Journal – July 2011

Welcome to another set of journal entries. This month I spent a lot of time sorting out all the stuff in the loft, bought some more DVDs and had some work experience students at work, while the big news stories have included the final publication of the scandalous News Of The World, the terror attacks in Norway, and the death of Amy Winehouse. I’ve also received some more jokes (not always clean!) from a couple of friends during the month, so I’ve included those for variety as well. I hope you enjoy!

Saturday July 2, 2011

6 months since Dad passed away already. Seems hard to believe that the time’s gone so quickly. But we’ve achieved a great deal. As of this past week, in fact, we’ve finished sorting out Dad’s estate. The solicitor made the final payment from the tax repayments Dad was due, and so that closes our business with him. We’ve got a copy of the estate account for Dad for our records as well, and obviously the solicitor keeps a copy too. We’ve also finally finished getting rid of Dad’s old DVDs and their cases, which Mum was putting in the rubbish bit by bit when they collect every couple of weeks. So now she can get on with starting to sort things out in the kitchen to get rid of. Meanwhile I’ll probably start doing a few bits in the loft, and there’s also the shed to do too.

The London plans are still on of course, we’re still talking about the things we’re looking forward to when we get there. And Mum’s now able to talk to Nan on the phone again, now that Nan’s had her ears syringed and got a new hearing aid. It was proving difficult for them to chat on the phone when Nan couldn’t hear much, which I think was frustrating both of them. Especially as Nan wasn’t well for a short period, so my Aunt had to stay over with her, but Nan didn’t have to go into hospital. She’s still healthy and tough despite her age! I’ve been looking into, and have suggested that my Aunt looks for, the possibility of getting an amplifier for Nan’s phone. It plugs into the part of the phone where the cord from the handset usually goes, then you plug the handset into the amplifier. So that might come in handy for Nan.

Not much else to report from home other than that really, but I got my hair cut today. And I’ve nearly finished Season 8 of 24 on DVD, which has proven to be very good like all the others. There hasn’t been a lot on TV itself lately, other than Mock The Week, but I did see a few bits of Glastonbury last weekend, where U2 did a good headline set.

And Mum’s been listening to Wimbledon over the past couple of weeks. Andy Murray lost his semi-final match yesterday, unsurprisingly. So again the Brits haven’t done too well – although we do have 17-year-old Liam Broady in the Junior Men’s Final, which is good.

Work’s been the usual fare too really. Another colleague retired at the end of the past week though, so we’re having a farewell dinner for him on Saturday 16th July. It’ll be at the same place we had the meal for the other colleague who left earlier in the year. With both of them gone, our manager noted that the average age of the workforce has gone down noticeably. He also jokingly wondered who would be next to go – seems strange to be there thinking that it could well be me, even though it’s not the right time to tell him yet until Mum and I have some idea of when we’re going to move. Which won’t be for a while yet at least. But other than that, there isn’t a lot else to mention at the moment.

Sunday July 3, 2011

Forwarded from a friend, this is a real list.

From Thomas Cook – listing some guests’ complaints during the season:

  1. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”
  2. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time – this should be banned.”
  3. “On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry.  I don’t like spicy food at all.”
  4. “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels.”
  5. A tourist at a top African game lodge over looking a water hole, who spotted a visibly aroused elephant, complained that the sight of this rampant beast ruined his honeymoon by making him feel “inadequate”.
  6. A woman threatened to call police after claiming that she’d been locked in by staff. When in fact, she had mistaken the “do not disturb” sign on the back of the door as a warning to remain in the room.
  7. “The beach was too sandy.”
  8. “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as yellow but it was white.”
  9. A guest at a Novotel in Australia complained his soup was too thick and strong. He was inadvertently slurping the gravy at the time.
  10. “Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women.”
  11. “We bought ‘Ray-Ban’ sunglasses for five Euros from a street trader, only to find out they were fake.”
  12. “No-one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled.”
  13. “There was no egg slicer in the apartment.”
  14. “We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”
  15. “The roads were uneven.”
  16. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It only took the Americans three hours to get home.”
  17. “I compared the size of our one-bedroom apartment to our friends’ three-bedroom apartment and ours was significantly smaller.”
  18. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the accommodation’. We’re trainee hairdressers – will we be OK staying there?”
  19. “There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish. The food is Spanish. Too many foreigners now live abroad.”
  20. “We had to queue outside with no air conditioning.”
  21. “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”
  22. “I was bitten by a mosquito – no-one said they could bite.”
  23. “My fiancé and I booked a twin-bedded room but we were placed in a double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”

They walk amongst us and they vote!!! Be afraid! Be very afraid!

Wednesday July 6, 2011

Forwarded from a friend:

At a Senior Citizen’s luncheon, an elderly gentleman and an elderly lady struck up a conversation and discovered that they both loved to fish.

Since both of them were widowed, they decided to go fishing together the next day.

The gentleman picked the lady up, and they headed to the river to his fishing boat and started out on their adventure.

They were riding down the river when there was a fork in the river, and the gentleman asked the lady “Do you want to go up or down?”

All of a sudden the lady stripped off her shirt and pants and made mad passionate love to the man right there in the boat!

When they finished, the man couldn’t believe what had just happened, but he had just experienced the best sex that he’d had in years.

They fished for a while and continued on down the river, when soon they came upon another fork in the river.

He again asked the lady “Up or down?”

There she went again, stripped off her clothes, and made wild passionate love to him again.

This really impressed the elderly gentleman, so he asked her to go fishing again the next day..

She said yes and there they were the next day, riding in the boat when they came upon the fork in the river, and the elderly gentleman asked “Up or down?”

The woman replied “Down.”

A little puzzled and disappointed, the gentleman guided the boat down the river when he came upon another fork in the river and he asked the lady “Up or down?”

She replied “Up.”

This really confused the gentleman, so he asked “What’s the deal? Yesterday, every time I asked you if you wanted to go up or down you made mad passionate love to me. Now today, nothing!”

She replied “Well, yesterday I wasn’t wearing my hearing aid and I thought the choices were fuck or drown.”

Sunday July 17, 2011

I’ll start off talking about work this time, and we had a colleague’s leaving dinner last night, which was a good evening out. Nothing special to report on it really, but it was nice.

We also had a few students from a local college come in to do some work experience. We usually get a few every year. Last year’s students weren’t all that enthusiastic or bothered about it, but this year’s were alright, a girl and two boys. As usual we had them do a newsletter for their college, but we did other bits and pieces for them too.

One of the guys was the main one who did the computer work putting the document together. And the girl was the type who likes to chat to a lot of people, and she’s a bit quirky too. She liked singing a jingle from an O2 advert for instance (“I was born a handsome man, now I’m half a goat”), which got stuck in our heads for a bit. And we also printed a life-size cardboard cut-out of her which she now has in her room at home – I think it’s surprised a few people! The other guy was probably the quieter one of the group, a bit like me really, but he had some fun playing around with pictures in Photoshop and getting one or two large printouts from that.

They seemed happy with their time anyway, and hopefully were pleased with their newsletter in the end. Printing it was a bit last-minute, as it needed tweaking to make it work with the copiers, but they got there late on Friday after I’d gone home, with my manager helping them out.

At home, I’ve started sorting out the loft now, and we’ve been looking up charity shops to see what sort of stuff they take. A fair amount of cardboard’s already gone off to the recycling bank in the weekly collections. There were old audiobook cassettes of Dad’s that we’ll get rid of in the main rubbish. But there are some ornaments and a box full of physical books (Famous Five, Just William, Lord Of The Rings, etc) that could go to charity. And the vinyl records, when I find them, can be given to charity, or sold in the future maybe, although I might want to copy some of them to a digital format first to keep them. We’ll have to see what there is, I can’t remember everything now.

That’s the only thing worth mentioning on the home front though, nothing special’s happening other than that. There’s a new series of Torchwood on the TV though, called Miracle Day, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes.

The news has been dominated by pretty much one story. The News Of The World has now closed after 168 years, following scandals over phone hacking. In the beginning, which was a little while ago now, it was just about a few celebrities and politicians, but since then it’s grown and grown. It seems that private investigators, working with a few rogue journalists a few years ago, somehow got numbers for – and are alleged to have hacked into the voicemails of – the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and victims of 9/11, to name just two of the most significant revelations. And there’s no reason for them to do that, especially given that it affects people in severe distress.

So Rupert Murdoch, the head of News International, and some of his colleagues have been ordered to appear before Parliament. Rebekah Brooks, the editor of the newspaper at the time the events were alleged to have occurred, was refusing to resign from her current position, claiming she knew nothing about what was happening at the time. Which nobody accepted. She must have known what was happening, given how serious it was, and failed to control it. And even if she is telling the truth and didn’t know, then it shows her incompetence as an editor in keeping a close watch on what journalists are doing. So she eventually resigned this past week, a few days after the final issue was printed. And another person near the top has resigned too.

I didn’t buy the final paper – I never bought any of their other editions anyway, so had no reason to buy this one. But the front page said “Thank You And Goodbye”, and contained an editorial apologising for what had happened. No adverts were placed in the paper that day either – just as well, considering a lot of the biggest companies were already pulling their advertising thanks to the scandal coming to light. So all the advertising space was offered up to charities, although many refused as they didn’t want to be associated with it. But it sounds like some still did. The profits from each issue sold also went to charity, plus people can now buy souvenir editions of the paper’s very first and very last editions, with £1 from those sales going to charity.

A full page apology from Rupert Murdoch for the scandal was published in many newspapers today. And the other Sunday papers are all printing extra editions tomorrow, to try and attract News Of The World’s former readers to come to them. Although there are rumours that The Sun, also owned by Murdoch’s News International company, will be launching a Sunday edition too. It’s a market they’re all keen to get a piece of, considering News Of The World was the biggest selling paper. And finally, the scandal has also forced Murdoch to drop his bid to take over BSkyB, which had been going on for a while. All the main government parties were agreeing on a motion to recommend he drop it anyway, while Ofcom and the Competition Commission were also investigating things. So it all became a big mess really, although I’m sure they’ll try for the bid again after they feel things have died down a bit. That won’t be for some time yet though I expect.

So those are the main things that have been going on the past couple of weeks. I’m not aware of anything special coming up for the rest of this month, but we’ll see what happens as always.

Saturday July 30, 2011

So here’s another month coming to an end. Nothing special to report at work, but it’s been quite a productive month at home, in terms of sorting out things in the loft. Loads of books, ornaments and some cookware that can be given away to charity shops. Lots of photos of people from Dad’s family that I don’t know, although some have been worth keeping. Photos of Mum and Dad’s wedding that I will certainly keep. We found Mum’s wedding dress too, which is nice, but we won’t be keeping that. Some stamps and a few coins – there’s still much more of the latter to be found I think, and it’ll be interesting to see if they’re worth anything later down the line. Same goes for the box full of football programmes I found, which also contained a few other things like certificates from Boys Brigade when Dad was in it, and school reports for both him and Mum. There’s an old rifle and a sword that Grandad would have had during the war too. So there’s lots of fun stuff coming out.

Our builder came around yesterday morning and fixed the light that had gone in the loft, and also changed the battery in our smoke detector to stop it beeping. His wife’s in hospital at the moment recovering from an operation, but she’ll hopefully be able to go home soon.

Other than that, I’ve ordered another load of Amazon stuff, having not done an order for a few months. It includes the extended edition Lord Of The Rings trilogy on Blu-Ray, The Two Ronnies: Series 10 & 11, Family Guy: Season 10, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Francis Rossi Live At St Luke’s in London, and Status Quo’s new album Quid Pro Quo. So that’ll keep me going for a while!

There hasn’t been a lot on the TV beyond the new Torchwood series. But the news channels have been kept busy since last weekend. The big story has been twin terror attacks by Anders Behring Breivik in Norway, a country you almost never hear about. A massive explosion went off in the government district in Oslo near the ruling Labour party’s headquarters, killing 8 people and injuring many others. And then, while the police were dealing with that, he went over to the nearby island of Utøya, disguised as a policeman, where there was a political youth camp going on, again connected to the ruling party. Over a period of 90 minutes he shot and killed 60-70 people, with a few more drowning as they dived into the water to get away from him. There were a few survivors, and their stories of his actions make it sound quite terrifying.

He was very calm and collected about it all, as he thought what he was doing was ‘gruesome but necessary’ – hence when the police found him, he surrendered instantly rather than killing himself. It appears he was striking against the ruling party because they were allowing Islamic people in the country. And the police reckon he had planned the attacks, by himself it seems, for 9 years.

So that’s been keeping the news people busy. And then, on the same day, singer Amy Winehouse died, at the age of just 27. While not a fan myself, it’s still very sad that she did herself so much damage with drink and drugs over the years, wasting the opportunities that were available to her in the music business. She had so much going for her, and her friends and family had done so much to help her. It’s a great shame.

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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