It’s the little things, the incidentals…

THE SHED HAS LANDED.

It shall be mentioned no more.

Shed

It looked bigger in the shop!

We’ve had a bit of a change around here this week.  I’m presuming you have noticed by now a new look to my blog.  It was time for a change and a bit of colour to combat the unavoidable approach of winter.  Do let me know if you like the new look or if you fear change like the ravaging demonic beast that it is.

On a genetal note I do enjoy getting comments, (he said in a needy type way), so always feel free to post your thoughts.

In a week that has seen Tsunamis (why the silent T???), more economic torture, and no doubt millions of other personal tragedies, I find myself wrestling with one of those really small annoying problems that really get under your skin.

Before I say what it is, I will admit it is completely trivial and of no matter whatsoever, but still it lives inside of me like some sort of technical tumor.

For months, my phone has worked perfectly with my car’s bluetooth system.  I have jumped in and out of the red beast, with it pairing and unpairing as easily as Katie Price and Peter Andre.  It has been one of life’s little miracles that I can speak to my car and it knows who to ring, and when someone phones me, it pauses the CD, or turns the radio down, and allows me to speak hands free.

For some reason, about two weeks ago, the phone started just randomly disconnecting itself from the car’s bluetooth system, sometimes mid call, so I would then have to shout very loudly…

“Hang on, the fecking bluetooth has gone” whilst I swerve from lane to lane trying to wrestle the phone from the cradle to speak illegally for a few seconds to say goodbye.

It will reconnect if I press enough buttons either on the car or on the phone, only to deny me again moments later.  Then in a mocking style, other times it will connect and stay so, come hell, high water or a three car pile up on the M602.

In best man fashion, I have been looking for a fix.  Men like to fix things.  It is what we do in life.  If a problem has no solution then it isn’t a valid problem.

I have thus far failed.  Google has been of some help, and I’ve tried a few fixes that others have tried, but as yet no joy.  In the back of my mind, I know that I should either –

a) Give the phone to the IT chaps in the office, demand either a fix or a new phone, and flounce off all diva like.

b) Ring the phone manufacturer and ask them to sort it out.

Well you may guess that the first option is not my style, and the second one fills me with mental images of overseas call centres, and three-hour waits listening to Linda Ronstadt.

So I shall continue my quest for a fix, and until I do…don’t phone me when I’m driving.

By the way, ten pop picker points for anyone who can tell me the song and artist from which I nicked the title for this post.

Rebecca's battered phone.

Let's talk about texts baby.

Elsewhere this week on the subject of phones, I have to share with you a bit of a deal.  Rebecca has had her phone for two years now, and it bears the scars of a squillion texts.  Her contract is almost up, and we’ve been counting down the months until she can upgrade.  She’s been with O2 all her mobile life, and we saw no reason to change, and were preparing for a visit to the shop next month to pick out her new handset.

That was however until I got an email from Quidco.  A cash back site I have used quite a bit recently.  This email told me about a deal for new Orange Pay Monthly contracts, offering £140 cash back.

Nokia E5

That keyboard is going to take some hammer

To cut a long story short, I signed her up for a Dolphin.  Which is odd from a phone provider but with it she gets unlimited texts (vital), enough minutes (she doesn’t actually talk to anyone on her phone) and 500mb of internet each month for £20.  A shiny new Nokia E5, and Daddy gets a nice payment of £140.  I thank you.

On top of that of course, we now have an Orange contract within the house, which means we can finally take advantage of the Orange Wednesday scheme, which is quite apt as the company I work for “do that”.

This week has seen me realise that I also need to actually do some getting ready for my Paris trip, and luckily with Louise at home, she has been able to sort out some Euros for me (even though Adam has promised to pay for everything 🙂  ), and with the temperatures dropping faster than my council’s budget, some essential stuff to keep me warm.

So a wooly hat and gloves have been procured on my behalf.  I am sure I shall look dashing and exotic.

Paris Weather

Sunday sees a light drrrrrizzle.

A quick check of the upcoming weather for Paris shows that it may not be too bad, with some light rain forecast for Sunday, and with temperatures staying some way above freezing.  Forgive me if I still pack the woolies and seventeen different layers.  I don’t do cold very well at all.

Tomorrow sees a full day of travel, which of course will all go smoothly and to plan, and I get to Paris around 6pm.  I then have a few hours to kill until Adam arrives, so I’ll wander around shops, eat, and perhaps eat as well.

If the phone works over there (and my IT chap tells me he has made it so) then see you on Twitter for blow-by-blow updates from what I hope is an enjoyable weekend.

Au revoir….

Till the next time…..

A Shed, never ending illness and a decent erection.

People often say that no news is good news.  In the world of trying to get your garage conversion done before Christmas, this does not apply.

No real updates on that front, and there probably won’t be until the good men of Gas arrive to move our meter about a metre.  The one thing that did happen this week was that the funds for said conversion arrived in our bank account.  I am a fairly sensible soul, but there were a few mad minutes where I imagined what sort of kickass holiday I could book with that amount of cash sat in the current account.

Shed

Shed's Up

Sanity, plus a healthy fear of Louise prevailed,and it got transferred to the savings account (nice to use it for something I suppose) and we wait.

But wait, Monday brings a major development in this whole Grand Design.  Our shed arrives.  Being frankly shite at anything that even includes the letters D I and Y, we have employed a crack team of shed fitters to ensure the erection is satisfactory.  I would hate to have an unsatisfactory erection anywhere never mind in our back garden where the neighbours can see it.

Once we have the erection in a satisfactory state, then the real work starts, and I will be working up a sweat I’m sure.  Yep, we have to empty the garage of vital crap, and put said vital crap into the shed, and jetison non vital crap to the skip via the cavernous delights of the Mondeo’s boot.

However, that shall not be next weekend, as I shall be away, jet setting in gay Paris.  An unfortunate choice of words perhaps, when I admit that I shall be so with a bloke I met off of the internet.  I refer you back to the earlier post in which I outline how I won a trip to Disneyland Paris courtesy of the DisneyBrit Podcast.

My journey starts next Friday morning and I shall be tweeting all the way there and back, so if you care, then please follow me! The prayers for fine weather have begun, alongside the hopes that the delightful French decide that next weekend is the one this year that they will not be striking over something important.  I’m hoping to travel light, but this is balanced against the worry that it will be bloody cold, and I therefore need to take three hundred layers.  This will of course be the reason for any unsightly bulk around my frame on any photos.  As you know, I have a fine physique.

Thursday evening saw Louise and I drag my disease ridden frame to the girl’s school.  Louise started at 5pm, for a meeting about Rebecca’s exchange trip to Nuremburg in November.  A quick summary is, it will be cold, it will be expensive.  Time well spent.

I joined Louise at 7pm for the next meeting, this time for Emily.  As she has just started Year 11 aka GCSE year, we had to attend a briefing on how to help our Year 11 children through this difficult year.  No bugger did similar for me.  When I was doing my O Levels (giving my age away), it was a solo effort, and all of my revision had to be slotted in around the 1986 World Cup.

Now it seems we have roughly as much to do as Emily, and we were told how to spot and deal with stress.  We were also shown how to use mind maps as a revision technique, along with a long session on how to plan and structure revision, course work, controlled assesments, and some sort of social life.  Jesus, if I wasn’t worried about it before, I am now.  Emily seems unfazed by the whole thing, and only appears from behind her fringe to ask for food and/or money.  As long as she knows I am here for her!!

I arrived home, tired, scared to death for the year ahead, starving and close to death’s door at 9pm!!  Smashing.

Now I know I may have let on more than once that I have not been in the rudest of health this week, but I have fought on valiantly, and made it to work all week.  I did give in and leave early on Friday, as the illness was peaking, and once I’d come out the other end of my meetings which ran from 9.30 until 2.30 non stop, I was neither use nor ornament to anybody.  The fact that some arse had been incompetent enough to have a bump on the M61 and made my journey home last over an hour only added to the magic of my Friday afternoon.

Where the wild things are

Wild Thing, you make my heart sink

Friday night was spent watching a couple of DVDs, interrupted nicely with some sniffing and coughing.  We watched Where the Wild Things Are and It’s Complicated.  The latter was much better than the former.  Where the Wild Things Are was just weird to be honest.  I can watch a kid’s film with little problem usually (no comments thanks), but this was just a bit boring to be honest.

No real plot to speak of, and this meant that the film just doesn’t seem to go anywhere.

It’s Complicated was better, if predictable.  It was one of those non challenging films that you can just let wash over you.  With a cast of Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, you know you are in safe hands, and the plot is just about original enough to keep you interested.

Fair play to Alec Baldwin.  Being on the chunkier side, he had no issue in showing of his Party 7 (not six pack), and I for one applaud him.  If I had any weight issues I too would make a stand and have my kit off at every opportunity too.

My plan for the weekend is to do nothing….at all.  I have less than no energy, so this seems to be the correct plan.  Having felt rough for two weeks now I am getting seriously bored.  I haven’t been able to get to the gym due to this, and if this carries on I shall be approaching Baldwin territory, and I don’t mean Mike.

So next week (and the week after) are four day work weeks for me, having booked Friday and Monday off for Paris, and that is just dandy.  I’m not sure when and if I will be able to blog you again, with being abroad and stuff next weekend, but I would imagine Monday will be a good time to regail you with tales of missed trains, over eating and Space Mountain.  Frankly, I hope it is more Space Mountain than Brokeback Mountain…no offence Adam!

My aim during next week is to finish off the trip report for our 2010 Florida jaunt (don’t hold me to that), so that I shall be free to quickly document the Paris trip, in a compare ands contrast fashion.

As I type this, Louise is unusually out doing the BIG shop.  A task I normally undertake every Saturday.  This is because when Louise does it somehow the shopping bill is tripled.  We go to the same supermarket, and seem to eat the same food, so it is quite some acheivement.  I await her return with trepidation, a headache, sore throat and an impressive collection of snot riddled kitchen roll.

Have I mentioned that I feel unwell?

Till the next time…..

Elton Welsby, Lat Am and the battle between some Americans

This week’s ridiculous search term to find my blog is……  “hotel room littered with liquor bottles”.

I must have missed that particular entry, which is not too surprising if the room was littered with liquor bottles.

Moving quickly on to matters concerning the garage, this week’s update is thus.  We have permission from the holder of our freehold to go ahead with the conversion, despite there being a term in our lease saying our garage can only be a garage.  It is quite amazing how little such legal documents actually matter when compared to the large cheque they can have in its place.  Of course, for them to take the trouble to look at our letter, consult the lease and write back we have had to cough up the Brazilian (or is that UK now?) national debt.  It seems their favour can easily be bought.

If they had not given consent, we would have been faced with a choice of not doing the work or buying the freehold outright.  In the end the costs were pretty similar, but permission ever so slightly cheaper.  It was tempting to buy the leasehold though, just to be free from their money grabbing mitts.  However my natural tightness prevented my moral outrage from out doing my propensity to save money.

The pain of actually getting an answer was massive.  It took around a dozen phone calls over two weeks, and a week of delay whilst they wrote to us, yes as in a letter, not an email, as they think it is 1976, to tell me they needed more information.  Now I know what the process entails it enrages me to know that we could have sorted it all out with two emails and a phone call in about three hours.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

So the builder has the go ahead, and the critical event now is the moving of our gas meter from the garage to an outside wall.  Another small fortune has been squandered on that task as I moaned about last week, so I won’t again.

At work this week, I have been working with other departments, “bedding in” my new role and team alongside a change to the other department’s structure.  Not easy in a world of differing opinions and corporate egos, but I think we got there.  Once we’d done all of that, we then had to communicate it out to the rest of the company.

Being a global company it means a few “web meetings” with our international colleagues in Australia and the US. Whenever I hold meetings with my US colleagues, I have to remind myself that not everyone with a US accent is a Cast Member at Disney.  Alas our US offices are in New York and Arlington, and not Lake Buena Vista, but once I’ve got my feet under the table a little more I shall be suggesting a relocation, and a new US manager!!  Next week we do India and Lat Am.

Come on….seriously….you are going to let me get away with “Lat Am”?  It is used of course as a shortened version of Latin America .  Lat Am is the term used throughout our company when talking about our office in Buenos Aires.  The saving of the in and erica from the end of those words is just not worth it when balanced against the sacrifice of sounding like a character off of some corny American office drama.

Whenever I use it in the office (which so far has been twice), I either smirk or blush, at the sheer crassness of the whole thing.  I belive the folks in Argentina refer to us at Head Office as Great Man, sacrificing the er and chester for effect.

I hate corporate nonsense and buzzwords like this, and this week, I encountered another.  A colleague on one of these presentations was outlining a process, and was asked by a US colleague if we were open to ideas.  “Yes” he says,” in fact we’d welcome it, and we have a meeting planned next week, and in that we will reach out to all parties”.

Reach out????  Really???  This guy is from Wigan by the way.

Maybe I just don’t take myself seriously enough to buy into this nonsense.  I still feel like at some point soon I’m going to find a job that I really should be doing, rather than getting away with things in my working life, until someone finds me out.

 

Elton Welsby

Elton Rifles

 

I have, as you may have picked up on via Twitter, also being fighting a life threatening bout of mild man flu all week.  So this illness and a busy week of prep and meetings only served as a distraction from my constant monitoring of the sale of Liverpool FC to NESV.

I’m not sure if I have yet declared my colours football wise here, but I am and always have been a Liverpool fan.  I cannot really tell you why, I just have been so for as long as I can remember.

I guess being a child of the 70’s, if there was ever football on telly, then it was Liverpool.  Elton Welsby has a lot to answer for.

This week then has been fairly stressful, with more twists and turns than a twisty turny thing.  Thankfully at work I have full access to the internet and Tweetdeck (which I highly recommend by the way) which allowed me to keep up to date (when not buried under mountains of work of course).  I only hope the success off the pitch this week starts to be replicated on the green stuff pretty soon.

I like Americans as you probably know, but the exception to the rule are the two idiots that have been Liverpool’s owners for the past three years.  Hopefully, the new Americans will be much more like all the other Americans I have met, with the additional benefit of buying half a dozen world class players and a new stadium.

 

Social Network film

I'm a PC and Facebook was my idea!

 

The arrival of this weekend then was very welcome, but it seems I welcomed it naively thinking I would be able to get some ass on couch time.  Not as yet.

We went to a gig on Friday night, at a local pub.  I haven’t been in this pub for so long that the last time I wasn’t drinking legally.  Since then, perhaps not surprisingly, the owners have changed, and they have done a great job of turning it into a proper music venue, with a decent stage, great sound system and lighting.

We were there to watch my brother’s band, Mustard, rise phoenix like from the ashes of a two year hiatus, to gig again.  We had a good night, and if anyone is looking for an excellent pop/rock covers band, let me know, and (for a sizeable commission) I shall put you in touch!

Saturday saw me in constant perpetual motion between chores and Mondeo.  I did get a slight lie in until around 10am, but then the next time I was still was in the cinema watching Social Network last night.

So after a visit to the gym, taking Emily for her new glasses, doing the BIG shop at Asda and picking up some of the girl’s friends for an enormous sleepover, it was a good job that the film was good or else I would have been asleep before the trailers ended.  I was wary of going to see this film, as usually any tale of some young and talented upstart making huge amounts of money with an idea I wish I’d had would just make me grumpy, and you know that isn’t like me.

The film of course did make me grumpy, as I want to be a billionaire too!!  However, it was interesting and enjoyable to watch, and I think reminded me that history doesn’t all happen two hundred years ago, it happens all the time, and we just don’t notice.

On our return home there were frankly too many teenagers to count strewn across the house, and I did have a slight sense of humour failure when we had to “politely tell them to go to bed” at some silly early hour as their noise was getting ridiculous.  I am just counting the minutes now until I get my house back.

Today is also packed with tasks, and of course a very important football game at lunchtime.  I do however commit here and now that somehow by the end of today I will have completed Day 12 of the trippie.

Promises, promises…..

Till the next time…….

Level 42 – Channel 4 and other final scores.

Kevin McCloud is ignoring my calls it seems.

Not one person from Channel 4 has been on the phone following my last post about our intended Grand Design.  During the week I even tweeted my delight that he had joined Twitter (@Kevin_McCloud), and I thought this event was obviously driven by my last blog post where he was name checked.  Alas no.

So it seems our development will go un-televised.

Nearly all of the required ducks are now in a lovely row, enabling us to give the builder a go ahead, and brace ourselves for whatever disasters may befall us on our journey to four bedroom-ness.  I have ordered the alteration to our Gas Service (robbing bastards), and await a date when they may or may not turn up.  Unfortunately it seems that very soon we are going to have to begin the arduous and depressing task of emptying the garage of all our junk.

This means throwing away lots of stuff, but we need to find a new home for other stuff, and that means purchasing a shed for the back garden.  My journey to middle-aged conformity is complete.  I have two children, I drive a Mondeo, and will very shortly own a shed.  Tragic!

Anyway, I embrace my beige tinted middle of the roadity.  If time and memory permit I shall photograph the project at relevant stages so you can travel with us.  I’ll pop round to your house too, and throw some dust into your living room to increase the realism for you.

Better news this week is Louise’s continued return to something like health.  Crucially she feels up to doing some ironing now, and who am I to stop her?  The next major milestone will be her ability to drive, alas that is a few weeks away just yet.  She is becoming a little stir crazy at this point.

 

Level 42

Level 42 and a head

 

Onto events of the past week, I’ll start with last Sunday, when (as my belated birthday present) my brother took me to see Level 42 at the Manchester Apollo.  This was, I realised, a replica of my first ever gig, aged thirteen, at the same venue, with the same brother, seeing the same band.  This tour is their 30th anniversary, and having seen them countless times between 1983 and last Sunday, I’m fairly sure they do get better with age.  They are one of the tightest live bands I have ever seen.

From time to time they have a new member here and there, and this time saw a new drummer.  Well, I say drummer, but that intimates that he is human.  After watching him play for an hour and a half, I’m not sure.  I suspect he is actually some sort of multiple limbed alien being.

Have a look….

The audience was the usual mix of middle-aged chaps who were there back in 1980, who hate it when the ladies jump up to dance to the string of hits from the back end of their career, and dancing ladies who know about four songs who annoy all the grumpy blokes who just want to sit down and revel in the abject muso-ness of it all.

As you know, I was involved in playing music in bands and stuff, but frankly, every time I go to see the Lev, I struggle to equate what I used to do with what they do with such apparent ease.  As my Dad always says when he watches professional golf  “They play a different game to me!”, despite the fact that he has been a single handicapper for decades.

Well, in this case my handicap is an under abundance of talent.  Still, going to see a band that I have worshipped since puberty is lovely.  There is a real feeling of comfort, and you know that you are in safe hands as they rattle through the set.  Every now and again they throw in one of the old obscure tunes, if we are lucky an instrumental, and those “in the know” sit back and smugly watch the “glory hunters” who came along sometime around “Something About You”  look at each other quizzically.  Small pleasures!

The rest of the week has been relatively uneventful, other than the usual schedule of work, and the writing of trip reports.  I got two done this week, and hopefully one or two more to follow over the weekend.  We’re not far from the end now, which for those who bother to come here, I guess, will be sad to hear.  For others who do not enjoy the non stop deluge of knob gags interspersed with the odd photo, then The Dibb will soon be safe to return to.

Any plans for the early booking of next year’s trip have been shelved, as amazingly, the ample budget (we thought) that we had allocated to the garage conversion has been soaked up, almost to the penny.  It is as if every party involved knew upfront what our budget was, and have priced their elements in a conspiracy to get their hands on every penny.

 

Cobweb Cottage

Le Maison mon Frere.

 

So with things likely to go wrong/cost more, we need to just watch what we do until we are done and then take stock.  Knowing our luck with previous similar projects we shall be in a tent in the back garden next year.  As I’ve said already, I think all of us are ready for a change (although if someone is looking to fund us a trip just so I can do another trippie then don’t get me wrong, please contact me!!), and it may be time to do something very different.

The West Coast really appeals, and if funds allow this will be my first choice.  If funds don’t we may plump for a decent beach destination, and if we are really skint we’ll do a week at my brother’s house in France.  That may sound ungrateful, but I should explain that his house is WWWAAAYYYY out in the sticks, and is meant as a pure get away from it all and relax place, which with two teenage girls, has its drawbacks.  Mainly the complete lack of the internets!!

The only concern I have with a beach holiday (WARNING: SNOB ALERT) is the fear of getting to a hotel which is all kid’s clubs, Agadoo and knobbly knee contests.  I would literally rather eat my own earwax, and being honest often do.

As all self-respecting middle-aged, Mondeo owning, shed buying Dads say…..”We’ll have to wait and see”.

I shall see you soon for more riveting garage updates!

Till the next time….

Joey Tempest in bed…in my garage?????

OK, before we do anything else I just have to cover one thing here.

As part of the admin features of this here blog, there is a tool that tells you what phrases people have typed into search engines to come to it.  Usually of course, there are lots of variations of mkingdon, but just now, a phrase appeared that made my blood run cold.

Someone typed “Joey Tempest in bed”.  Forget the fact that my one random mention of the Nordic rocker meant that they ended up here, but for the love of God, what type of sick individual wants to see the results from that search term.  The internet is a weird place.

Anyway, moving on.

Louise’s recovery continues, and she is getting more mobile each day, but she discovered this week that there are problems with her wound, and she may have a hematoma in there somewhere, oh and her wound is infected!!  We are of course delighted with this, and she is having to go to the clinic every other day for check ups and new dressings.  She has a cold too!!!!  Nothing is ever simple it seems.  Speaking of which…..

The more attentive amongst you will have picked up on the fact, that amongst all the pre holiday hullaballoo, we put our house up for sale.  Our main reasons for wanting to move where twofold –

  1. We want/need more bedroom space
  2. With my new job, I can no longer drop the girls off at Grandma’s for breakfast, from where they can walk to school.

We live about ten minutes drive from school, but it is no longer “on the way” for either myself and never has been for Louise, so the girls are now faced with walking or catching the bus.

They have always insisted they were fine to do that, but our trust in them to get themselves up, dressed and on their way in time was about zero.  If we are not rounding them up, shouting at them, and bundling them into a car, then they would still be sat applying make up at around 10.30am.

Anyway, since returning to school, they have done OK on the whole walking thing, and haven’t yet been late.  Of course, they have had Louise around, post op, who can still administer the relevant motivation when required, but still the signs are good.

Add to that, the fact that we’ve had less interest in our house than the East 17 reunion, and our thoughts have been forming in another direction.

Kevin McCloud

Every McCloud has a silver lining.

As it looks like we don’t need to move the girls within five feet of school, we are hatching a plan to create another bedroom.  Don’t for one second paint pictures in your mind of our house sat in rolling hills of endless space, and us casually bolting on a new wing.  The only place we have not yet made into a room is the garage.

So, over the coming weeks, and no doubt months I shall be sharing the Grand Design style experiences and heartaches involved in a fairly major building project.  Like most things until you start to look into it, you have no idea how complex and involved they are, and this certainly applies here.

The idea is less than a week old and here is what I have found out already.

1.  Our lease prohibits the garage from being used as anything else but a garage, so we need to get permission.  To even ask this question involves a fee of £80, and then if they agree in principle there will be “other fees” to process the permission.

2.  We need to move both our gas and electric meter things.  Putting the astronomical costs aside for a second, trying to find out who to talk to in order to arrange this is a challenge they should put in place when recruiting new folk for Men in Black.  When you do, they then add considerable insult to injury by telling you their prices.  To move the electric board and meter, ooh, around a foot and a half to the left, they want £1400 and for the gas meter to go onto an outside wall is another £800.  I asked both parties how many men they were sending, and how many days they were staying for.  They didn’t understand the question until I pointed out that for those prices I was expecting the A Team to arrive by helicopter, and stay for at least a week!  No, it seems both jobs will take less than half a day.

It will also be at least eight weeks until they can get around to it too!!

3.  The bank seems willing to lend me endless supplies of cash, but despite banking there since 1987, I still have to spend forty-five minutes on the phone telling them all the information that they have on their computer, like, how much I get paid, how much we spend each month, and by how much one exceeds the other!!

So the pain has started.  However the end game still looks worth it, as we should end up with a decent sized fourth bedroom with an en suite.  Face it no-one wants to see me dashing through the house to the upstairs bathroom in my undercrackers do they!  Well, maybe the guy who searched for Joey Tempest in bed does?

All in all though, this to me still seems like the preferable option to moving.  Despite the cost of such a development, it gets us into a four bedroom house, in an area we love, without the pain of putting everything we own into boxes, and then taking it all out again.  When you weigh up the legal fees, stamp duty, removal costs etc, the conversion of the garage feels like a bargain!

Tomorrow we have our builder coming round to do some final checks, before he presents us with the official quote.  Depending on what that says, this could be the shortest development project in history.  However, if he is anywhere near our budget, we’ll crack on I’m sure.

Work has been hectic again this week, and the “highlight” was a training course on Wednesday in central Manchester at the offices of our PR agency.  A few of us were to be media trained!  I know, I know.

This basically involved learning how to do interviews with the press and how journalists try to trick you into getting info you didn’t want to tell them.  Then to my horror, a session on how to do pieces to camera, as we intend to populate our YouTube channel with lots of promo videos, explaining how great we are.  The horror of seeing yourself played back in 1080p cannot be fully understood until it happens.  Suffice to say, I don’t see a future in television for myself at this stage.  Plus, why didn’t anyone tell me I was losing my hair?????

They also say that the camera adds ten pounds.  I don’t know about that, I think it is more likely to be the 8,000 calories a day whilst on holiday!!

In other news, Rebecca came home with a letter this week about a school trip.  As you know, these days these are usually things like giraffe racing in New Zealand rather than a day in Cleckheaton.  This trip is an exchange thing to Germany, where she will go and stay with a “pen pal” and their family in November, and we shall return the favour next April.  It’s a good job we plan to have an extra bedroom by then!!

This may not seem odd to you, until you understand that not one pupil in Rebecca’s year actually learns German at school.  They all either do Spanish (like Rebecca) or French.  The benefits, of course, are around life experience, meeting new people etc, and learning to be independent, but you would think they could manage something like that in a country who speak the language they are learning??  I did study German for three years, and as a result, can now ask for a piece of Black Forest Gateaux with great confidence.  This is ALL I can do, but still, a glowing reference for a comprehensive education.

Ich mochte ein stuch schwarzwalderkirschtorte bitte.  Have that!

Till the next time….