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|Monday, July 16th, 2018|
|Summer Activities 2018 - Week 1
Its that time of year when we plan a series of activities over the Summer months to keep our tenants amused while their colleges and day activities are closed until September. We have just finished the first week, highlights of which included trips to the Museum Of Childhood, The Cinema and lunch at a Ghanian restaurant and a World Cup Final party.
The biggest trip of the week was a trip to the Seaside, Clacton in this case. None of us had ever been before and as it was a weekday the place was blissfully uncrowded. All of our guys especially enjoyed the day and it ended up being staffed by myself and The Missus, so we got a cute day out too. Current Mood: hot
|Sunday, July 15th, 2018|
|Did Someone Trump?
On Friday I finished work a bit early so I could go and shout at Donald Trump. This might seem like a pointless activity (apart from catharsis) but I was pleased to be joined by about 250,000 other people doing much the same.
I tried explaining to one of mt colleagues who asked me, "What's the point? He Isn't going to listen to you." that a single demonstration rarely ever changes anything. What counts is the networks it builds in the wider movement, the confidence it can give to those wanting to take a stand (whether or not they are there on the day), the publicity for the cause and a bunch of other reasons. Even if nothing came from the protest that you can measure, surely it is better that 250,000 people stood up for what they believed in rather than stayed home and did nothing? It has to be more positive and through all of this the world was watching (not true for all the demonstrations I have ever been on). This has to have generated more hope that things can be fought and won than if no demonstration had happened at all.
Some of my favourite placards of the day:
"We said 'combover' not 'come over'
"This episode of Black Mirror F***ing Sucks"
and a surprisingly eloquent one that simply read: :(
This week I have been mostly re-reading: Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch Current Mood: hot
|Friday, July 13th, 2018|
|Thank You Croatia!
Normal service has been resumed. England thankfully have been ejected from the world cup (barring the largely irrelevant third-place play off game) just as the flag waving morons were starting to creep out of the woodwork. I know I am in a grumpy minority (in these parts at least) but I greeted the result with a balanced mix of relief and joy! Thank You Croatia!
Much is still being said about how wonderful the team and manager are and little is being said about how they only got that far literally by the luck of the draw with the teams they were set to face. England as a team remain massively over-rated, overpaid tossers. Expectations will no doubt be sky-high for the next big competition but plenty of time to shudder about that later, for now I am ready to enjoy the moment and I look forward to watching the final in relative peace. Current Mood: hot
|Thursday, July 12th, 2018|
|Everybody's Talking About Jamie (and the other fail)
Last week the missus and I had a busy week lined up. We had tickets on Thursday to see 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' the new West-end musical (in a live cinema broadcast, not at the actual theatre) and on Friday we had tickets to see a BBC Radio recording of some French classical music at the Maida Vale studios. We came a copper on both shows to a greater or lesser extent.
The musical was actually pretty enjoyable. The songs and performances were pretty lively and enjoyable and some nice character work - and the screenings in the cinema are so much more comfortable (and cheaper!) than going to the actual theatre. The audience where we saw it was pretty sparse so the atmosphere was lacking somewhat but it was worth the sacrifice. What went wong was with misjudging the car park which is totally free for five hours but heavy fines hit you if you stay longer than that. We arrived after work, went for dinner and by the time the show started it became apparent that we would not be able to see the whole of the second half without incurring a £100 parking fine. If we had known that before we parked we would have gone somewhere else for dinner and avoided the whole issue. Being in the middle of a leisure/industrial wasteland with only the one giant car park servicing all points, ironically in the part of town called 'Park Royal' alternative options were thin on the ground. We ended up leaving the show early, slightly wiser and satisfied with what we had seen.
The BBC show was less successful. The tickets were free (they like to record in front of a live audience) and we were going more to experience the recording of a show than the show itself. Since the terror attacks of the last couple of years the BBC like many places have stepped up security and now you cannot gain entry unless you also have approved photo I.D. We registered the tickets in the Missus' name (because at the moment I do not actually have any valid photo I.D. until my passport gets renewed. The missus forgot to bring hers so we were turned away before we could even enter the building. The missus was much more disappointed than I was (because I have seen previous recordings) but again, we left the experience slightly the wiser for next time. Current Mood: hot
|Wednesday, July 11th, 2018|
|World Cup 2018 (so far)
It's been an unusual world cup so far. Partly because I have seen/listened to more of it at work than I have at home but even more so because of England's unexpected progress. I've always maintained the pretty constant position that England losing (anything) is a positive thing, England winning anything is a negative - mostly because of the flag waving twats and the bilge that follows.
This time round it looks like England will make the final - if not actually win outright having played only comparative minnows in the world standing (with the exception of Belgium who beat them in the group stage). I haven't decided yet if this makes it better or worse but it kind of feels like cheating - which would have much in common with England's last world cup win in 1966.
Needless to say I will be cheering for Croatia in the semi-finals and if I have to then be cheering for France in the finals. Current Mood: grumpy
|Tuesday, July 10th, 2018|
|Shaun Tan At The Illustration Cupboard (again)
I'm trying to catch up on some posts but aside from lack of time and this ridiculous heat my trusty old laptop seems to be wheezing it's last and is in need of replacement before it craps out on me completely.
Shaun Tan then, to be brief had another exhibition of his work recently at The Illustration Cupboard in Piccadilly. This time there was a lot of his work from the brilliant 'Tales Of Outer Suburbia' but plenty more besides. The work this tiny gallery displays is constantly amazing, I just wish that they had a bigger space to show off more.
This week I have been mostly re-reading: The 43 Group by Morris Beckman Current Mood: hot
|Monday, July 2nd, 2018|
|Sports Day Soundtrack
The new flat I share with the missus backs onto a school and on my day off last week they were enjoying their sports day. I couldn't see anything from our window but for most of the day I could hear their tannoy system as announcements were made and music was played to constantly soundtrack the event. Surprisingly, this was only faintly annoying but three of the songs leaped out at me as possibly being not entirely appropriate.
The first of these was Boney M's 'Brown Girl In The Ring'. This is a song from a Jamaican kids game so not at all inappropriate - I was just surprised that it wasn't considered to be politically incorrect.
The second song was Musical Youth's cover version of 'Pass the Douchie' which I am pretty sure everybody knows is about smoking drugs. Fair enough.
The third and final song which made me wonder if any of the school staff knew what they were playing was 'Mr Loverman' by Shabba Ranks. Honestly, was this appropriate for a primary school's sports day? Aside from the fact that its a bloody awful song that is. I assume some teacher just put on a cheap reggae cd or playlist and payed little attention to which songs it contained. Baffling.
This week I have been mostly re-reading: Selected Poems by William Blake Current Mood: hot
|Friday, June 29th, 2018|
We had an inspection by CQC at work yesterday. CQC (Care Quality Commission) are the people who monitor the delivery of services such as mine (but also hospitals, nursing homes and all manner of such). Their recommendation counts for a lot within the industry (especially the coveted 'Outstanding' rating) and they have the power to shut places down if they are failing badly.
Our inspection went well, though we wont find out how well until after next week when their other inspections within the organisation are complete. They semed pretty happy with our service though. We were able to demonstrate that we do good work and the guys we support are cared for and are supported to live rich, diverse lives.
I am proud of the work we do all year round (not just inspection time!) and am happy to have played my part in developing the service in the two=and-a-half years since I arrived. I am also glad that the inspections are over and now I can return to my 'normal' job. Current Mood: awake
A couple of weeks ago at work we organised a 'Punk Night' at work as part of our series of 'themed' entertainments. The guys all has a great time. I put together a compilation cd, we had Mad Max 2 & 3 on dvd, we decorated the place up to the eyeballs and the guys all bought colourful mohican wigs to dress up with. All good fun.
What I had not bargained for was one of the training managaers from head office visite the house that day and was so impressed by the imaginative/alternative fun we are having he has spread the word al around head office - to the extent that some other managers were taking the piss out of hime, suggesting that the 'Service users all dressed up in punky mohican wigs' was merely some delusionon his part.
The knock on effect is that it has not done any harm at all to thr reputation of our service as senior managers see (perhaps for the first time?) that in our service we support our guys to so a lot of stuff that is about having fun and enjoying their lives rather tan being specifically about their learning disabilities. Yay, us. Bottom line is our guys are
having fun and enjoying their lives. This is why we do what we do.
This week I have been mostly re-reading: The Ghetto Fights by Marek Edelman Current Mood: pleased
|Saturday, June 23rd, 2018|
Two weekends ago I was up in Birmingham with the missus for a concert in which god-daughter was performing. (Given that it has been two weeks between that event and this post it's safe to assume that I am still getting used to the new rhythms of my living arrangements). It was also the girl's 19th birthday and her first chance to show off that she has survived her first year of university and to introduce us to her new boyfriend. Plenty to do then.
All of the fringe stuff went well: birthday dinner in Birmingham's chinatown, boyfriend introduced, etc. Following a night spent in the noisiest hotel in which I have ever stayed (right in the centre of Birmingham) we had some time to kill on the Sunday morning before the gig. We took in the sights of the city centre (I have never been a fan of Birmingham and I saw little to improve my opinion). There was even some dance festival going on so plenty of street entertainment too. At one point we stopped to watch this dance troupe do some sort of interpretative dance wearing inflatable pink trousers. I realized that this was literally (and also possibly metaphorically) mad bollocks and said so at the time.
Thankfully in the afternoon came time for the gig, of 'folk festival' as it happened. There was a bit of a mix of performers. The first was an act I have actually seen on tv (a minor act that performed at one of the televised festivals, possibly Glastonbury). These and some of the others were not bad. The only one I did not enjoy was a guy (whose name I have forgotten who was introduced as "the best harmonica player in the world" (quoting from a review he had received in the daily telegraph). His opening number was pretty decent, following which he largely ditched his famed harmonica and instead played his version of rustic sea shanties on an accordion instead. Given that this event seemed designed to promote what is new and exciting in the world of folk music this seemed like a throwback to the kind of reasons why people actually avoid folk festivals, but I seemed to be in an annoyed minority.
The band in which my god-daughter performed took to the stage last and made all of the proceing events worthwhile. I am not saying that out of bias, she played well but the band were genuinely brilliant. They wee a 65 piece (!) ensemble put together by Joe Broughton who teaches music at the University (or more accurately Oratory). The huge ensemble had a string section, a brass section, wind, percussion - was basically an entire orchestra - and with a lively selection of well played tunes sounded more like the James Brown band than anything you would expect to find at a folk festival. I was genuinely impressed (not something I have ever felt on previous visits to Birmingham) and very proud of my girl.
This week I have been mostly re-reading: Quiet. The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain Current Mood: awake
|Sunday, June 3rd, 2018|
The first full evening of living in the new place that doesn't involve moving all my shit and the missus suggests a trip out to Ruislip Lido, a favoured spot we both enjoy. Its a nice enough evening so I agree. Once we are underway the missus suggests a 'Plan B' of going to Northolo Park, a beauty spot close to where we live - and I agree because I really don't mind. It turns out that Northolo park is something that I have seen in passing many times before but never previously visited.
Northolo park (as locals will attest) is a small park built on previously waste ground (possibly landfill?). The council apparently spent £8,000,000 excavating/clearing the site and importing hundreds of tons of soil to build four huge artificial mounds for people to enjoy by walking up and down on (or possibly around them, if that floats your boat). From the top of the mounds you can get an unrivaled view of the bustling A40, apparently. (I don't know as I lazily chose to walk around them rather than up and down them. Coming from Wales we have our own natural hills and walk up and down them if we have good reason rather than just for the sake of it).
The rest of the park was actually fairly nice with some effort being put into developing natural habitats for local wildlife and even a few artificial lakes for fishing. I can't say that I was taken with the place over all but in the evening sunshine it wasn't all bad. Current Mood: awake
|Saturday, June 2nd, 2018|
|East Of Ealing
My move from Harrow to The Missus flat in Ealing has now more or less been completed (om schedule). at least as far as carrying all my shit across is concerned. I still have some admin to chase, a few small bags to unpack and the keys to my old place to return to the landlord, but essentially the next phase of my grand adventure is about to kick off...
This week I hav been mostly re-reading: The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury Current Mood: accomplished
|Saturday, May 26th, 2018|
|Thirteen & Out
This weekend I clock up thirteen years since I moved into my flat and it turns out to be the last weekend I spend here. Moving in with the Missus is going well. I can't say that we have 'done most of it' in terms of shifting my stuff but we have done a lot and we both have next week off work with 'Men with van' coming to shift furniture and bulky items on Tuesday.
So that's one chapter finishing and another about to start. As I am going to have a busy (but hopefully not exciting) week and as I am going to have to be packing my shit away I will probably not be posting here for a week or more. Time to get cracking...
This week I have been mostly re-reading: 59 Seconds By Richard Wiseman Current Mood: busy
|Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018|
|NCIS Binge Update
Back in March I wrote an entry about starting to watch series 15 of NCIS with the missus while also watching all of the previous series by myself to catch up on the back story. I recently found that I had watched ALL of the episodes from all of the first 14 series in less time that it has taken to complete series 15 which is only showing one episod per week. This isn't an achievement I am boasting about (my life is so sad that if I had free access to these on dvd I could maybe have done the same thing in half the time). I was limited to just the episodes they show on TV at any given time but still managed to watch all 14 previous series in less time than it took to broadcast series 15. How many episodes of NCIS are being shown on any given day?!
The good thing is that I am now full to the brim with that show. I will have a different cable package when I move in with the missus in a couple of weeks but if that means I will never see another episode of the show it's not likely to make me sad. Enough NCIS for now, thank you. Current Mood: awake
|Monday, May 21st, 2018|
On the list of things I couldn't give a shit about somewhere near the middle is a royal wedding. The saturation coverage has driven me to distraction this past week, especially the levels of sycophancy scraped up by the BBC. The combination of this saturation and sycophancy turned particularly toxic as 'the big day' (when a ginger married an actress) approached. Not only did the BBC create the impression that this was the only news item worth reporting but any and every conceivable angle of any other story was dragged up for examination as to how this would affect the wedding. On Saturday morning when I was getting ready for work (and attempting to watch the news) the coverage was so appalling that I switched my tv to the one channel I thought would provide a haven, Sky Sports News. This was an F.A.Cup Final day after all, even listening to semi-literate sports journalists speculate about something they can't possibly predict would still be an improvement. Within minutes of me changing the channel the prsenter chirps up with his announcement that today is also a royal wedding day and given that there is lots of horse racing today, here is a list of horses names that have flimsy tangential connections to things that might relate to royalty or weddings..!
It was really fucking painful. Still, its all over now and I can console myself that the next major royal events are likely to be funerals.
This week I have been mostly re-reading: The Catcher In The Rye by J.D.Salinger Current Mood: grumpy
|Sunday, May 13th, 2018|
I was stood at the bus stop opposite my flat the other day and I spotted the woman who I tried to help a few weeks ago - the one who was outside screaming about being raped. Her state of mind that night indicated drug/alcohol/mental health issues and she was totally resistant to accepting any support from the police - none of which is ny indicator or whether or not she was actually raped.
When I saw her this second time she was staggering off a bus at the early side of 8am arm in arm with an equally shabbily dressed man who was swigging from a can of lager. Again, none of this actually detracts from her claim that night that she had been raped, she might well have been but given the circumstance I doubt that she would have been taken entirely seriously by either the police or the courts. A girl that I had gone to college with in my home town had been raped by two guys who burgled her flat. The police actually advised her to accept a deal where her attackers pleaded guilty to a lesser charge because "as she wears short skirts the courts might decide that she had somehow provoked the assaults." Even under normal circumstances this would be outrageous nonsense but from a burglary?!
I digress. I watched the woman pass me by. I recognized her but she did not but she did not recognize me. I thought about whether to speak to her but the moment passed quickly and she was gone. I have thought a lot about her since then. I have no way of knowing for sure what happened to her that night but I have little reason to doubt that she was raped. Whether she was or not she seemed to me to be incredibly vulnerable. Mental health issues or not her choice of lifestyle (how much of it is her choice?) is putting her into some horrible situations and I don't know if anyone is truly looking out for her. It's a very sad stat of affairs. 'Unfortunate' was the word which sprang to mind, it was only on later reflection that I remembered that that is a word the Victorians sometimes used to describe people who were similarly on the bottom of the heap. I'm not sure how I feel about that but it isn't good. I don't know how to help the girl even if I saw her again. Maybe I just can't but I do not want to think that. Current Mood: quixotic
|Saturday, May 12th, 2018|
|Shaken Not Stirred
On my day off this week I found myself in the unusual position of being out and about early in the morning but travelling into town rather than work. Sat on the bus in the pre-9am sunshine I realized that this is what life must be like for those people (usually pensioners) who wake up early every day and get all of their days business done be 11am. Once I had that thought I started to feel pretty old myself. Crossing over the threshold of my local Argos store at about 9.01am compounded the sensation.
It was only when I made my purchase (the mundanity of buying extension leads not lifting my mood) and made my way from the till to the collection point that I saw that my receipt number was '007' which perked me right up. I wasn't a pensioner after all - I was James bloody Bond! I spent most of the rest of the morning amusing myself piss-poor Sean Connery impressions. Its a funny old world. Is this why pensioners get up early every day?
This week I Have Been Mostly Re-reading: Bloody Foreigners - The Story Of Immigration To Britain by Robert Winder Current Mood: amused
|Monday, May 7th, 2018|
The moving preparations have picked up the pace over the weekend. I have been quietly sorting through stuff and chucking things out (to friends, work, charity shops or rubbish as appropriate) since New Year but I have gone from shifting on average one big bag per week to shifting about one big bag per day. I also ferried a car load of stuff over the the new place on Friday. Previously I had left nothing more than toiletries at the missus' place, but now some of my stuff is there it's official - I'm moving in! Current Mood: awake
|Sunday, May 6th, 2018|
|Muppet Show Rug
For my Sixth birthday one of my sisters made for me a Muppet Show Rug. I cant put a name on the craft technique she used but the woolen rug has been something of a part of my life ever since - special not because it was the Muppet Show (which was a much bigger deal to me aged six than now) but because I remember how much work my sister put into making it, barely sleeping for the last few days before my birthday so that it would be ready on time.
I left it at my mother's house when I went to Uni and it remained in my old bedroom until Christmas last year When I eventually got around to picking it up. It was then I really saw how utterly grubby this rug has become. It's nearly 40 years old an it has never been washed (we dare not machine wash it and sending things to be dry cleaned is far too decadent for my family - it just would not have ever occurred to us).
Luckily it has now occurred to me. I've been planning to take it to get cleaned since I liberated it from my mother's house at Christmas. It wasn't until I was stood at my local dry cleaners on Friday that I realized I had never been in one of these places before* having never previously having the need or inclination.
* I say never, I did go in one previously for work when I was supporting a service user who was having something dry-cleaned, but never for myself.
It didn't even strike me as weird until I entered the shop and then realized that I now have to form a coherent sentence where I ask a stranger if he could possibly clean my hand-made woolen Muppet Show rug, without sounding like an idiot or a psycho. I think I just about pulled it off. I get to go and collect the rug at the weekend. First time for everything I suppose.
This week I have been mostly re-reading: Last Exit To Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr Current Mood: awake
|Friday, May 4th, 2018|
|The Four Week Countdown
Four Weeks from today my tenancy will have officially moved out of my flat in Harrow and in with The Missus in Ealing. How did I spend the evening? I met The Missus after work and we went to Ikea to buynew shelves for the flat.
I have nothing against Ikea furniture but I hate the store with a passion. It is purposely designed to suck you in and make you wander directionless among the acres of shite I can't imagine ever wanting, much less needing. Rarely have I been to a store more designed to shrink and shrivel whatever it is that passes for my soul.
After we shopped we went for dinner in the Ikea restaurant. I had heard that their meatballs were supposed to be brilliant - even like minded people that I know who also hate Ikea take solace from the wonderful Swedish meatballs available at the store - they come recommended as the one thing that makes a visit to Ikea bearable.
The run of the mill shit I was served could just as easily have come out of a tin. It was not horrible but there was nothing nice about it either. I found myself developing a resentment of Swedish people that bordered on irrational hatred - until I realised that there was nothing irrational about it. If they are prepared to perpetuate cultural crimes like this against us then they deserve pretty much whatever nastiness comes their way, the bastards.
Now that I have seen the light I can only hope that my newly forged contempt for Swedes in general does not contaminate my views on the near namesake vegetable (Suede) of which I currently remain quite fond. On tonights experience it might be a close run thing! Current Mood: awake