Sorry this is late – I’ve been away for the weekend so a bit behind in updates. Still better late than never eh?
This Monday in January is supposed to be one of the dullest days of the year – and I’ll admit that it wasn’t my best. The morning went ok with getting into work and then getting on with calls – I was covering Remote Working faults this week which isn’t my favourite of shifts, but it seemed to be going well. Towards the end of the morning I had my end of year appraisal with my line manager which once again seemed to go ok – I’ve met all of my targets apparently which is a good thing, and now it’s looking to get targets setup for the next year. I came back from this and it was straight out to lunch with Chris and John. This was a short trip, quickly walking to the local Tesco, grabbing some rolls to go with my soup and heading back to the office for a portion of Tomato and Basil soup. It was bit more lumpy than the Heinz stuff I normally go for but was still nice at the end of the day. I then had a quiet afternoon getting to work on a colleague’s laptop that wasn’t connecting wirelessly correctly and resetting a couple of passwords for customers. I also managed to make a complete plonker out of myself by arranging a cinema trip for a film that wasn’t showing that day so got it all sorted then had to go around and unsort it again. Nice to feel organised though got things sorted for a different film which worked out slightly easier due to a later start time. However as I headed home at the end of the day I just felt more and more tired and more and more out of it so in the end when another person dropped out of the cinema trip as they couldn’t make the time it seemed a better idea to call if off and to go home and rest for a bit instead. I got myself home and found that I had a wedding invitation from Dan and Ali waiting on the door mat. This was addressed to myself, a guest and Wall-E which gave me a good laugh which I really needed! I got myself changed and chilled watching some TV, making some roasted potatoes and Chicken Kievs for tea. After tea I used the invitation to make a fun photo for the day (you can see it here) and then headed upstairs and to bed.
Tuesday wasn’t a great day at all – I got in the office to find my phone ringing with a customer needing assistance. What should’ve been a 10-15 minute uninstall and reinstall of some software developed in a morning of horror as the Anti-Virus software I had to remove refused to reinstall itself correctly. In the end I caved in, dived over to the customer’s office which is just round the corner from ours, collected the laptop and brought it back before wiping and rebuilding the device. Of course this then took extra time with the customer breathing down my neck as they (understandably) needed to the laptop to be able to go and work. Due to the stress of sorting out this whilst trying to manage my other calls I ended up having a quiet lunch just eating my soup and reading a magazine for a bit – though there was still time to wind up my colleague Alex who was showing off his new iPad by showing that my magazine had similar zoom features (by moving it closer to my eyes) and a much better resolution which provided a bit of light after the morning from hell. After lunch I got back on in the office really managing to push through and get a lot done – I practically wiped my queue either with fixing the problem or the customer being out of the office meaning it was impossible to contact them. Somehow I still ended up delayed in the office till half 4 – partially as we were sitting around discussing ways of getting more out of your petrol, and tyre pressures and the like which was actually a very interesting discussion but kept me a bit later than I had planned to be. I legged it out and got the bus with Chris before having a chill watching some TV and getting some pasta for dinner. Michael then came over and grabbed me whilst I was taking the Project 365 photo (up here – I think this was a particularly good one) and then we headed over to the gym. It was a good workout though I must admit by the swim at the end I felt that I was flagging somewhat – really felt I hit the wall on my 15th length, but somehow pulled through to my normal 30. Still it’s showing it’s own rewards as when I weighed myself I was down in weight again – this is a good thing and I’m glad to see that it’s going down. Michael then dropped me home and I had a quick attempt to take a photo of the moon – it was fantastically clear but didn’t really work out – I obviously need to get a better grip of the settings on my camera – still the photos I took should be able to be repurposed for another job I needed. After taking these I went in and went to bed.
Wednesday was a long strange day at work – it seemed to alternate between being either really busy or really quiet – still I was lucky as things weren’t as bad as the day before had been. I had a good morning working through getting calls sorted out as required, and then headed out for lunch with Chris W and John – in a break with tradition we decided to go for a KFC for lunch so I popped the soup I had brought in with me back into my bag to take home and have that evening. It was a nice chilled lunch as we discussed various advances in computer gaming technology and games that are coming in the future. We then headed back for a bit of sit down in the rest area at the office before another afternoon of work. This was a really bad afternoon for me as at times I felt that I could’ve just fallen asleep at my desk – fortunately a cup of a tea and apple seemed to pick me up a bit and get the brain cells functioning but it was very close at one point! I got the bus back to the car park with Chris S and there was a really gorgeous Moon rise going on over the hills which looked totally amazing, so I raced home to see if I could get any photos of it. My last attempt at taking photos of the moon hadn’t worked out too well but I used this to have a look into how to take these style of photos and hopefully improve somewhat. The photos I got were a lot better – for a start they looked like the moon and not just someone shining a torch in a dark field but I need to get a better zoom lens as at the moment it still looks like a glowy blob in the middle of the photo. Still it’s certainly looking a lot better and I know the settings I need to use for this. It also gave me an idea for that days Project 365 photo though I didn’t have a chance to really do anything with that as Michael came and grabbed me to go to the cinema. We went to see The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader – you can find my thoughts here and then headed back where I did a quick tidy round the house as people were coming back to mine on Thursday after work. I then popped outside and took the Project 365 photo for the day (you can find it here) before heading back in and to bed.
Thursday was a rather chilled day at work – the afternoon seemed to drag a bit more, but I felt that I managed to get quite a bit done, even sticking around a good time after to get some bits finished (partially thanks to Chris S) being on a later shift than I was and I was giving him a lift back up the hill to my house for a bit. Well we eventually got out of the office and headed back to mine along with Luke. When we got back we met with John and Michael who kindly called in at the chip shop on his way over and picked up some dinner for the rest of us as well. We had a good dinner and a nice chat about various games and films etc, before heading back into town to go and see Shaun’s band Left Of The Right Side play. They were taking part in a showcase of bands for a record company called Tin Robot records (though aren’t actually signed with them – they were invited as special guests). After a bit of a race down into Maidstone (we went in two cars) which provided some mild amusement we walked through the high street which was strangely quiet as we’re used to seeing it full of people on weekday lunchtimes. At the bar we got settled and had a bit of a chat with Shaun before the first band played – they were called Please Go Away and surprisingly did an acoustic set – though I think that this is partially down to half the group not being able to make it. Still I wouldn’t say that it was my kind of thing it was a different way to warm up for the evening. Please Go Away were followed up with Left Of The Right Side who were much more enjoyable coming in and giving an energising show (with me wandering around taking photos in my role of Official Unofficial photographer – I got a few… Well 1025…) and I think the guys who hadn’t seen them before seemed to enjoy themselves. After Left Of The Right Side was a band called As Worlds Collide who were also a really good fun loud energetic act – they were giving out copies of their album so I’ve picked up a copy to have a listen too later. These were finally followed by Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants – they were also good though slightly less energetic than the previous acts. Sadly it was getting a bit late for us so we had to disappear halfway through their act to head home. Once home I downloaded the photos off the camera to ensure that these were backed up and headed to bed.
Friday felt a really early start after the later night before – if I’m honest my ears were still ringing following the concert the night before. Still I got up and to work where I basically spent the morning uninstalling and reinstalling software on different devices (we’ve had an AV update which breaks out Remote Access software meaning that both have to be removed and reinstalled which takes about half an hour…). Still I was able to bash through these all quite quickly and as I had some leave to use up had a half day meaning I could go home come lunchtime. The plan had been to travel up to Colchester that afternoon but this was forced to be changed as no-one was really around. So I spent the afternoon sorting out the photos I’d taken the night before at Shaun’s Gig – pulling 1025 photos down to about 50 good photos. This took most the afternoon and I got through a couple of different podcasts and audio dramas whilst doing this still it got it done (though I must admit I didn’t really want to see Shaun’s face for a while after I’d finished!). When I finished off the photos I headed downstairs and re-wired up the PS2 to play a bit of Final Fantasy 10 which we’ve been talking about so much I’ve been wanting to re-play it. It’s scary – I’m about an hour in and still haven’t really encountered any of the main characters or the story – shows what a big game it is! After a bit of gaming I made some dinner (once I’d figured out which hob to use) and then headed out to meet Claire in the village to go and see the local pantomime – I’ve not missed one of these in at least 20 years and this was the 30th Anniversary special. The show was good though I didn’t find it perfect – a couple of the song choices seemed a bit strange for the show – though It still had some fantastic ideas and was put together well – ensuring that the audience got a good laugh with some very clever wry nods to the audience breaking the fourth wall as well. After the show was finished I dropped Claire back at her house (being a gentleman I wouldn’t allow her to walk home) and headed back to mine where I watched a bit of TV and then headed upstairs to bed.
Saturday was a good early start so I get up and packed ready to go for when Michael arrived at 9 to head to the Gym. We had a good workout together – you can really feel the gym taking it’s effect and I think that weight is visually going down – there’s still a long way to go though… We skipped the pool and he kindly drove me down to the station where I was able to pretty much straight away hop onto the high-speed train up to Stratford. This was a good journey though unfortunately on arriving at Stratford my PSP battery died (and with it a large amount of my on train entertainment – I was playing a very large amount of Half Minute Hero on it – a great game which I should write about soon). Still I had some stuff to listen to so contented myself with sitting there looking out of the window watching the countryside fly by (and partially trying to figure out where we were as I kept missing stations). On arriving in Colchester I walked up to Toms (I was really happy about this, he lives up a hill and as I arrived on his doorstep with barely a sweat – a couple of months ago I’d have been lieing on the ground dieing as he opened the front door…), dumped my bag and headed off to Colchester Winter Beer Festival. This was a really nice time as Phill, Dan, Ali, Phil and Cliff all joined us throughout the afternoon and we enjoyed several good beers – more thoughts on these can be found here. As is traditional with Beer Festivals we also had a couple of Hog Roasts – I really don’t know how they make it taste so good/get the crackling so perfect! When the festival got a bit too busy for comfort we headed through town to the Ashiana for a tasty curry (I decided to try something a bit different so went with a Bhuna instead of my normal Madras – it was tasty though I think I still prefer my currys to be slightly spicier), where Laura joined us and we then headed up to the Odd One Out for a couple more pints before heading back to Toms and chilling for a bit more of the evening. All in all a nice relaxing way to spend a Saturday with good food, good drink and good friends (with some fun photos to go with it all as well).
Sunday had a bit of a lazy start following the fun night before. I helped Tom tidy up the flat and had a big discussion with Dan, Ali, and Laura about Sci-Fi, and films, and where the book is better than the film and vice versa – this would good though at times we appeared to be coming at the same idea for two different points of view which made it stranger. Dan and Ali then had to go and sort some wedding suits so Tom, Laura and myself walked down to Aldi to pick up some foodstuffs for lunch – which was very strange as it was like going to a different country! Still the range was good and we got some nice tapas-y type foods. We headed back to Toms, and then chopped up the veg and put it together to make a range of foods including Spanish omelette and a chicken in a white sauce. Dan and Ali got back just as we were ready to serve up and we had a nice lunch together before me and Dan tackled the washing up to give Tom a bit of a break. Dan then kindly drove me round to the Phil(l)s (he also had to go and collect some trousers he had left with them) and we sat down for a cup of tea. We had a nice little catch up seeing how each other was doing, and then headed out to Fordham church for their 6 pm service – this was a really nice little service, with a good sermon that made some very good challenging points – I mean to touch on these in another post which will be appearing later this week hopefully. After the service they also had some food which was very nice and we then headed back to the Phil(l)s house stopping to grab some milk on the way. Once back we made a cup of tea and settled down to watch Speedracer (one of my favourite films) which the Phil(l)s had never seen – I need to write more about this as well but as usual the film got me to the edge of my seat and at points forgetting to breathe I was so excited – always good to see in a film! We then watched the first episode of the new series of Top Gear with a mug of hot chocolate – a nice way to spend the evening. Unfortunately it was getting late at this point so off to bed I went.
And that is the week that was.