Friday, 24 December 2010

Advent: Dec 22nd

Not much of a lay in as i had to go to town and get last minute presents and take my bike in for its free 1st Service. The bike ride was a little iffy due to the ice down by the river but not too bad.
Dropped my bike off and went and said hello to the people of Crumbs as i have gone from seeing them every day and now i see them, well whenever i get to go there. Had a little chat and a cup of tea. Wished them Merry Christmas and went to get my presents. Walked round for quite a bit trying to find the presents. Took awhile but i got there in the end.

Due to not having any money and well no bike either, i walked home. Wasn't too bad, still very icy out there though.

With the long cold walk home done, i sat down and opened a few cans of beer, watched TV till the early morning.

Yes i know there is a theme going on here, late nights drinking. Ah well.

Advent: Dec 21st

Lay in cut short due to me going to Woodley and meeting my mum to help with the shopping. Though due to not paying much attention i had no idea whether it was 12:30 or 1:30 she finished. So i chose to go earlier.
Walk there wasn't too cold but still icy so just walked along the road all the way there, turned out i was early so went to a cafe and had an All Day Breakfast and a large pot of tea.
Was walking around killing time and saw an old school friend, had a little catch up and mentioned the plans for Christmas Eve which he was on board with. More the merrier really.
While we were chatting i saw another friend of mine i hadn't seen in awhile so little catch up and mentioned plans for Christmas Eve again :) I do like Reading for that reason. You could be walking round town and see old friends, customers or family.

Went and met my mum and chatted to the staff at the shop, i used to work there years ago, then went to get food/drink for Christmas. Had to wait ages for the bus but that's usual in Woodley. It is quite a desolate place these days, why does one little place need TWO card shops, 3 cafes and numerous hairdressers? Pointless.

Found out that my friend i met, the first one, got clamped outside the Chequers pub. Which was shit as he had to pay £100 for a release fee. But to be fair its only like 40p to park in the actual car park...

Anyway came home and sorted everything out, sat down with a nice bottle of St Helliers cider and spent the afternoon doing nothing. Was going to go into town but it started to snow, briefly, and i was comfortable.

So another lazy and late night in. These will get boring soon.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Advent: Dec 20th

Another lazy day where nothing was achieved. I sat around on the computer organizing it so its a little faster and a lot of crap got deleted. Watched numerous films and TV shows. Lots of tea was drunk, but then thats most days really.

I really need to clean my room as im sure there are A LOT of weird crap which would result in an interesting blog post.

One day.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Twelve Days of Christmas: The True Cost

I've decided to revise my 12 Days of Christmas blog post from 3 years ago. Due to the fact we have been through a recession and, well, its 3 years old. As Bob Dylan sang
These Times, they are a changing

I'm going to keep the same formula but like with the Advent Posts i shall just google the 'thing' and choose from one on the first page, mainly since a lot of the old pages no longer exist.

So onwards with The 12 Days of Christmas, the true cost

So here is what i found and the cost of each item:

Partridge - £3.99
Pear Tree - £17.45
Turtle Dove - £7.45
Hen - £12.50
Calling Birds - 99p (Yes i know its The Beatles, but a Calling Bird is a Blackbird....)
Gold Ring - £99
Goose - £45 based on a Goose for 4 people
Swan - £99 Based on one nights stay on my birthday
Milk Maid - £100 NSFW link as its a Ceramic Dildo but has a picture of a Milkmaid.
Dancing ladies - £50 Wedding Disco
Lords a Leaping - £28.95
Pipers Piping - £71
Drummer - £60 a day drum hire

So that's the cost of each individual item, now to put them into the rhyme.

1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me: A partridge in a pear tree = £21.44

2nd day is 2 Turtle Doves (£14.90) and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (£21) = £35.90, add that to Day One = £56.90

3rd day is 3 French Hens (£37.50), 2 Turtle Doves (£14.90) and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (£21) = £73.40, added to Day Two = £130.30

4th day is 4 Calling birds (£3.96), 3 Hens (£37.50), 2 Turtle Doves (£14.90) and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (£21) = £77.36, added to Day Three = £207.66

5th day is 5 Gold Rings (£495), 4 Calling Birds (£3.96), 3 Hens (£37.50), 2 Turtle Doves (£14.90) and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (£21) = £572.36, added to the current total is £780.02

On the 6th day are 6 Geese a Laying (£270), 5 Gold Rings (£495), 4 Calling Birds (£3.96), 3 Hens (£37.50), 2 Turtle Doves (£14.90) and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (£21) = £842.36, added to the total is £1622.38

So halfway through the Twelve Days of Christmas the total is £1622.38. Which is about £400 cheaper than 2007. Admittedly the items are different.

7th Day is 7 Swans a Swimming (£693), 6 Geese (£270), 5 Gold Rings (£495), 4 Calling Birds (£3.96), 3 Hens (£37.50), 2 Turtle Doves (£14.90) and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (£21) = £1535.36, added to the total = £3157.74

8th Day is 8 Maids a Milking (£800),7 Swans a Swimming (£693), 6 Geese (£270), 5 Gold Rings (£495), 4 Calling Birds (£3.96), 3 Hens (£37.50), 2 Turtle Doves (£14.90) and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (£21) = £2335.36, added to total is £5493.10

9th Day are 9 Ladies Dancing (£450), 8 Maids a Milking (£800),7 Swans a Swimming (£693), 6 Geese (£270), 5 Gold Rings (£495), 4 Calling Birds (£3.96), 3 Hens (£37.50), 2 Turtle Doves (£14.90) and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (£21) = £2785.36, added to the total is £8278.46

10th Dare are 10 Lords a Leaping (£289.50), 9 Ladies Dancing (£450), 8 Maids a Milking (£800),7 Swans a Swimming (£693), 6 Geese (£270), 5 Gold Rings (£495), 4 Calling Birds (£3.96), 3 Hens (£37.50), 2 Turtle Doves (£14.90) and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (£21) = £3074.86, added to total is £11,353.32

11th Day are 11 Pipers Piping (£781), 10 Lords a Leaping (£289.50), 9 Ladies Dancing (£450), 8 Maids a Milking (£800),7 Swans a Swimming (£693), 6 Geese (£270), 5 Gold Rings (£495), 4 Calling Birds (£3.96), 3 Hens (£37.50), 2 Turtle Doves (£14.90) and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (£21) = £3855.86, added to the current total is £15,209.18

The Twelfth and final day are 12 Drummers Drumming (£720), 11 Pipers Piping (£781), 10 Lords a Leaping (£289.50), 9 Ladies Dancing (£450), 8 Maids a Milking (£800),7 Swans a Swimming (£693), 6 Geese (£270), 5 Gold Rings (£495), 4 Calling Birds (£3.96), 3 Hens (£37.50), 2 Turtle Doves (£14.90) and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (£21) = £4575.86, added to the current total is £19,785.04.

So there we have it, the final and total cost of the 12 Days of Christmas is a little under £20,000

So when you want to surprise your other half with something festive, just buy a Gingerbread house.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Advent: Dec 19th

I didn't move from my bed till 4pm. That was how bad the hangover was. Not sure why i continued to drink so late, and still drink snakebite. I love it but get THE worst hangovers from it.
Today was the day of our Christmas meal. And by ours i mean my friends. We all get together and have a nice little meal. Last year i couldn't go due to finishing work late, as it was a Saturday, and by the time i would have gotten there it would be too late.
I walked to my friends, again its good he lives close, and we walked into town. On the way this American sounding girl asked us for directions and i told her to get any one of the buses that would come past as that would take her to the station. However if i wasn't in a hungover state i would have suggested she walked with us considering we were walking pretty much there.

TGI's did a good Christmas meal deal thing. £20 for 3 courses, not too bad at all. Had Sesame chicken strips with a Jack Daniels glaze for starters, King Prawns with Jack Daniels glaze for main and some chocolate desert that knocked off a year of my life with each bite.

With the meal done and a good chat had by all we all went home, i went back to my friends and finished watching a Top 100 Toys of all time show that was on before we all went out, which was good and Lego won. Which is kinda right really considering i don't know anyone that didn't have Lego, play with Lego or try to take over the world with Lego.

It got to about 1am so i decided to leave and walked home. It was freezing on the way home, it turns out it was -11 degrees on my walk home. Ouch i know, lucky i had that scarf.

Advent: Dec 18th

Another lay in, is it possible to get tired of lay ins?, but i had a mission for the day. Go into town and buy presents. I'm not a present buyer, i cant do it online since that's still too impersonal. Unless you know exactly what you want to buy in which case that's OK, but i just cant shop like that. I walk round with a person in mind and see whats out there. Then based on what they would like, i buy. Simple really. No lists, no planning. Just throwing it up in the air and see what lands.

I met my mate at Cemetery Junction, i said it was good having him near, then we walked into town. Met his brother and walked round, shopped and got a Beer & Burger at Pavs for lunch with a few games of pool thrown in for good measure. We trundled back home along the icy path. I got home, stashed the present (Just the one bought) and settled in with a cuppa and watched Catch Me if You Can.

I got to my mates about 10ish and we played Tiger Woods, made a couple of drinking games out of it. Unfortunately i wasn't as good as the previous night so half a bottle of sidekick inside me it wasn't getting any better.
The rules were revised so i wasn't the only one who couldn't see straight and after lots more beer and shots, and a game of ping pong.
Another long walk in the cold, less slippy though, and a few police out catching speeders, we walked past with the cans of beer at our sides like a couple of school kids :)
Once in town we headed to the Turtle to engage in much snakebite drinking and as we were already quite drunk it didn't take long till we danced a bit downstairs, which for a Saturday was cheese. I ended up dancing with some girl to Grease Lightning, the guy she was with wasn't too happy mind.
For the most part we just sat or stood around chatting and drinking. We carried over the Bingo, Bango, Bongo but this time in response to women. Bingo if they have nice face, Bango if they have a nice bum and Bongo. Yeah I'll leave that one. Childish yes, funny yes. Women, feel free to use it when checking out guys.

We stayed in turtle for a fair old while, drinking and dancing. Well i was trying. I need to stop dancing with a pint in my hand because yet again i ended up spilling some on a bloke. To which i tried to dry his coat off but he said don't worry. My mate however was pissing himself as when i turned round it wasn't a few bits, he had drink all down his back. It was one of those thick black coats so the snakebite ended up white. I did get some on my coat though, so i feel his pain. I did see him about 30mins later not wearing that coat.

Reminder: Do not dance with drinks in your hand.

We stayed till closing time and then wandered home again. A long and cold walk home may i add but funny nonetheless.
Got in about 5am and just passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Advent: Dec 17th

Not sure why, possibly because i have nothing to do, but i seem to be not sleeping, or at least staying up till 3am/4am most days. Getting to be a pain when you just lie there for an hour.
So that means i pretty much stay in bed till midday now. Which is a pain. Didn't do much except watch TV and rubbish daytime films. Went to my mates flat with some other guys and played Ping Pong and Tiger Woods on the Xbox.
Made a drinking game from it :P

Theres a game called Bingo Bango Bongo. You get Bingo if your first on the green, Bango for closest to the Pin and Bongo for winning. As there was three of us playing if you didn't get a 'B' you had to do a shot of this vile red Sidekick stuff. Awful stuff but gives you incentive to play better :D

Played quite a bit of that then stumbled home in the snow. Got in, had a tea and got a phone call from a friend in London who'd just been out to see DJ Format and have drinks with work colleagues. For a drunken phone call at 3am she was very articulate and non slurry.
I stayed texting till she walked home. So another late night, bed by 4am.

Advent: Dec 16th

To be honest i dont recall doing ANYTHING today other than playing on the Xbox and watching crappy films on the TV.

So this day/post is a bit of a white wash. Nothing to see here, move along please.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Advent: Dec 15th

Today i was meeting a friend for lunch and Christmas shopping and was looking forward to this as i hadn't seen her in about 4 or more months. So i met her around half one and we went to Las Iguanas for some Tapas and 2-4-1 cocktails, nice long chat and nice food. Being the gentleman, and i had no cash, i picked up the bill which wasn't too bad i suppose. Had a walk round for a good 6 hours, going to this shop and that shop to pick up various make up items or presents she needed for the boyfriend or mother who is coming to stay. Most of the time we just had a laugh while walking round, not really taking it too seriously. Come on its Christmas shopping, if your that anal you would have had your presents bought and wrapped by November.
She went to get her nails done so i took this opportunity to do my shopping the way its always done, walk into random shops and find something in there that appeals to both myself and the person i was buying for. It worked and i bought two items :D Also saw a few people, one of whom i used to work for and had a chat. His granddad is in the hospital so not doing too well and work are being a hard ass on him to work Boxing Day, i told him to phone in ill if they expect him to work during a hard time at home etc. No compassion at work, none.

Presents bought and nails done we proceeded to Starbucks to get some caffeine and in the Starbucks there was a beautiful girl who had an air of Kat Von D about her. When Kat Von D wasn't cut and shaped to what she is now, in other words when she was pretty.
Anyone Peppermint Mocha, not bad till you get halfway down the cup in which case it was disgusting. Bluergh. Otherwise it was good.
It was the time to get her on a train back home and on the way stopped off at a great shop in the Station that sprang up. Sells home made ice cream and treats and has old sweets too. So i picked up a few homemade mince pies, expensive (£2 each) but my god they were absolutely Delicious. Screw buying like 12 from Sainsburys for 80p, spend that little extra for those you love. They were amazing.

With my friend gone i went to a friends, played some Wii (badly, well not on my part. Yes I'm talking about you!) and had some lovely cottage pie that was cooked. Yum. Came home, watched a bit of Lethal Weapon 2, back when Mel Gibson wasn't psychotic, cracked open a bottle of wine and have pretty much sat here writing this here post.

Listening to iTunes pondering certain things. A more contemplative end to the night tonight.

Ah yes my phone, turns out it doenst charge whatsoever. So they have to send it back to Dell to get another replacement, so thats 4 weeks without a phone. Wow great service there Dell/o2.

Oh and snuggie chairs, the ones that are round and can fit two on.... They are fucking awesome, expensive, but awesome

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Advent: Dec 14th

After much thought, over the past two days, i decided to stop screwing around with any ideology of me fighting my company over what would inevitably be me getting fired and just quit.
So i woke up, showered and googled 'resignation letters'. I've never had to write one before. I looked at Nixons resignation from The White House after Watergate, so i dubbed my current situation Picturegate, given the context of my disciplinary etc i thought it quite apt.
The other reason for me to go into town was because i got a phone call telling me my lovely new phone is back as it was broken and got replaced.

So packed my rucksack with various boxes from the phone shop and carried a Spyder Pro back to work for a colleague. First port of call was work where i picked up my shoes, i couldn't be bothered to get my desk fan i bought about 3 years ago, they also owe me £15 i think as i paid part of the deposit for the Christmas meal. Hmm i should try and get that back, will come in handy.

On the way out i chatted to my manager and just said there was a letter in the office which was my resignation effective immediately. Usually the notice period would be applied and i would work a months notice, especially given its Christmas period and the shop gets really busy, but they decided to start this at this particular time, so i finished it. Yes it looks bad leaving at such a peak period but my hand was forced. I feel sorry for the shop floor staff that now have to work extra hard.
Funnily enough not one person out of the management looked me in the eye as i walked in, or bothered to talk to me. Other staff members did, which is why i still talk to them, and will do.

Tis a little bit sad as 4 out of my 8 years of working was at this place and to leave on such terms is evident at how much the place has changed since i started, atmosphere; morale and general work ethic has changed completely in about 18 months. But "Times, they are a changing" people have come and gone from that place, and the majority have kept in contact, so thats something.

Anyway with that ticked off my list i ventured to the o2 shop to pick up my newly replaced Dell Streak and headed to the sandwich shop next to work to have a tea and tinker with my phone. Had a chat with the staff etc which will be another sad note as i used to go in every day now it will be every now and again. Shame, really nice people in there.
Got my phone sorted and came home. Deciding what to do with my phone in terms of settings etc, had some dinner and watched Waynes World. Watched a few other films here and there and generally pottered about the house. Tried to play some Xbox but couldn't get into any game so just watched more films, browsed the Internet for books and Christmas presents and generally wasting the day away.

I did have a brief flutter and looked for jobs on Gumtree and Grapevinejobs but nothing there for me, or nothing i saw that popped out at me.
With me now being unemployed it gives me a renewed invigor to grab a job that i will love to do, be it customer facing, office or something else. We'll see but it needs to be soon. Bonus on not having a job in retail.... i get Christmas and New Years off hands down now :D I know, not working isn't ideal but i haven't had time off like this in along time. Better do something with it then.

The last few hours of the night were spent talking about tattoos, making me want to get one now, and talking about relationships and love and all that rubbish. Drudging up old feelings about people generally isn't an ideal way to start the going to sleep process, but i helped someone out so who cares about me eh?

Time to finish writing that book, trying to organise a 'event' for next year and generally live.

Almost forgot, my phone doesn't charge. Yeah great isn't it. Wont charge from USB or mains charger, how great is that? Guess 'im going back to the o2 shop tomorrow... I'm not having a lot of luck with items of luxury, what with my bike problems and various problems with my phone.

Ah well, heres to Wednesday. Middle of the week, not too stressful and lunch to be had, and possible Christmas shopping of some kind.

I shall end this night listening to Debussy - Clair de Lune.

Till the morrow

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Advent: Dec 13th

Woke up relatively early and decided i would go into Reading and buy some/a present for the family, ended up getting just the one. I went into work to collect a copy of the minutes from my meeting to see if i had said anything which meant i couldnt refute the claim and fight the argument. Then i met a friend for a couple of beers as he had this kind of thing done to him a while back so was more in the loop than myself.
We had a chat and after looking through them decided that if i want to i could argue carious points that are ludicrous and unsubstantial. He had to go so i went to John Lewis to buy a present for my Dad and walked home.

Wasnt too cold but the walk must have tired me out, or the alcohol, as i laid in a state of nodding off for about an hour while watching more Big Bang Theory and some Supernatural. Which is what probably tired me out.

My cousin came round for me to sort her iPhone4 out as it needs to be connected to iTunes once before it starts, which is stupid.

With that done i watched the last 20mins of Back to the Future III and watched movies till around 1am.
As i have said before i lead an exciting life :)

Advent: Dec 12th

I had the inevitable hangover and as such didn't get out of bed till about midday. I awoke to steak being cooked and felt that was a good way to start the day. I took my laptop into the back room and set up there for the day. Drank copious amounts of tea and juice and just watched Big Bang Theory all day. Sad to say but that was my day on Sunday. Wasn't much else to do or say, had the opportunity to go back to my friends but i was just lethargic all day.

Sunday can be counted as a write off, or a wasted day, but i was resting :) And as such i don't have much to say.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Advent: Dec 11th

Woke up a little late today, still managed to get to work for 8:50. Enough time to get changed, get a tea and get the machines up and running. The day went like most Saturdays during peak period, roller coaster start. First theres a few people, then the shop is packed then theres a few people. Rinse and repeat for the whole day.
Didn't sell much, a few things here and there, a couple of big sales with all the trimmings. It was mainly talking to customers about presents or new cameras for themselves. Everyone left happy.
About midday the manager asks me to go speak to the Regional Manager who was upstairs, and after a chat about being late again (I had a disciplinary about being 5-10mins late for work) i was also questioned about things i have posted on here/facebook and twitter regarding work and any issues i have regarding it.
Thing is apart from this blog, where no mention to what company i work for, the rest of the social media sites are set to private. So the only people that can see it are people i work with, friends and family. The general public cannot see any remarks i make. So I'm not saying anything, but 2 + 2 =....

Nevertheless we had a brief respite where i could just wander around pondering such things before going back in. The regional manager came to such conclusions that they were suspending me from work until further notice and that i was not to talk to any employee of work and not visit any branch.

Silver lining being that i have time to shop for presents and I'll probably be able to have some sort of Christmas this year.
Bad part being I'll probably go back for a disciplinary and lose my job.

Certain members of work have been blocked from Twitter and taken off facebook so my musings can't offend them anymore, ah well only work colleagues.

So i was escorted off the premises, not like with my hands behind my back but in case i kicked off or something stupid. And with that i went to lock my bike up.
As i was doing so my mates came round the corner and i told them what happened. We walked around a bit and discussed what lead to my suspension and what would happen next. They had the 'we told you so' look and also said i should have got a new job ages ago anyway. Which is true.

We walked around for a bit and talked, then we bumped into our other friend who's flat warming it was. So we broke off, they went to get lunch and we did too. We talked about the flat warming and again about my suspension.
I got my bike and he went to pick up some other friends, i cycled to the Oakford and handed in the camera i found on Thursday.
I then cycled home and emailed a friend what happened at work and if i can appeal against the decision etc while it was fresh in my mind.

My friend came to pick me up and we went to Asda to get supplies for the nights activities. Lots of alcohol and some food from Iceland. Back to his flat where the girls proceeded to put the tree up, decorate it etc while we sat back and had a beer or two.
With the tree looking pretty damn impressive we connected it up so it would stay up and not fall over. We cracked open a few more beers and sat around listening to music and playing a ping pong game on the xbox. The girls then cooked some Rocky Road, which was amazing, and we put some food in the oven.
Finished playing ping pong when everyone came in and we watched Elf. A pretty festive film if i may say so and Zooey Deschanel is gorgeous as ever. We played a DVD interactive game of Family Fortunes, was fun but we didn't really play it properly.
We couldn't decide whether to watch Inception or something light hearted, so we watched Team America: World Police. I hadn't seen this film in ages so was just as funny, half the people left during the film and only a couple of us were left. We finished drinking and watching the film and then i got a lift home.

Got home quite early considering it was a party, though i was pretty tired after the days goings on.

So i probably shouldn't have talked about what was going on at work, but there is an element of freedom of speech i like to have. And again nothing mentioned on where i work.

I now have to wait for my disciplinary hearing and the outcome of that. Though i can see where it is heading.

Advent: Dec 10th

A bit of a hangover was had in the morning and i awoke to a text from a friend offering an all you can eat pizza buffet. I had ten minutes to shower and get ready as i was being picked up. We went to Bracknell for Pizza Hut, don't ask why as i don't know, and it was good. Though having pizza and beer for breakfast probably wasn't the healthiest option there is. Though i didn't eat a thing till about 10pm that night.

After Pizza Hut we wandered the retail park looking at this and that, got a few ideas for Christmas Presents. We went back to town and walked round while my friend was waiting to meet up with one of his friends.
Walked around, again looking for present ideas, and went with him to get a present. Then walked to where he was meeting his friend and i walked home. Was planning on going out but in the end decided not too as i was pretty tired from doing nothing all day and i was going to a flat warming the following day, needed to rest as the day at work was probably going to be really long, Saturdays during Christmas usually are.

So i decided to stay in, watch some films and go to bed early.

Another eventful day in the life of this here blogger :)

Friday, 10 December 2010

Advent: Dec 9th

Another lay in which was nice, as they usually are. Work was good, a few niggly things and the usual suspects were stressing out due to a possibly visit at some point the in the near future possibly today, buy the directors..... Notice that no one knew who exactly but bundled them together.

So i let them get on with their buttock clenching routine and sold some cameras, fixed a printer and had a lady sniff my neck as she liked the smell of my aftershave, was a bit weird to say the least.
Thursdays are late night shopping and as a result we don't finish till 8pm. Now if you were going to Reading for late night shopping you would pretty much stick to the Oracle since that has everything in there. You wouldn't, say, walk away from the Oracle to a street that has just one shop open, us. Needless to say there were hardly any customers in and it was pretty shocking at how boring it got.

A beer was indeed needed straight after so i popped home, ate then back out. Got to the Griffin in Caversham about 9:50 and met a couple of friends and had a couple of beers, chatted and laughed. The quiet kind of night really. Afterwards we wanted another drink so we walked into town to see if the Afroba was open, it wasn't, so we headed to the Oakford. Its a great place that i don't usually go to, not sure why.
Lots of drinks had, laughing and trying to play the piano. Used my cameras for once and had fun with those too. At one point i found a Samsung camera lying on the ground. I decided, and bet, that i would reunite the camera with its owner. I posted a picture from the camera, of her, on facebook and Twitter in a vain attempt at a bit of Sherlock Holmes detectiveness. Alas nothing so far so i will drop it off at the Oakford Saturday lunchtime and hopefully she will get it back.

Ended up getting in around 3am which is optimal getting in time. Not too early, not too late.

Advent: Dec 8th

Wednesday was my day off and as expected i did sod all. I caught up on some TV and watched a film. Wasnt too long before it got to 5pm so i had the last bit of Sailor Jerrys while i started watching Home Alone 2. Ran out of rum so all i had left was some Disaronno to drink. Disaronno and Dr Pepper was a nice combination and i recommened it!
My mate had a few people over to his flat to, well, see it. And as i think i have stated its a really nice flat. By the time i got there i was half cut already so found Lee Evans that little bit funnier than usual. I dont really like Lee Evans that much.
Everyone left so we cracked open a few more beers and then played COD:Black Ops and then Zombies on that game. Was a laugh and yet again a nice chilled night of drinking and games. I think that will be the norm for a long time now. Drinking, chilling and gaming.

Sometimes music. And a film.

Oh and my coat is still that awesome. Must wear it out more often.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Advent: Dec 7th

December Seventh started out like normal, walk to work was quite nice. I like walks but they take too long. Work wasn't too bad, moderate amount of customers, had some fun. That was pretty much it for work, talking and selling cameras. Doesn't really get much more exciting than that really.

I managed to get my bike fixed with minimal aggression. They put the pedal back on and i managed to ride home without complications. I then went to my friends for dinner and giggled like a schoolgirl at Family Guy, 30 Rock, Better off Ted then half of The Other Guys. I then left as it was getting quite late and continued to watch the Other Guys while drinking some Sailor Jerry. A nice simple end to a nice simple day. Not much of a post really but Tuesday nothing much happened.

It doesn't get much better than a non complicated day. Hell complicated days come round way too often.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Advent: Dec 6th

This picture pretty much sums my mood up, not explosive but dry and irritable.
The day started out pretty good. A lay in which was lovely and an egg sandwich made for me when i got up. A nice walk to work with some equally nice music, some new bands suggested by a friend on Twitter and some classical music i downloaded.
Got to work and had a cuppa tea. Immediately it was apparent this day was going to take some bull horning, which is probably the wrong phrase to use if it is even a phrase. Basically i had to take charge of the day. Which didn't happen, much. Everyone was stressy at work, i mean it was a working day so why wouldn't they be.
For the most part the working day was good. Talked to lots of customers about cameras, pictures, gifts and gadgets. No arsey customers which is always a bonus. I was just counting down the hours till i could go pick my bike up from my mates flat. If you recall i had some issues with my bike on Saturday (See Advent:Dec 4Th) and i really don't like walking that much, not when i can cycle.

I'm pleased to report that the doors stay closed for the most part, as soon as its about 18 degrees the doors are open till it gets below 16 then the doors shut. Its a compromise i suppose, one i really cant be bothered to argue, also the placement of the thermometer is also a bit stupid but loop holes are there to be made and used.

So the day goes past without any complications and i trotted off to pick my bike up from my friends, stop off at Primark to get some trousers (too small) and i forgot to get some Icing Sugar so my friend gave me hers. Stayed for about 30Min's and chatted then left. I get my bike get on it and start pedalling, as soon as my left foot puts any weight onto the pedal it only goes and fucking comes flying off sending me down onto the frame of the bike and scratching my thigh all against it.

Cue a 5 minutes of me trying to work out how it screws on, neither normal 'lefty loosey, righty tighty' or the opposite work, so I'm guessing its something less trivial than that. So I'm pretty pissed off with that, not only the bike but the bike shop ACTION BIKES IN READING. The first issue was the pedal wasn't screwed in properly and about 2 weeks after buying the bike i took it back and had to get the entire crank replace, which on Saturday completely fell off. Now the pedal fell off after i had to pay and get a new one attached.

So 5 weeks of owning a bike and i have been back three times. The chap who did the road safety inspection on my bike, who also changed the crank the first time after the person who did the road check did the pedal wrong (himself). Funnily enough i learnt on Saturday that he no longer works there.... Hmm wonder if it has anything to do with failure to fucking sort out a bike?

I'm not unreasonable am i? My old mountain bike lasted two years. After i purchased it i forgot to get the 6 week check sorted and had no problems. About a year later i go to Action Bikes and get a service where they find my brake pads need replacing. Which was fine but then i had to pay for each pad to be fitted, on top of the service and purchase of brake pads. Then about a week after i get the service my back tire feels really dodgy when riding. So i take it back and low and behold i suddenly need a new tire fitted as the axle was broken. Something i would have thought they would have spotted during the service? So then i had to pay for that to be fitted and a whole new tire.

As strange as that was i had no complaints because it had lasted a fair long time without ANY problems. Then it got nicked.

So tomorrow i am going to have to go to this bike shop and get arsey. I hate arsey customers because they get nothing accomplished but when i went in Saturday and i was being nice i was basically told that the reason the crank came off was my fault. Now i don't get that. Again i don't want to go back to a bike shop unless i need a new tire, or handlebars or brakes... Not because of what seems to be failure to put a bike together...

No doubt Advent:Dec 7Th will have either a happy ending or an enraged rant/open letter to the people of reading regarding bikes.

Time to swot up on the Sales of Goods Act 1979.

Advent: Dec 5th

I woke up pretty hungover but couldn't get back to sleep at all. Kept drifting in and out but nothing substantial. Having Radio Two and Terry Wogan didn't help much. He has a nice voice but its not half annoying.
So got up about 2ish i think and made a breakfast consisting of egg on toast and a very large mug of tea. Didn't really get up to much, played with my ipod and watched TV, caught up on missed TV shows and flittered trhough the movie channels before getting ready to go out to our work Christmas party.
I was looking forward to it as Christmas parties are usually good. Usually. Last year we had ours in Wetherspoons.... Yeah cant get much worse. It was fun as there was lots of people, but it was a Wetherspoons. We were in the company of drunks, perverts and vagrants. Also there were people not on our table.
So this year was Las Iguanas which is a brilliant venue, really nice food and on Sundays and Mondays its two-for-one cocktails. Which is amazing. Though because work really don't like their employees they not only reduced how much they were giving us for a Christmas meal they also told us we have to pay for it first then they reimburse us in our wage slips... Now i know some companies don't pay for Christmas meals but that probably would have been better.
So due to that not many people wanted to come to the meal which meant there was only a few of us, so we didn't bother doing Secret Santa either.

Started round a friends and had a few drinks, played some Wii Party too to get in a good mood and it worked, was alot of fun.
Got to the meal and sat down and i promptly got on the cocktails to get into the festive mood however it didn't really work. Either the fact i was still tired from the night before or the fact i ate alot of good food, the cocktails didn't really do much.
I'm not going to say the meal was boring, the company was OK, but maybe i was expecting too much? Having had such a good night before and wanting something similar maybe that was too much to ask? A Meal with colleagues then a night on the town. Meh hopefully my last Christmas there anyway.
So that was pretty much that. I tried to get drunk, i failed and ended up tired. The night kind of fizzled out so we all went home. I walked home with a colleague and met a former workmate outside Mr Cod. Had a chat and went home.
Chatted on Facebook and had a night cap. Pretty unadventurous for a Christmas meal, but I'm looking forward to both Christmas Eve down the Bull and Boxing Day whatever i do. Oh and yes New Years Eve too.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Advent: Dec 4th

December Fourth started out pretty shit. Well it was a day off so a nice lay in was had. I cycled into town to source out a new coat for the nights outing but on my way my pedal came off. As in the entire crank arm fell off. I had only just left the house. So i had to walk into town pushing my bike, defeats the object of having a bike. On my way i stopped off to buy something from a guy down an alley, but realised i had lost the £20 from my back pocket. He looked at me weird and i left. So far I'm 2 for 2 on bad happenings.
Got to town and took my bike to Action Bikes to get them to put the crank arm back on, the week before i had trouble with my pedal (it hadn't been put on right by the guy) the person i spoke to, Rich, constantly told me it was my fault, i should check my bike routinely. Now I'm in the persuasion that if i spend £300 on a bike i expect it to work at least until the 6 week free checkup, not fall to pieces. The person that did the road check on my bike no longer works there, so when i asked "was it due to failure to sort bikes out" the guy just shrugged off that comment. So for all i know my bike wasn't put together properly the first time, and all these happenings are due to his failings.
Nevertheless i was charged £13 for the bike part and again was spoken to like i am a bike geek and i should 'bed in the crank with a tool like this"..... I ride a bike because its quicker than walking, no Lance Armstrong am i.

So now I'm 3 for 3. I put my bike in my friends bike shed at his flat and went about shopping for a coat. Christmas shopping is why I'm pretty harsh towards Christmas. Its filled with people walking around blindly shouting "I MUST BUY EVERYTHING EVER AND WRAP IT IN SPARKLY PAPER IN ORDER TO SHOW MY FAMILY I STILL LOVE THEM" Whatever happened to the notion of a zombie magician being born and doing good deeds like the guy from Kung Fu, who failed to resurrect might i add. Though before that asphyxiwank in the cupboard David Carradine could indeed have been compared to Jesus, well the Kung Fu Carradine not Kill Bill. He was a dick.
Anyway i digress.
Walking around just grates me. Especially when people in front of you just stop. Look at their shopping list, then move on. Do people not have a regard for others? How bout taking the Christmas blinkers off for a second?
Shopped round and the cheapest i could find a nice coat was £35 from Primark, everywhere else was like £76+ even TK Maxx.... I know.
Coat bought i then paid £45 for a pair of Jeans. This is why i don't shop. I could have easily got a nice pair like like £20.
Munched on a Egg baguette while sorting out the nights plans. Hopped home to get changed and prettify myself and headed to my friends flat for a pre drink drink.

I have to say i was looking quite good, though i made a risky attempt at styling my hair and gave myself a side parting. Yes i looked like a handsome version of Hitler, or a man sporting a comb over but i liked it for the beginning.
My friend had a mug with his face on printed at my shop for his tea habits at work but it smashed the other day. Luckily due to an error at the printers a duplicate was made so i wrapped it and gave it to him. It was like Christmas or something.
We had a few tins of Strongbow and chatted in depth about our enterprises that we are trying to make happen, interesting stuff from both of us.
We popped along to Pentahotel for a few drinks while we waited for the birthday girl. And may i say Pentahotel is a really nice place. Drinks are normal price for town but its very elegant inside, pool table, wii and really nice bar staff to boot so i thoroughly recommend going there as i hope ill be there soon again.
We had a table booked downstairs in Sahara so we started the cocktails quite early, bout 8pm and £8 cocktails may sound expensive, but they are lovely; full of alcohol and got me rather drunk rather quickly. It was like New Years all over again as i was pretty gone by half 9.
Lots of drinks and laughs were had and after alot of cocktails we trotted along to Sakura and danced it up. I don't think i brought a drink at all in there and we stayed for about 2 hours at least, if not longer. I just sipped other peoples drinks and just kept my alcohol levels topped.
I still don't like Sakura for a night out. Dogma is a good place, good music but its always full of kids and the dance floor bounces. It may be because i really cant dance, or that the place is shit, probably a factor of both.
A couple of friends came in to say hello, one sporting a very nice 60s style bob and leather jacket but didn't stay long. Saw a girl who works next door who after i said hello kind of ran away, left me feeling a little perplexed and worried I'd done something.

After Sakura we tried to go to Purple but the queue was massive so we had a Subway and decided what to do. Most went home so i went back to my friends new flat which was near my house anyway. Had a beer and chatted, had a look round and helped decide where to put things etc then i left about 3am and walked home. My new coat paid dividends as it was really warm and the hood comes all the way down.
Walked in, climbed into bed, turned on the radio and drifted off. I seeked a good night out and that was what i got.

I love my friends, very rarely do we not have fun in each others company.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Advent: Dec 3rd

Well where do i begin? Today has been an awesome day for food and victory. Spose I'll start at the beginning.

Again waking late was really nice, i do like starting late, i however hate finishing late. So once again it was freezing on the cycle to work. I have a routine at the moment of slamming the back break to get my brain used to the back wheel fishtailing so when i eventually do hit ice i know how to correct myself without falling over. So far so good. The Kennet was once again frozen for about 50yards. Its getting to be a good base on seeing how cold it is.

At work there has been an ongoing battle at work in regards to having the front door open/closed. Management want it open pretty much all the time, which in most scenarios is a good thing (Open door is more inviting to the customer) but when its 0 degrees outside or snowing or freezing fog, then having the door open is stupid. We have a small electric heater and a semi functional air con unit, which when the door isn't open heats the shop up to a moderate temperature.
So it being so cold you can see your breath should ring alarm bells in the common sense receptor that most people have. Dogs and cats can work out how to open doors, I'm pretty sure the public can too.
So everytime i close the door, a supervisor closes it pretty much as soon as I've closed it. Cue a Tom and Jerry moment where we are both back and forth opening/closing. Finally i had enough after about 3 weeks of "Neil just put on the fleece we have provided" "Neil you don't know what your talking about when you say we are in breach of Health And Safety" "Stop complaining" so i contacted Reading Borough Councils Health & Safety Dept and they got back to me about 2 hours later. Spoke to a very nice guy about what is and isn't acceptable and turns out i was right all along, the store was in breach of Health And Safety guidelines about working temperature and for anyone working in retail it is:

The store temperature should not fall below 16 degrees

As stated by The Law so at least if you want to complain you have a leg to stand on. I used this card only as a last resort and it worked ok :)

So with that done one of the supervisors left with a face like thunder and promptly returned with a Thermometer (Something which you should have on the shop floor anyway) and the doors remained shut for the rest of the day. I chalk that up to not only a personal victory but also one for common sense.
We shall see if it stays that way. If not then they are breaking the law, officially ha ha

So with that i had a smile a mile wide inside. After work i had a quick dash to get home and changed and back to Reading for my friends birthday. We went for an all you can eat at Thai9. Recommend as it was gorgeous food, was really busy so we were in the karaoke room (no karioke) so had the place to ourselves. Lots of food was consumed and was back home about 11pm which wasn't too bad as it was freezing outside and we were tired after eating :)

So i cam home, decided to watch Walking Dead and have been sitting drinking Sailor Jerrys (half a bottle so far) listening to copious amounts of classical music. Its amazing how much of this i remember from childhood, either walking into assembly in primary school or just from films/TV shows or just naturally listening to Cd's/Records/Radio and having it rooted in my memory. Its something that people forget. Listening to that #1 pop track is fine but its probably just some lyricist and a drum machine. Listening to a symphony play one mans vision is mind blowing. Its not just a guitar and a drum its a whole goddamn orchestra. That to me is the epitome of genius. Well musically anyway.

I will sit here for a while longer, listening and pondering my own thoughts. Dangerous i know but its soothing.
Till December 4Th, a night on the tiles and a most regrettable a hangover that will be seldom wanted.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Advent: Dec 2nd

This morning was a good morning. I awoke to see a slight sprinkling of snow, not enough to keep me from work however. I don't think theres enough snow in the world that would let me stay away from work. So showered i ventured out into the cold. Which was as bitter as the day before and I'm sure will be the same tomorrow morning.

The day at work didn't go too bad, had some nice customers which meant chatting about useless things like the weather, binoculars and such stuffs.

Had a discussion regarding Tea. I don't think enough people drink tea these days. I mean its great. It can be an aphrodisiac, decrease blood pressure, cure cancer (loosely) and tastes great. So how bout you try a cuppa?

What else, well today we had to shut at 8pm (got out early) but as of next week we will be open till 8pm Thursdays and 7pm Saturdays, which i suppose is OK for the Christmas rush and all that. Cycled over to my friends as he was going to lend me a phone due to my current one being repaired (See previous Advent) but it was Sim locked to Vodafone. So I'm still using my brothers old Nokia, which i got him a few years ago. Pretty good phone and i kind of miss having a phone that's handheld and fits in my pocket. When i hold the Dell Streak its like holding a tablet. Which is fine, i don't make phone calls that much so i don't need a brick by the side of my head. I can imagine in the summer having that by the side of my face will result in me looking like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Alas i cant begrudge my phone, i love it really just you know, "Grass is always greener".
Spent the afternoon playing Battlefield 1943 on the Xbox and after a few annoying games we decided to piss around. Firstly just being snipers and holding a base that wasn't essential, then making suicide jeeps by planting C4 on them and driving into a tank. Ahh good times.

Cycled home and it was pretty cold out, as usual. But got home to be greeted by cold pizza and Dr Pepper. Yeah i lead a great lifestyle. Tomorrow is PAYDAY which i cant wait for. I really cant. Haven't had money for ages and thus not been able to go out and have a good time. Plus tomorrow is all you can eat Chinese for my friends birthday and drinks. So hopefully ill be out and about in the Turtle.

If not then theres always Saturday, or Sunday. I'm not fussed. Oooh and huzzah for aliens. Nasa have said that they have not only realised that the universe is 3 times larger than previously thought but also they have found life in Arsenic. Which is pretty cool as life can survive on other planets that might not be hospitable to us.

And on that otherworldly note. Its time for bed.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Advent: Dec 1st

I'm going to try something, i might not fulfill it everyday but I'll try. Like many others i too have an Advent calender. Its a Dr Who one. I opened today and had a car.... Of which i though there was no correlation to Dr Who, according to my Dad Jon Pertwee had a Model T Ford in the TV Show.

Anyway i digress, the chocolates bad and has no meaning to Christmas.

For the next 31 days i am going to try my own advent thing. Every day i shall post what ever i have done, will do etc. Sort of opening a window into my life. No chocolates or crappy pictures. Just crappy insights and grammar. For this i shall google 'December First/Second/Third' with that exact wording and choose a picture from the first page. At the top is today's.

OK so there might be crappy pictures.

Today was a pretty ordinary day. Again i awoke to no snow and bitter coldness awaiting me. What made it worse is the shower is fucked. It doesn't have much pressure and it goes from hot, to boiling hot then freezing cold. Have to turn it off and on about 4 times this morning.
Cycle to work was so bloody cold. No frost but bloody cold. The past few days cycling i have noticed part of the Kennet has been frozen over. Quite funny seeing skid marks where ducks have landed on the ice. Nice way to start the day.

What else, er we had two new starters today. One is the fiance of one of the Team Leaders, nice girl but i am against any kind of family persons working together. Be it mum/dad/sister/wife etc. Its hard enough to leave your life problems at home when you go to work and vice versa. I've worked with my mum years ago and my brother too. Both pleasant but the whole work thing changes when its not just work colleagues/friends but family members. The other girl has worked for magazine publications, taking photos of bands etc and seems to know her stuff. I'm sure the harsh reality of working in retail will soon become aware, as it does to all of us.

There is an ongoing issue at work with the apparent 'open door policy'. I know the psychology behind it (A closed door isn't as inviting as an open door to customers) but when its December, Winter, and freezing outside or sometimes snowing then there is no reason whatsoever to keep a door open. Especially when the heaters rarely work and customers in the shop also complain. Its not the best environment to try and find a camera for someone when they are wearing gloves.

I think I'm winning the battle since the past few days the door has been open a short period. Small periods throughout the day, yes. Not all the time.
I have an idea to put some outdoor L.E.Ds on my bike, attach with cable ties. Should be a laugh, or i might look a prick. Either way ill be happy.

That's about it i suppose for my Advent: Day One.

I managed to get my brothers phone working, my Dell Streak phone is with o2 getting fixed i hope. It's weird, i haven't had a phone for two days and i have been edgy. I needed to converse, to text or twitter or email, and not being able to was really annoying, especially as it wasn't by choice.

Looking forward to this weekend. Friday is my friend Kat's birthday. So lots of happenings. Drinks at the weekend which will be messy, and i have really been looking forward to this. I need a good night out. Sunday is Christmas meal at Las Iguanas.

Now i know some people don't get Christmas parties at work, or at least the work do not pay for them. But ours does, which is the nice point i suppose. Every year we have been given on average £20 per head. Which is adequate for a nice meal. The first year i started work i had a Christmas hamper, it was amazing and i had only just joined. Then we got a 'Staff discount booklet', then every year since is special staff deals on cameras etc.
Anyway we booked Las Iguanas due to it being nearly £20 but now we are only getting £15 per head. The kicker? We have to pay for it ourselves, then send in an expense claim form (individually) then they give it back to us in our wages, probably in February.

Right well Home Alone is on TV now. Its on Sky Xmas.... a channel which shows Christmas movies i guess, then why the fuck is Starship Troopers on later..... Get it right at least.

Hope you enjoyed the first day of advent.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Alls well that.... No that doesnt make sense

So we near Christmas once again and the inevitable shit storm that is consumerism. Working in Retail has, as usual, quashed any sense of cheer i had in me. Working all over the holiday period and working late just kills me inside every day.

Other than the horror that is work i do have things to look forward to. This Friday is my good friend Kats 25th birthday and with that LOADS of drinking opportunities which, having had no money for the past week, i am looking forward to so much. Not only that but my work Christmas party is on Sunday which offers more fun times at Las Iguanas and 2-4-1 cocktails.

Then we have Boxing Day and New Years Day. Boxing Day for me used to be sitting at a relatives house watching crap TV or attempting to join in with the adults and their Trivial Pursuit game. But now it involves as many friends all coming together to have a fun day chilling with one another and watching films, playing games and just enjoying each others company.

All this leads to one big question i am asking myself.....

Do i give up drinking again next year?

And i still don't know. On one hand i did enjoy giving up. Testing myself to see if i have enough willpower to forgo the calls of alcohol and just enjoy myself otherwise. I was healthier, financially better off and felt good.
On the other hand i wasn't myself. I wasn't good company if we went out, i didn't have many adventures or random nights out and very rarely stayed out at all.

Yes there are drugs to compensate the alcohol but that's not always the answer now is it.

Yes i know its trivial but to me it matters a lot. I love my nights out and my friends and part of that is drinking. I miss peoples birthday nights out, random nights out, BBC Introducing and St Patricks Day too.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Not Actually mine)

A few weeks ago i had the privilege of attending my good friend Jemmas wedding. You may (if you have read this here blog) know of Jemma . We have known each other for a fair few years, we went to Australia together with my other good friend Callum. Anyway ever since i have known her she has been going out with a great bloke called Spiro. And as the title suggest one of them was Greek. This would be Spiros, or Spiro (spyro) for short.
So the day started with me meeting my old friends Richard and Callum with his girlfriend Gemma at the local working men's club where provisions were bought. We got to my friends house and waited by the marque and had a few drinks while we waited for guests. I recognised one person, a cousin of Jemmas, that i had met at previous family gatherings and that put me at ease that i would atleast know someone. The coach journey involved drinks and talking to some of the other guests that were traveling to London for the wedding.

The Greek Orthodox Temple was out of this world. It was simply stunning. The outside just looked like any church. Tall, foreboding. But inside was exquisite. Mosaics on the walls, the ceilings depicting various religious events, people. Now I'm not a religious person, i have my own views and whatnot but even i was taken aback by the sheer beauty of this place. The picture i have included doesn't even resemble what it was like to sit in there.

The ceremony started and Jemma walked in. Now she was gorgeous and Spiro was a lucky man, of which he knows. But no one knew what was going on in the church. The priest was speaking in ancient Greek, so even the Greek people couldn't catch onto what he was saying. It was a nice ceremony. No vows were said as it was all about the meaning of the ceremony, not what one party was saying to the other. The best part was when the bride and groom had to walk round the alter three times. Spiro was nearly pissing himself, Jemma was trying to hold a straight face. The best man, Tim, and his wife Dora were following and Tim was laughing. The bridesmaids had to run after because they were unsure if they had to participate.

After the ceremony they had the wedding photos outside of the church. I took along my old Prinz Flex TLR and i hope the pictures come out. The picture above was taken with it, little off centre but its a film camera, what do you expect?

The coach back was a silent one really. Not much was said as we were all tired and the air con on the coach wasn't working but we made it back and were greeted by champagne. As Spyro and Jemma were arriving we mingled with guests and family members and enjoyed the food that was brought round by the caterers. They arrived about 30Min's after us and still looked as good as they did when they were in the church. They stood around for photo opportunities and talked to the guests. After a while of drinking champagne talking we moved inside the marquee to be seated. We were on the naughty table, only because it was at the back and in the corner. Once seated and drinks poured the speeches were started. The first by Tim the best man, very funny and heart felt. The second came from the Father in law, Jemmas dad which was very nice. The third came from Spyro himself which was unplanned but nevertheless good anyway.

Food! After the "Have fun and drink" was said by Spyro the wine was pouring and we said 'cheers' and started chatting while the starters were brought out. Bread with some dips that were lovely, and olive oil. Greek salad too. The main was gorgeous; lamb with Mediterranean potatoes, roasted veg and other such tasty foods. Pudding was ice cream if i remember. Either that or i want ice cream now.
After the food had settled and more wine was drunk i went about talking to the guests from before and family members while the Greek members danced. The naughty table agreed that when the only song we know comes on we would dance, 5Min's later that song came on. It was indeed Zorbas Dance. Though the clip is 2Min's long we danced for 10Min's, too long, but the Greeks danced for AGES! A couple more dances and more alcohol was needed, unfortunately i had a headache and didn't partake in as much alcohol as Spyro would have liked.

After the Greek band left the 'disco' started so cue lots of drunken dancing from the younger generations. We danced for about another hour or so till we had to leave, was about 2am i think. Best part of the night is they supplied bacon and sausage sandwiches at the end of the night with tea/coffee too. That little touch was quite nice as they could have easily just said "Get out of the marquee".
I said my goodbyes and got the taxi back to Reading, luckily i was flat sitting for my mate so it was easier to get to. The day off the next day was even better.

All in all Greek weddings are so much fun and hopefully i will get to go to another one. I still need to give them a wedding present. Sometimes i can be a bad friend.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Tales of a Drunkard: No Sweat Fest

When my friend Tom usually says "Hey I'm going to a squat party, you should come" I usually envision a dark and dingy building with lots of drug addled protesters and hippies. I was pleasantly surprised.
We started off in Reading at the Allied Arms having a quick drink before we headed to the train station to get some drinking beers and food. On the train to London we chatted, I took pictures and general tomfoolery.
The squat was in Hackney so a bit of a trek from Reading, but a tube here and a bus there we got there. The reason for the bus was the tube was being its usual crappy self, only problem with the bus was Arsenal had just won 6-0 and was letting out time when came past. We got to Hackney around 7pm, fashionably late i know, and the place was amazing. Like an old theater it loomed at an awkward angle.
A lot of people were already outside, sitting in a boat, on the floor or standing around chatting. We paid the £5 donation then went to get some beer from Iceland. Apparently me carrying in two 4 litre bottles of Ye Olde English wasn't the thing to do so i settled with 4 cans of strongbow to start with.

We sat around chatting to random people and some of Toms friends came and chatted to them. The music was from 2pm onwards and we caught a few of them, mainly Punk with some ska-punk too.
There was one band that was pretty good, after a few songs the singer would read some of his poems. One went "What kind of man are you, who rubs his elbows against mine on the tube. Must be a poof" Then 10 seconds into his song a guy ran out of nowhere, jumped on stage, lamped him and grabbed the Mic stand trying to hit the guy. The singer grabbed his bass to try and defend but the crowd divided them.
Apparently the singer has a history of saying homophobic or sexist remarks. Shame as it was a good band up until that point. Ah well. Punks eh?

I don't remember how or when, partly due to drugs and or alcohol, but i sat down talking to some people, Ann, Angela and Caroline. Good chats about life and such, probably the drugs, but at one point Angela was helping this guy Morgan who was absolutely battered. We got him some water and Angela went to find Thelma, a sexy secretary looking polish girl who was his girlfriend. She couldn't so i tried, failed but helped him inside so he could pass out somewhere.
Hours passed, drinks were drunk, chats were had and dancing was done. Yes theres probably photographic evidence of me skanking it up but it was fun.
It got to about 2.30am and i started chatting to a girl called Lisa about Pokemon, Stargate and other such nonsensical wonderment that long nights of drinking bring forth. Which was a nice end to the night.

Tom was talking about an after party in a warehouse but at time of leaving the squat, 3ish? There was no word. Morgan appeared out of nowhere and said he was going to a party so i left Tom, Anders and the others to head back to Paddington, while i stayed with Morgan. Outside he was chatting with some guys and i asked him for directions back to Paddington, he gave them to me but as i helped him when he was drunk he wasn't going to let me wander the streets of Hackney alone. Which was good because i had about £800 worth of stuff on me.

We walked through Hackney sharing a bottle of rum and coke when he laid the bomb on me that he had nowhere to go as he was Homeless. We continued chatting, about himself and how he came to be on the streets. Unfortunately he was a victim of circumstance. Foster homes, run ins with police etc, I'll leave alot of that discussion out.
He came to London from Ireland about 10yrs ago but again circumstances meant he was on and off the streets. We sat around talking for hours. He met a couple in the off license and they came and we all sat around chatting till the sun came up. He is actually a graphic designer and currently has two websites up and running, he uses free WiFi to update etc. He was a really nice guy, and now a friend on Facebook, hopefully I'll see him at some point again.
It got to that point where i had to find my way back to paddington otherwise i would just curl up in a ball and pass out. I said my goodbyes and jumped on a bus that said 'Via Kings Cross' as i vaugley knew where that was.

OK due to me endlessly twittering to keep me amused during my journey it helps piece together things. Apparently i left the squat at 3:54am with Morgan and we chatted till 6:44am which is when i got on the bus to nowhere. Due to that nice bus trip it meant i was back in Hackney about 7:30am because i went to McDonald's to get some breakfast. Now i have only had 1 McDonald's in about 4 years and that was on New Years Eve.
After walking a while some guy called Gary proceeded to tell me that he 'Doesn't drink or do drugs but needed some money for a hot chocolate" I ended up getting a tube from Highbury and getting to Paddington at 9:29am. So it took me 3hrs of walking and the such to get me about 8miles, impressive display of idiocy.

I think my experience of Hackney is summed up by this tweet
"I cant seem to escape hackney. Ive walked in every sodding direction and taken a bus yet I'm still in fucking hackney"

Not having much money i was pleased to see the gates in London were open and if i had any trouble in Reading i would just say i came from Twyford. As soon as the train left Paddington i must have sparked out in the vestibule because i woke up as we just pulled into Reading. I then remembered i sodding cycled to Reading so had a 4mile bike ride home. Slowest bike ride ever. I walked into my home around 10am, and fell asleep till 4pm. Then went to a friends from 8pm - 2am. No point wasting a day in bed :)

All in all i had an amazing time in London. The squat party was brilliant and was for a good cause so check out the website No Sweat. The people i chatted to were amazing and I even enjoyed the walk home.

I think that's about it, unfortunately this probably doesn't seem that good, but to me it was a fun evening and I'm sure some of it has been lost in translation.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Bilbao BBK Live 2010

This year i embarked on another long arduous journey to Spain for the Bilbao BBK Live festival. This time i swapped friends and took my friend Mark. We set off from Reading around 1pm with a Subway in hand and a couple of Fosters too. Got to Portsmouth and headed to the Trafalgar wetherspoons to continue the drinking while we waited for the ferry boarding time. We then decided to take a walk and unfortunately we walked about 2miles with our backpacks, for which we didn't need to at all. Sat watching the Netherlands game in the ferry terminal while playing shithead. Once boarded we showered, changed and hit the top deck while we left the port. Started drinking and playing shithead while watching the P&O Players perform.

Due to the ferry crossing time we were at sea for a whole day so we just bought a crate of Fosters and sat on the top deck sunning ourselves and listening to music on speakers. Was nice and chilled though i got horrific sunburn on my arms (the burn turned purple at one point). The ferry was pretty much just us drinking and playing cards. We did get a chance this time to see some Dolphins and i got a picture or two of them.

We got to Bilbao at about 8am and made our way into Bilbao. We got to San Mames and waited for the coach which wasn't too bad as the queue was short. We managed to get up to the festival quite easily and went to the second campsite. Last year we camped in the car park as that's all we thought was available. So we opted for the campsite that had trees, giving us a bit of shade from the heat. I was right in that part. However after all my toil and slaving my tent was at a 45 degree angle and the ground felt like cows had been walking over it for months.

Bands didn't start till around 5pm so most of the day was spent in the sun drinking and playing shithead. I won't go into each band but we saw the following over three days:

Bullet for My Valentine
Skunk Anansie
Rise Against
Coheed and Cambria
Dropkick Murphys
Biffy Cylro
Gogol Bordello
Alice in Chains
Pearl Jam
The Macabees
Los Campesinos
The Soundtrack of our Lives and
Manic Street Preacher

Out of all those bands i think Rammstein where the best due to the show they put on, for me Gogol Bordello were amazing and i dance my arse off. Dropkick Murphys, Los Campesinos and Gomez were bands i hadn't heard before and were amazed by their sets too.

On the Friday me and Mark walked to Bilbao city center to have a look at the Guggenheim museum but was a little too pricey so didn't bother going in. Instead we took pictures of the outside and wandered around Bilbao before heading back to the festival. Most of the nights were relatively problem free but on Friday it got a little worse for wear.
We had spent all day drinking warm beer then polished off half a bottle of Jaegermeister and 1/3 a large bottle of Vodka. This kind of made Gogol Bordello that little better and as i said previous i dance my arse off which i haven't done in a long long time. A fact that was reminded to me when my knee caps and feet started hurting a few hours later. After that we just sat on the hill over looking the festival and drank a few litres of cold San Miguel. Got chatting to some nice Australian girls and around midnight Mark turns to me, fear in his eyes, and says "I've got to go" and after a few questions of safety he proceeded down the hill and that was that. As much as we laughed and wondered why he had done that i said the exact same words about 30Min's later.

We had a conversation about how Spanish people smoke alot of hash. I didn't smell any weed at the festival just hash. As we were talking a Spanish guy overheard and gave us his joint to smoke, so i duly obliged and had a few tokes. This then sent me overboard and I'm reminded of what Heather (Australian Girl) said to me "Grass then beer, your in the clear. Beer then grass, your on your ass" which reminds me of the age old drinking rhyme "Beer then wine, you'll feel fine. Wine then Beer, you'll feel queer" Which has for many years guided me in my drinking. Anyway i digress.
I turned to Heather and said "I've got to go", though as long as i chatted i was fine. When there was a silence the music of Pearl Jam just sent me flying. Couldn't focus on anything and had to focus on something. I eventually said that i was going to toilet and i MAY be back. I walked to the top of the hill and bought a coke to try and 'sober' myself. After a while Heather came to find me and we walked to the second stage for Dropkick Murphys.

I had just about overcome myself and we watched Dropkicks, a band that i have never really heard but they were amazing! Really good and we got rather close, a little too close as my ears were fucked. We walked to the coach line as Heather had to get back to Bilbao but it was 3am and the queue was going to take about 1.5 hours so i offered my tent. The only problem being that having a tent at a 45 degree angle isn't the best for two people to sleep in. So cue a restless sleep trying to stop not only myself from falling down the hill but also her.

Due to the late night from me, and the early departure from Mark (He doesn't remember how or when he got back to the tent) meant that on the last day we took it easy. Don't think we even touched a litre of beer at all that day. We just sat around watching the music from the hill and just resting really. Saw some good bands that day. Met up with Heather briefly on the hill overlooking the festival and chilled. We had to get up stupidly early on the Sunday as our ferry back to Portsmouth so we left before Faith No More played but listened to them at the tents. We missed out on Jet which I'm sure would have been amazing but the early wake up etc meant we didn't.

Woke up early and were waiting at the Ferry port about 2hrs before we were meant to but we just sat and played shithead till boarding. The very [not so] friendly Spanish border polizia officers wouldn't stamp my passport as they only do it for kids. But i like stamps in my passport too. Reminds me that i have so much more of the world to see.

The trip back was quicker for some reason and again we just chilled and drank, watched the P&O players do their thing, watched everyone get way too over excited about the Dolphins. I swear they ran back and forth that much that they rocked the whole ferry. The only exciting thing we saw on the trip back was an American Nuclear Submarine leaving Portsmouth. Was pretty cool.

We got back to Reading about 7pm and made a quick dash to our respective homes then went to the Gym straight after, dedication eh?

All in all Bilbao BBK is a fantastic festival. Great surroundings and somehow a small festival that's only been going 5 years manages to get some amazing bands. The only things i have a problem with is the language barrier as its not entirely Spanish as its in the Basque country. But that's easily overcome. Can't wait to see what happens next year.

Until next time.

Buenas Noches

Friday, 25 June 2010


Well i seemed to have dropped off the radar. It's not like i havent done anything interesting. I went to a castle, got drunk, had my 25th birthday and a whole host of messy nights out and generic nights too. I just havent deemed them interesting enough to write about, or i have left such a gap between the happenings and me wanting to write them down that i have forgotten them. Oops.

I'll try and be better. Whats there to look forward too? Well currently looking for a new job as the one i have is pretty shit. I'm going to Bilbao again in July for Bilbao BBK Live, check the lineup its brilliant. And thats it really for the next few weeks. So expect a post about Bilbao, or if anything exciting happens, expect something else.

Monday, 17 May 2010

BBC Introducing LOS & Strobe Circus

In the last outing to the Oakford we had two amazing bands for BBC Introducing. Strobe Circus and LOS. First on were Strobe Circus who were amazing. They sounded so relaxed and vibrant. They sounded great with their fusion of Drum and Bass, reggae, dubstep and dub sound. Got everyone dancing and i genuinely enjoyed listening to them play. Hopefully get to see them again and this time not sitting down.

The second band were LOS (Sorry couldn't find them on myspace) This band were insanely good as well. Just three of them, drums/guitar and synth. They reminded me alot of Queens of the Stone Age for some reason, just that crisp sound of Rock. Very loud and really long songs meant i was happy for the whole set, I'm hoping someone will read this and send me the link to their page.

The night continued on, as per usual, with drunken revelement. My friend Sophie had her birthday on Wednesday so she was in the Oakford with her friends, was good to say hello. After such a time as boredom kicking in, we ventured to The Turtle again. I won't bore you with the details as it was a usual night out and, well, frankly i cant be bothered.

Another good night sponsored, in part, by the BBC. Glad to see my tax money hard at work.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Tales of a Drunkard: Politics, Alcohol and RPGs

Wednesday was, as fast becoming a tradition, Oakford night. More live music courtesy of BBC Introducing. However it was just two of us this time, myself and Geordie who you might remember turfed out 3 old ladies when we went to Stoke.

Unfortunately they were all out of cider and I had to buy a bottle, which ended up costing £5.... So we just sat outside, listened to a band and decided on a night out. Our friend Ed was in town with a guy named Pavil who was over from Czech for a holiday to see Ed and his friends. The plan was to go to Hope Tap for a drink, then Pavs then meet them in the turtle. So we hot footed it to the Hope Tap and sat down talking about Religion, Mythology, Politics, Gaming and Photography. Not your usual topic. We went to Pavs, had a pint and played the hunting game to which I lost.

Turtle was next and, as always is last on the menu, we found Ed and the Czech contingent and hurriedly got drinks and played table football. I saw a really attractive girl with blue hair that works in Las Iguanas so made Geordie talk to one of the guys he knows so we could go talk to them. We got talking to them and had a laugh, at one point I touched a mans nipple, then when he dropped a chip I ate a cheesy chip off his hairy chest. As you can see the night was going well.

We somehow got talking to two squaddies who were on R&R from being posted in Cyprus and having been outside Helmand for awhile. Cue talking about politics (briefly) and having shrapnel wounds shown to us (RPG hit one of them and the other guy pulled him out of the way of fire), I decided to buy them, and ourselves, drinks. Sat around chatting to them about everything really and then suddenly the lights come up and it's kicking out time. They wanted to go elsewhere but due to it being a Wednesday, everywhere was shut. Everywhere apart from the Casino.

A short walk later and we were in the casino and bought another round for us all. Started drinking and playing Blackjack, which is a game I don't usually play but have found a love for it. Again we just sat around talking and drinking and before we knew it they were kicking out too. That was about 5am. I only spent £20 on Blackjack and walked away with £8, so yeah a loss, but it was fun.
Geordie walked to the station to get a taxi and I chatted to the guys for awhile, I got their British Forces Postal Number things so next time my mum sends off shoe boxes of gifts to troops, these guys get one specifically for them. And apparently they want Pot Noodles!
Walked with them to the station and hopped on a bus home. Got in around 5:45am and had to get up for a job interview with Toys R Us Head Office in Maidenhead. That was a struggle but I think it went well.

So the Drunkard is getting out and about, having a good time and random nights occur even when the immortal line "I'm not up for a late one, I have a job interview in the morning"

Think that's its for this months outings. This drunkard needs to go the gym as I've missed a few sessions, but there is an all you can eat Chinese happening on Saturday and we get to break in some friends new Sofa.

NB: The picture I took this morning on the way home from my interview. Was opposite Back of Beyond fyi.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Tales of a Drunkard: The Return

It's a welcomed return to our intrepid drunkard, a.k.a ME! I've ventured out into Reading now and again, and I've been round houses for nights out but I feel Saturday was a proper night out for me. Though saying that the previous Saturday was a proper night out... And so was Wednesday. Fuck there goes my blog about beginning to go out more. Bollocks.

OK so I went out on Wednesday for BBC: Introducing and saw a pretty good band at the end of the night, another ensemble band which I love, as you always get more diversity with more instruments. Anyway we went there, had a few drinks then went to the Turtle as per most nights out. Spent a bit of time and money drinking there then walked home. On the way I stole a Subway poster and was quite proud. We came to Jacksons corner and did something I've always wanted to do ever since watching a documentary.

Basically, I'm annoyed that all the lights in shops stay on overnight, theres no need. I don't want to window shop at 3am and it's a waste of electricity. So this documentary followed people in France turning off all the shop lights in Paris at night via those Red 'FIRE' switches outside. Now I'm still in two minds as to whether A.) It turns off all the power inside so the fire brigade don't electrocute themselves or B.)It triggers the fire alarm.

In my drunken state I decided to find out so flipped the switch. Nothing happened. I screamed "SCARPER LADS" to my mate and pegged it while giggling away to myself for saying scarper. Stopped about 50yards away and just saw my friend meandering along at a leisurely pace. The lights remained on, and I didn't hear any sirens. Along the way I also stole a tyre from outside a tyre center thing in Reading. Don't ask me why but it's now sitting outside my door.

All in all, it was a good night out.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

White Dog Poo

I'm a child of the 80s, albeit the latter part. I was born in 1985. And here's a new nostalgia feature.

Theres certain things about being born in the 80s that is a testament to the world at large, and even in your own little world. The Cold War ended, the Challenger exploded, Live Aid happened and the Berlin Wall fell to name a few.

But what i remember from the 80s is white dog poo. Might have been because i had a dog too but it was everywhere. Some small dose of smelly nostalgia i know, but still it defines growing up, for me anyway, as a child of the 80s.

Now there is a real reason why the dog poo turned white, and why you no longer see it. Both are rubbish and you can find out for yourself. All i know is that white dog poo is synonymous with growing up. To avoiding it when walking and to watching normal dog poo change colour over the course of a few days in the height of summer. Memories of my dog Meg come to mind, good Lil thing she was, and various excursions to the river as a child.

It's a shame that the only things children of the 90s/00s will have to look back on is Teletubbies and Dick & Dom....

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The Five Stages of Tring

The Five Stages of Tring is a phenomenon that occurs at any festival gathering, or to be fair any instance where a tent is involved.
It occurs generally after a long day of walking around, lots of alcohol and other such things. Below I shall take you through, step by step, the wonder of The Five Stages of Tring.

The First Stage

The first stage is when you wake up in a tent, your fully aware of where you are. Your tired, and its very warm. You throw off your sleeping bag and use it to get comfortable. You manage to fall in and out of sleep for the next hour or so.

The Second Stage

The second stage occurs after you have failed to get any sense of sleep. Its getting hotter and stuffier in your tent. The smell of smoke from the nights bonfire lingers in your tent, on your clothes and in your hair. Almost suffocating with the smell you open the tent. This allows some fresh air and enables you to drift back to sleep now that the warm air has left.

The Third Stage

The third stage is a comical one. After getting some actual sleep you feel like interacting with the other campers you are with. You crawl to the front of your tent and set up a nest. With your bag or sleeping used as a pillow you rest while talking with your friends. However in your state you fall back asleep. Half in your tent where it is still warm and half outside where its cool and breezy.

The Fourth Stage

Your almost there now. The fourth stage is a small one. This is when everyone is staring at you and wondering why you aren't up yet. Why are you still wanting to sleep when its sunny and everyone is enjoying themselves. So guilt tripped into getting out you retreat back into your tent to get changed.

The Fifth Stage

And your now a semi functioning member of society once again. The fifth stage is you now out of your tent and sat on a stool,chair or on the floor. You are now ready for the first sip of lager and to start planning your day. Be it seeing bands or going for a hike.

There we go. The five stages of Tring. If you see anyone exhibiting any of the signs, just let them play it out, they'll soon be with you.

NB: The Five Stages of Tring isn't scientifically proven. So if your friend hasn't moved from, lets say, stage 3. Then maybe intervene.