, I finally get my Premium Bond cheques for September’s winnings today, as did Mum and Dad for theirs, so there must have been a delay somewhere. It was a rollover in the lottery on Wednesday too, but we didn’t win that. There’s an £82 million pound Euromillions draw tonight though, so we’ve bought a few lines for that at home, while SM and I also got a couple of lines each while I was in Exeter, so you never know I guess!
Sunday October 10, 2010
I’m now back at home, having been to AB’s baptism this afternoon with her Christian friends. She invited me down a few weeks ago, and I hadn’t been sure whether to go or not given that I’m a non-believer. But I did, as it was clearly a special occasion for her.
So I went up to Exeter last night. We didn’t do a lot- AB, ST & I just went over to the pub for a couple of drinks, and shared some crisps between us. We fancied something more substantial to eat though, so we went to Pizza Hut after that and brought back a couple of large pizzas to AB’s flat, and ate them while watching Family Guy on TV. We went to bed shortly after that.
Then today AB was up fairly early at about 8:15. She had been wanting to catch an interview she’d done on BBC Radio Devon – about the Christians Against Poverty charity – but missed it. So she’ll have to catch it on the iPlayer now, although I’ve said I’m going to rip her an MP3 from it too and send it to her, so I’ll do that tonight. The radio station might give her a copy too if she asks them, I don’t know. Her friend Liz, who runs the charity in this area, also spoke on the show, and we caught a bit of her talking on the 9 o’clock news.
We met up with ST at The Globe at noon and had some lunch there. I had the all day breakfast, while they each had a quarter pounder with chips. AL turned up just as we were finishing eating, but had time for a drink anyway. AB’s Dad then turned up about 1:15pm. He gave AB, ST, AL and I a lift down to Budleigh Salterton, which is where the baptism was taking place. There were quite a few people there in fact, including a couple of staff members from our old school, and it was good to have the chance to talk to one of them.
There were 2 baptisms, one for AB and one for another girl, and they both went well, starting shortly after 2:30pm. The guy in charge of proceedings told us how the purpose of the baptisms was getting closer to God, then invited the two girls to make little speeches, where they spoke about how and why they’d got into the church, while a poem AB had written was also read out. They were also asked questions about whether they submit to God and Christ, which were simple enough to answer. The crowd were also asked to affirm their faith in God as well, which I didn’t join in with of course, but it didn’t matter.
The two girls were then taken down to the sea – which was quite a tricky walk, as the beach is all pebbles and large stones rather than sand, and there’s a fairly steep slope down to the sea, so we had to be careful! AL & ST stayed at the top of the slope to watch from a distance, quite wisely! As I was filming proceedings on my phone though, and wanted to see things closer anyway, I followed everyone else down.
The two girls were taken a short way out to sea, one at a time, by two people, who briefly submerged the girl in the water, and proclaimed them as being baptised. I couldn’t hear what they were saying of course, but it was clear enough what they were doing. As with the speeches before, the girls each got applause when the baptism was completed. AB had sensibly changed into a wetsuit for the baptism, so as not to get cold in the sea. The other girl didn’t, but she seemed happy enough anyway!
After that, we all made our way up to a local café for drinks and cakes. I had a Coke and a nice piece of toffee cake, and sat with ST. Then we made our way back to the cars. AB, AL & ST were going back to Exeter, just in time for the evening service (like the one I had tagged along to in August). I didn’t go with them though, as I had taken up the offer from AB’s Dad to give me a lift home. We had a good chat on the way about our jobs and families and other things, and I got home about 5:15pm.
So it was a good day all in all. The weather was lovely too, really warm and sunny, like an Indian summer as some were terming it. I’ve got the video of AB’s baptism that I shot on my phone to look at, and I’ll stick it on Facebook for her and other friends to see, and I’ll probably put her radio interview up there too.
The rest of the week prior to the baptism was a bit strange really. I came away from Exeter last week having caught AB’s cold, which I noticed on Saturday night, and particularly on Sunday when I felt rotten. I made it into work on Monday morning though – the only one out of my section of the department to do so, and the same on Tuesday too! One colleague had a chest infection (which would explain why he’d been coughing his guts up the week before!), another had hurt his back, while a third always has Mondays off anyway as she’s part-time, but she’d booked Tuesday off as a holiday too. So it was just me those two days, and just she and I the other three! Our department manage came in to help us out with some jobs though.
Still, the week ended on a positive note for our manager, because he won a ‘Green Award’ as part of National Customer Service Week, as he had reported in our internal company magazine about the environmentally-friendly materials we use and things like that. My colleague had to print his certificate among the other awards without letting him know on Friday, as he didn’t know he was getting it.
Nothing much to report on the home front really, but our builder came around to collect the money for his recent work while I was out today. And that’s it really. I had a nice day out today, and AB enjoyed herself, which is the most important thing.
Tuesday October 26, 2010
Well, this week’s a bit different from the norm, as Mum and I visited Dad in hospital this afternoon (so I only did a half-day at work). He’d been feeling very fatigued, finding it hard to move and eat much, and was in a little bit of pain, so was lying in bed or sitting around for much of the day. He did actually call the doctor a couple of weeks ago because of a pain in his lower back, which they put down to sciatica. But Dad hasn’t been feeling better since they gave him some pills for it, so he called the doctor in again last Friday.
The doctor recommended that Dad go into hospital for a few days, so they can keep an eye on him and run some tests. The nurse rang on Saturday night and said he was on antibiotics in case he had any infections, and a drip to feed him. Mum then rang on Monday morning to see if he was going to be coming out, and they said they still needed to do more investigations. Hence we decided to visit today, given that he was going to be in for a bit longer than we thought.
We went by taxi to the hospital and found Dad pretty easily, and stayed with him for about an hour. He feels better than he did, although he still has the pain that they haven’t found the cause for yet, in the area of his lower back, buttocks and hips. While they don’t know exactly what’s caused his current condition, they have found from the blood tests that he’s anaemic, which would easily explain the lack of energy and fatigue he’s been feeling.
Anyway, they’ve taken plenty of blood from him, and done other tests too – including x-rays, and sticking a camera down his throat to look inside his stomach for 10 minutes, which he hated because it makes you heave as if you’re going to vomit all the time. His stomach turned out to be fine anyway, and he’s been eating a bit more than he was. Still not big, bulky meals, but he’s enjoying the food he’s having in there, and he’s been getting things like peaches and cream for pudding, which he loves too.
He’s also been up and about a bit, even if it’s just walking down the corridor to the bathroom. It still hurts to get up because of the hip pain, but he manages alright. There’s a nice, reasonably sized TV screen above his bed too, which is on an arm that he can pull down so it’s in front of him. It’s quite good – you can watch TV, listen to the radio, surf the web, play games, see hospital information, and so on. Much of the operation is touch-screen though, so it’s a bit harder if you can’t see it. But I left it on Radio 5 for him when we left, so he can listen to the football tonight.
So it’s meant that Mum and I have been on our own since Friday night, but we’ve managed fine, watching The Two Ronnies while we have dinner, and carrying on with life as normal. Mum and Dad can have a new experience watching the TV now anyway, as we’ve got a new talking Freeview box, made by Goodmans and sold by the RNIB – it speaks the channel and programme information, the numbers you type in on the remote control, and all the menus, so it’s very useful. The speech isn’t perfect, and will no doubt improve over time with new software updates, or a new version of the product, but it’s still pretty good as it is. It also gives access to audio description for TV shows, which Mum’s been able to try on Dad’s Army, Poirot and The Darling Buds Of May in particular, and she’s been enjoying that.
As for me, I’m working my way through 24 now that Season 8 is nearly out on DVD – I’m up to Season 2 so far. I’m also getting the 24 soundtracks on CD, as I can’t download them all from iTunes or Amazon. I’ve also started watching the new Sherlock drama written by Steven Moffat (who was also in charge of the last series of Doctor Who) and Mark Gatiss, and it’s very good indeed, I must say. It’s a very original way of presenting the stories, set in modern times and told for a modern audience, with good acting and pacing. I’ve only watched one of the three episodes so far, but it’s very promising, and I know they have another series in the works.
There’s lots of other stuff coming out on DVD too apart from 24. I’ve just got a new Rolling Stones DVD (Ladies & Gentlemen), of one of their most famous concerts from the 1970s. There’s also the third series of Chuck, plus various other programmes and stand-up comedy shows to look forward to over the next couple of months leading up to Christmas. So there’s going to be plenty to keep me occupied for some time, which is good.
As for work, a few people there have been away too. The colleague with a chest infection turned out to have a collapsed lung – they’ve given him antibiotics, and he feels fine, even if he can’t do too much heavy stuff for a while. He is back at work though. The lung will heal itself, and he’ll know when it’s re-inflating because it’ll feel painful! The other guy with a bad back has also returned, but our manager’s been off with a chest infection as well now! And a couple of other people have been on holiday too. So there have continued to be some quiet days. Luckily I haven’t had time off as well. Apart from all that though, the work itself has been pretty standard, nothing too major.
Wednesday October 27, 2010
Forwarded from a friend:
- I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
- Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
- I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
- Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
- The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.
- Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
- If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
- We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
- War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
- Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
- The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
- Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good evening’, and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
- To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
- A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.
- How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
- Some people are like Slinkies – not really good for anything, but you can’t help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.
- Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.
- I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.
- A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don’t need it.
- Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says “If an emergency, notify:” I put “Doctor”.
- I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
- Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
- Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
- Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
- Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
- A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
- You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
- The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
- Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.
- A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
- Hospitality – making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.
- Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
- I discovered I scream the same way whether I’m about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.
- Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.
- There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.
- I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not sure.
- I always take life with a grain of salt, plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.
- When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
- You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
- To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
- Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
- Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.
- A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
- If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?
- Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
Friday October 29, 2010
Well, we’ve just got back from seeing Dad for a couple of hours. He’s more awake and alert than he was on Tuesday, although they still haven’t given him any treatment yet. They’ve still been doing various tests. He had a prostate exam the other day, which included sticking a tube up his rear and blowing air up – which has to escape later of course, so there’s a fair amount of gas released for a while after apparently! They found a few small nodules on his prostate – which aren’t serious at the moment, as they’ve caught them early, so they’ve given him pills to get rid of them. That’s not the cause of his anaemia, which is still unknown, it’s just an extra little thing they found.
The latest test he had was a bone scan earlier today, which entailed laying flat on his back and being put through one of those big tunnel scanner machines for about 20 minutes. In order for everything to show up on the scan, they had to inject him with some radioactive stuff, so he’s now got a yellow bracelet on his wrist saying he has nuclear material inside him. When he goes to the toilet, there even has to be some paper spread over the seat of the bowl, and a jug for him to pee in, as they have to dispose of the waste in a special way! That’ll last until Monday, according to the bracelet he has on. They’re still doing blood tests too, and a blood specialist will be coming to see him soon, probably early next week. Other than that, he’s still not eating a lot, although he has had some here and there – apparently the food’s not as nice as the last time he went in though. But at least he’s getting something in him. So Mum and I are going to go back next Tuesday to see how things are going then.
Not too much else to report really, as it’s only been a few days. I had a call from a girl at the University Of Exeter, asking me about my experience at university and seeing if they’d be interested in me making a gift towards improvements at the Business School, so ultimately they were after money. I’ll give it a look though, as the improvements sound good, even if they’ll be of no consequence to me now whether they happen or not. I also had a call from AB, and she’s posted status messages on Facebook, to say that she’s got a couple of job interviews coming up today and tomorrow, so hopefully she’ll have some luck there, or with any interviews that come along. And work’s been pretty standard – our manager’s back in now, as his chest infection’s gradually going, and other colleagues are back from holidays, so we’re pretty much back to full staff again.