Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Right, That's It

I can't be bothered blogging on here any more. I leave you with the following joke from a Penguin wrapper:

Which bird is always out of breath?
A Puffin

*bows, exits stage left*

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Emails From Tanzania & The Beginning Of The End For Bomba News

I've copy-and-pasted them all into this blog. So this blog now looks as though it stretches back to February 2004, wheareas in reality February to July 2004 are really emails I sent to all my friends.

All a bit of a pointless exercise really - I doubt anyone is going to trawl through them all, but it's nice for me to have them all in one place, and I think I'm going to wrap this blog up soon so I quite fancy having all my Tanzanian experiences completed in their online incarnation before I get a life again.

There's a few reasons I want to kill this blog off - the original reasons for making it are long gone, for a start. It also tends to dominate a bit and at times I miss out on doing real things because I've begun to think "I must blog what I've been doing the last few days." It's not always very healthy.

The final reason is that I'm starting a teaching course in a couple of months - I'll have loads of work as it is, and there's all sorts of potential conflicts between teaching children and blogging. If I did carry on blogging it would have to either be a really half-arsed effort or anonymous.

There may still be the odd Evil Flea cartoon though.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Milkybars Are On Me!

I received two good pieces of news in the post yesterday. Firstly, for my PGCE school placements next year, I shall spend the spring term in an independent school (how the hell did I manage that?) and in the summer term the placements is pretty unsurprising. The best thing is that I shall not have to find somewhere new to stay at any point next year.

The second good piece of news is that I have won over 850,000 euros in the International Draw of the Spanish Lottery! Woo-hoo! I'm rich! I'M RICH BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS! It's currently being held by Euro Security Company S.L. and they will take 10% of the winnings, but that still leaves me with over a quarter of a million. Now, I'm not strictly supposed to tell anyone I've one, but if it's just between you and me, then...

...oh, hang on. Oh shit! It's not me who's won! There's been some kind of mistake. I thought it was odd that I won something I never entered. I've just looked at the envelope again and it was addressed to some chap whose surname is HACHARD, not Hatchard. Oh no, this poor chap has won all this money and he'll never know.

Wait, hang on, if you know anyone by the name of PHILIP HACHARD, please get in touch with him and point him in this direction. I'll put the letter up here so he can download it and print it himself, and make the claim. It's funny actually, the crest in the top left hand corner of the letter looks all fuzzy and distorted, almost as if it were some kind of fake. But it can't be, clearly. I mean, who would play a cruel trick like that?

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Friday, July 22, 2005

How inept are Hospitality Services?

Very, I would say.

In a vague attempt to maintain some form of anonimity for those involved, I shall replace such person's names with letters of the alphabet.

Yesterday, I bumped into Person A in the car park of the School of X, where I now work (ever since May this year). She works for the School of Y, where I used to work, before I went to Tanzania. So, I worked there from October 2003 to January 2004. Some time ago. She told me that she had something for me on her desk.

After returning to this country, I got myself a job working in Hospitality Services, whose name I can't be bothered changing because everybody knows they're rubbish anyway. I worked there from October until December 2004. Whilst there, I sat next to Person B under the managership of Person C.

I was well aware at the time that Person B was retiring at the end of April. I knew her well, as I sat next to her for some time. Person C was well aware that I sat next to Person B and knew she was retiring.

So, this lunchtime, I finally caught up with Person A and retrieved the item to which she had referred. It turned out to be a letter, from Hospitality Services. They shouldn't possible have thought that I still worked in the School of Y, as since leaving them, I had worked for Hospitality Services.

The letter was dated 8th April, and explained that Person B was retiring at the end of April, of which I was clearly already aware. Rather silly, but moderately understandable if the person who actually sent the letter didn't know me. I looked again. The letter was signed by Person C.

THIS IS WHY I LEFT HOSPITALITY SERVICES. AS A WHOLE, THE DEPARTMENT IS UTTERLY INEPT.

They can't get any catering booking right, and I wouldn't feed their food to my cat, if I had one. And they will never improve because the University blocks any attempt of any external catering company to compete with them. No one is allowed to book anyone else on campus, for "insurance reasons". Despite the fact any other company should be covered by their own insurance.

The Friday Round-Up

A lot's happened this week (8 days). Here's ten.
  1. Last Thursday I ended up running the first leg in the A team and second leg in the B team at the Tavy Relays as Sean didn't turn up. So we have a pretty average team overall, and I had barely run for nigh on four months. A very nice surprise then when not only did we come third and win a prize, but I was the second fastest in the team. Closest I've ever come to throwing up though.
  2. Friday I had a lovely lunch out with Jenny and Grandpa in Shaldon, and then we had the pleasure of watching a small child on the beach wage war with some kind of invisible sea monster using only his plastic spade. High octane stuff.
  3. Saturday/Sunday was Join Me in Brighton. Felt pretty rotten but had a great time, and was nice to finally meet lots more joinees.
  4. Another highlight was the Jamins' picnic prowess.
  5. And buying an ice cream from and then chatting with a lovely Czech lady named Lucy. Decided not to bother getting her number - she's quite some way away anyway, and only around for four months.
  6. Sunday brought back many a happy memory of going into Iringa when I was in Tanzania. I felt horrible, and treated that by having a fry up in a caff and buying a milkshake. Mint humbug milkshake, no less.
  7. On Wednesday at rehearsals I didn't take my script onto the stage with me. Woohoo! I'm getting there. Only three and a half weeks to go.
  8. Yesterday a lovely girl called Andrea "replied all" to an email about our course, so I'm now in contact with her and another bloke called Adam. Andrea seems to be another Africa-head, which is always good - she sounds very interested in getting involved in the Hoja Project, which is always even better. (Can't resist getting another link to it in there!)
  9. Last night I gave blood, and have been eating ever since. It really isn't all that pleasant when you're in a state of near-perpetual exhaustion. I came into work an hour late this morning because I was determined to have a big breakfast and make myself a decent sized lunch, without having to get up early.
  10. I've decided to ease off on the Internet, particularly at work. Plus I seem to be making a few more friends in the local area, so I will actually be able to have a life other than that on-line.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I only do it for the free tea & biscuits

Just given blood. Let's just say it wasn't as straightforward as the other time I gave blood. For a start I had to answer "yes" to some of the questions, because I've been to Africa. They then had to grill me about the "unexplained fevers" that I'd had when out there.

Then I suddenly remembered that I'd also been to Morocco, so that sparked another, albeit briefer, round of questions.

Then when I went and sat on the bed they realised the barcode was the wrong colour - I should have had a "regular donor" barcode, not a "returning donor" barcode, because I last gave blood less than two years ago.

Then when they stuck the needle in it hurt a bit, so they had to rearrange it a bit so that it felt merely very uncomfortable.

When it finished the nurse checked I didn't feel faint, and then pulled the needle out. It was at this point that I started to feel a bit odd. Thirty seconds later I had to say to her, "Erm, now I feel faint."

She immediately sprang into action.

"CAN WE HAVE A WEDGE PLEASE?!"

Suddenly the head of the bed is dropped down, my legs are lifted up and some wedge-shaped piece of blue gym apparatus is stuck under them. It was fantastic - so exciting. Unfortunately I also felt like utter shit. The last time I felt like that was when I had two teeth pulled out as a 13 year-old and then looked at them. That time I didn't get given a leaflet entitled "Feeling Faint" though.

And I got a sticker saying "Be Nice To Me, I Gave Blood Today", which I am now proudly flaunting in front of, well, no one because I'm the only person here.

But I know what you're thinking, so I'll put you out of your misery. Tea and ginger sponge. Yes, ginger sponge - at Riverside Christian Centre you don't just get biscuits, you get a choice! Biscuits, crisps or cake.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Join Me in Brighton - IN GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOUR!

Had a great time with Join Me, the benign cult, in Brighton this weekend. Dressed as a pirate (Yarr!!)

These first three photos are our team working hard on our scavenger hunt. On, erm, the carousel. Unfortunately we didn't win, despite being the last team to return, by some margin. Apparently finding Linford Christie in a shoe shop a bloody mile from the seafront doesn't earn you any points. A disgrace. The first photo was a bit dark originally, so have cunningly spiced it up on Photoshop.

Non-Joinee John, Joinee MacLaughlin and Joinee (Elliott) Biddle across the front.
Then a clean-shaven Jesus employing Divine Product Placement.
*My, My, Myyyy Delilah...*

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Tim with Tiny Tim (or whatever name Tim opted for), his prize for winning the Best Dressed Pirate competition. Someone suggested he steal bits of other people's costumes and dress as much like the doll as possible. That's my hat! *puffs chest out proudly*
Then there's Biddle in not the rudest photo I took of him. With an inflatable parrot down his shorts.

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Rachel with a Pirate Panata, which we never got around to beating with a stick.
The Join Me Jolly Roger, which Mrs Jamin made herself, the veritable Blue-Peter-presenter-to-be that she surely is.
Tiny Tim and Pirate Panata having a nice chat.

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Jesus being nailed with a small nail and, erm, a plastic spoon.

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The small child who benefitted from the inflatable shark I took along and gave away. I approached the adults in the family and asked them if they wanted it. "No," they said, "but the kids might like it." Hmm, that was the idea. Approaching the kids directly seemed like a risky strategy though.

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Some beach photos: Bing with the diablo; Jamin; Andy and Mum White

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A group shot (yes, I'm getting lazy with my descriptions now).

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Bing being well'ard and smashing her mineral water receptacle on her head.

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Sunset as seen from the pier. By 'eck it's gorgeous.

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Mrs J, Phillips and Jackson at the Dolphin Derby.
"Max and Paddy" celebrating success (Phillips didn't win).

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Jamin trampolining.

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Some action shots from the Waltzer. The most painful Waltzer in the galaxy, in fact. That's Kneller's brother looking rather upset by the whole experience.

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Mrs J and, erm, well I think I've done well to get this far and remember names. So ner.

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Another shot of the shore at night.

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Carousel photos, including some ghostly figures.

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Some night-time glow-poi, and a very artistic shot before camping out on the beach.

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Sunday morning. Note the contrast between the states of consciousness of Biddle and Fowler. Very clever photography, that.

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Biddle refueling from the giant water bottles, and Biddle and Jesus.

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Shiny and John in the morning. Note the damn scurvy dog searching for gold bullion in the background. Yarr!!

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Biddle rolling down the beach for no apparent reason.
Biddle trying to catch a frisbee.
Biddle trying to throw a frisbee to John.

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Shakeaway, and their godly menuboard, which allows for just about any milkshake ingredient you can think of. I had a mint humbug milkshake. Darn-tootin' nice, if I may say so.

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Jesus: "I think I might have to have just one more drink," before returning from the bar with this. He repeated this mantra many times on Sunday, eventually missing his train and staying in Brighton one more night.

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Westy and Bing.

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And last and no doubt least, The Eye Of Biddle.

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