Scribbler's Laid A Big Juicy Log

Curing insomnia since November 2000
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This blog has been following the ups and downs of my life since November 4th 2000. Amazingly, it's still going.

Archive for the ‘Days Out’

Ordered a season ticket for the doctors…

After my shock news about being diabetic exactly a week ago tonight, I can confirm that I’m actually no further forward with the diagnosis. Flashback to last Friday, exactly 7 days ago to the minute, I’m sat at home, holding a box of tablets, with instructions that may have been written in Swahili. I wasn’t sure of their purpose, but obviously, Mr. Doctor at the “One Life Centre” knows best…

Saturday was a day that had been planned for a while, long before I’d got the shitty news, me and Jamie S were going to go to Birmingham. This didn’t happen, however, as Jamie S pointed out… “Just leave Birmingham for this week. Your gunna have the epicest of shitty ons either way :p just go somewhere totally random and localish tomorrow”

Randomish and local were indeed the order of the day, so we ended up in… erm, Blackpool. Not exactly local, but certainly randomish. The journey was dominated by one thing… rain, and lots of it. It seemed like the only time it stopped was when we were at the M6 service station. I can’t remember the name of it, but it’s got a huge lake out of the back of it, and it’s not Tebay.


I requested we stop there, because it was the only place I knew of that sold the sublime Ginster’s Spicy sausage roll. At £2.45, they weren’t cheap, but they were ludicrously delicious. I had to watch what I was eating after all, and considering I was “on tablets”, I had to watch my sugar levels. This was also my first, and last experience with diet Cherry coke. I believe it to be Satan’s urine. Truly awful.

We made it to Blackpool, and first stop was the hotel that Jamie S stayed in for a week a few years ago. I have no idea why we went down this way, but he took a photo of it. See, I told him, everything needs a photo. Next stop was the candy rock shop where you can actually see it being made. Yeah, a great stop for a “diabetic”. I could have dived head-first into the Aniseed rock, but I was a good boy, and stayed off the sugar for the entire day.

Jamie had always wanted to see Madame Tussauds, so we had a walk along to see how much it was. I think it was something like £15. By this time, it was mid-afternoon, and they closed at 5, so we said we’d go back if we had time. These tablets were burning a hole in my pocket, and I knew what food had to be consumed before I could take them, therefore I googled the nearest Nando’s. Turns out it was just about 100 yards away from where I was stood. Bonus.

Chicken was consumed, and tablet was taken. Me, being the pessimist, I waited for the side effects to kick in. Thankfully, they didn’t, and despite getting ever so slightly soaked, the rest of the day was spent looking around the shops, and oddly, I came away with no CDs, yet Jamie came away with several. Highly unusual. We made a slight detour up the M6 to Penrith, where we stopped and devoured a KFC.

Sunday came, and although we’d vowed to have a nice, relaxing day doing our own thing, within minutes, Jamie was on the phone, asking if I fancied going to Newcastle? Well, do wild members of the ursine family of mammals defaecate in large forest-like areas? Oddly, I felt shitty. I don’t know whether it was these wanky tablets doing stuff to me, or whether something else was going amiss. I felt better after a Maccy D’s (Yeah, that’s right, three fast food places in two days. Living the unsweetened dream). Unfortunately, it was tablet time again, but, once again the side effects stayed away. While Jamie devoured a twirl and a can of red bull, I had to make do with a bag of shitty apple chunks from Boots, and a bottle of water. Sigh. This time, I came away with a couple of CDs and records – I’d raided the charity shops. I haven’t played them yet, as my record player is disconnected.

Back to work on Monday, now unfortunately, it’s been a little quiet at my new employment place, so there’s not much data needing entering, therefore I was handed a paintbrush and a set of overalls – 4 of us were told to paint the kitchen and a few other places. Let me just say that I will NOT be offering my services as a painter / decorator any time soon. It was different, but it’s another thing I can add onto the pile of things I’m completely shit at.

This only lasted for a few hours, as I had to make an appointment at the doctors for some time on Monday, to see if I can find out just what the hell was going on. I went in, and showed the doctor the metformin tablets I’d been put on. She looked at me as if I’d stood in shit. “Who gave you these?”, she asked, in a manner suggesting that I’d “found them” on the “street corner”. I explained the whole of Friday’s shennangans, and she took them straight off me. I actually didn’t need them at all. Or at least, not yet anyway. Instead, she made two appointments. One for today (Friday), to get another blood test taken after 12 hours fasting, and another one in a few days. She also told me the one thing I’d been expecting to hear the whole time… stop drinking! Therefore, I’m officially off the sauce for three whole months. I can also see these three months being the hardest ones of my life, and not for any of the reasons I’ve documented here, or are likely to any time soon..

I don’t know where to start.

Right now, at this very second, things aren;t going exactly right for me. I’m not in one of my “oh, let’s ramble on about loads of stuff” moods, as it would appear that I’m diabetic. I’m still in that stage where they don’t quite know, and are putting me on a course of tablets (Metformin) to see what occurs. Part of me is shitting bricks over it, another part is “Well, fuck it. I’ll just live on bananas and “No added sugar” orange juice from now on. Another is thinking I only have myself to blame for excessive alcohol consumption, and another is thinking it was hereditary (my nanna was diabetic). Either way, my mind is going around in circles. I found out the possibility of the afore-mentioned disease just after I started my new job. A urine test showed high levels of glucose, and they referred me to my GP. Two weeks passed, as I couldn’t get down to see them due to work commitments.

I went in there, had a blood test (my first ever one, by the way, yay) and by 8PM, (19:40 to be exact), they arranged an urgent appointment to go down to the One Life centre and get it checked out. So, as the final whistle blew in England’s world cup game, I was pacing around the waiting room wondering what was going on.

As I say, I’ve been given these tablets, and I’m supposed to have them with a meal My head is just going around in circles. I don’t know what to think. I’ll find out more on Monday. Sell your shares in Carling, folks… this fucker’s off the drink!

Still ,it’s not the main reason I’ve been quiet on here, it’s just that I’ve been incredibly busy again. All of the times I’ve not been at work, I’ve been out and about. I went to Hull the other week, and I can’t say I was a fan. especially when it came to their branch of Cash Convertors. I’ve mentioned it many times, but I’m a music hoarder, and a new, unexplored branch of the afore-mentioned store always fills me with an incessant moment of glee, as I never know what treasures may be lurking on their heavily packed shelves. Take the one in Newcastle, for example. I’m a regular customer there, much to Jamie S’s dismay, as while I’m sorting through shelves of plastic wonderment at the price of 25p per CD, he’s farting about (quite literally), looking at the guitars and amps which he’ll never buy. Sometimes, there’ll be a comment about wanting to get home before he expires. this isn’t always a wise move on his behalf, as it “puts me out of my place” and I have to restart, making the time I spend in there 10 minutes longer.

the only time I’ve spent less than half an hour in there was the time I ate a pasty, knowing that, for some reason, buying pastry from only certain branches of a well-known high street bakery store, has the uncanny knack of doing the conga down my colon rather quickly.

Er, anyway, back to Hull’s Cash Converters. the CDs weren’t 25p, they were in the region of £3.99, and there were only about 50 of them. Gah, instant disappointment. I walked out empty handed. I think that was the only shop we went in that actually sold CDs.

while in Hull, we also attended “the Deep”, which is basically their version of Seaworld. It’s only the 2nd time I’ve been to an aquarium. The only other time was in Berlin, back in 2007ish. “The Deep” is bigger and better, if you’re 6 years old. If you’re an adult who just wants to take photos of some fishies, the £10.50 price tag might put you off (though, they are a charity), and it took us about an hour to look around.


the biggest laugh of the day came just as we were exiting. thankfully, there’s no “exit through ye olde gift shoppe (which is called… wait for it… “The Deepartment Store”). Instead, it’s on your left, and on your right is the cafe, selling… wait for it again….

An aquarium... and fish is on the menu

Jamie S once said, “does everything need a photo?” Yes, yes it does. I also, apparently “take pleasure in such stupid things”. Maybe so, but the thought of this plaice selling fish tickled me somewhat. Maybe this is how they get rid of their least popular attractions?
Admittedly, I was tempted by the chicken curry, but not at that price… that would come later in the day.

After a quick look around the shopping centre, we headed off home. I was a bit gutted I never got the chance to photograph the Humber bridge, but my disappointment was soon cancelled out by a visit to an Indian restaurant. I guess you’re surprised at that. Jamie S was the one that actually came up with the idea, as he used to visit Hull quite often, passed the place, but never attended. It’s in a village so small, even Daddykins hadn’t heard ot it. The village, that is. Not the indian.

A week of work flew over (literally, two and a half days), and the next trip was to Newcastle. This one was slightly different, as instead of the usual sights, we visited the Hancock museum No wonder the dinosaurs died out. they’re all in there, or at least their skellingtons are. I didn’t actually take my camera to this one, much to the delight of Mr. S. It does make this part of the blog pretty featureless though.

Leeds was next, another one of our regular stomping grounds. It was meant to be Sheffield, but we… erm, missed. Normally, when attempting Leeds, we park the car in East Garforth, a suburb just on the outside, and get the train to Leeds. this time, we risked the one-way system, and paid the car park prices. THIS TIME, thanks to That’s Entertainment, I managed to pick up some CDs. I’d love to tell you what they were, but I’ve lost them. they’re on my desk somewhere, and there’s about 20 of them. I just can’t find them. I really think it’s about time I tidied it more.

Well, it would appear that I got a bit carried away typing, and actually got a medium length post out of this. I’ll obviously post updates on what’s happening on here or on twitter, or some other shit that nobody actually reads anyway….

A post a month?

Good lord no, it’s not gotten that bad yet, it’s just thatI’ve been busy doing other stuff, and wouldn’t you know it? I’ve actually been blogging, but none of the blogs I’ve started typing have actually been finished, or have been on such a rambling level, it wouldn’t have made much sense to anyone but me (do you *really* want to read about how I came to love Sinead Lohan’s “Whatever It Takes”? Again?).

There’s also ones that describe days out in detail, such as mine and Jamie’s recent trip to Leeds. It was a fascinating, in-depth look into how this current bout of unemployedness has taken my music buying habits to a whole new level. I shall quote from that unpublished blog, from 29th April, 2012…

Still, I’m bored, and typing is what I like to do, therefore I’ll give an awfully detailed description of the last few days. It involves buying CDs. Let’s start with Friday. It was mid-afternoon, Jamie S had just got paid (luck fucker’s got a new job throwing trailers about a new cardboard factory), and as he owed me some money, he offered to take us to the Metro Centre. I do like the place. It’s got good eateries, and although the local branch of “That’s Entertainment” is no more, there’s still the HMV, which has second-hand CDs in it. It’s not ideal, but there’s always a couple I want in there, if I’m willing to pay over the odds.

I did pay over the odds, and walked out with a copy of Marc Cohn’s self titled album, plus the 2-disc version of “Please” by the Pet Shop Boys. I didn’t buy too much as we’d also arranged a trip to Leeds. Another place I’d wanted to visit, because of the nearby location of “That’s Entertainment” Except I didn’t know exactly where it was.

Jamie S introduced me to this particular store brand. He was driving us from the location of an abandoned walk, to the A1. Conversation turned to buying CDs, and how he’d bought a CD for someone. Since then, he has literally regretted it. On that particular day, 8 months ago, I pretty much ejaculated everywhere. Not only was it the place where old CDs go to die, it was lit with mercuryvapour lighting.

Fast-forward many months later, “That’s Entertainment” is an established brand, with a website and everything. We arrive at Garforth, on the outskirts of Leeds. It’s cheaper to get the train from there into Leeds, than it is to pay the parking charges in Leeds city centre. It means walking across this desire path, which was a mistake, as it was entirely waterlogged.

The train station had been revamped since we were last there. I use the term loosely, it’s literally a raised platform, but this time it had a dot-matrix destination board, a card-only ticket machine, and the floor had been re-laid. While on the platform, Gary informed me that his P45 had arrived, meaning mine wouldn’t be far behind. Daddykins was informed, so that Senta or Sam didn’t see it as a chewy, early morning snack. Whilst on the platform, I “googled” the location of the Leeds “That’s Entertainment”.

We arrived in Leeds. It was raining a bit, so the first call was somewhere indoors. There was no hesitation in being pointed in the general direction of CEX. For those who don’t know, it’s a second hand store, with branches everywhere. Hartlepool has one, Middlesbrough too, Leeds, obviously, but this one is important, as it has a large CD collection. Usually, everything is £1, but rare CDs can go up to £10. One particular CD I picked up for… 20p, was by Suede. Mat Osman, the brother of Richard Osman, co-host of “Pointless” was the bassist. It’s mentioned many times in the afore-mentioned gameshow, so to pick up a CD for that price, it’s probably terrible.

We were both in the need of something to eat. Strangely, I’ve grown an addiction to Nandos. Their extra-hot sauce is… erm… Nantastic. Extra-hot butterfly chicken, garlic bread and peri-peri sprinkle. Several days before, Jamie noticed you could buy this sprinkle shit! I wanted some.

Rain poured down over Leeds. Unfortunately, whilst waking around Leeds, Jamie pointed out that the location of a new “That’s Entertainment” I’d not visited. He hated me for it. Poor guy was suffering from manflu. I tried to raise intereseting facts about the CDs I was picking out, They weren’t very interesting, it really didn’t work.

To cut a long story short, I came home with 34 more albums, and we bought some Nandos chip sprinkle. At £1.99, for something that is 66% salt, and 0.1% red bell pepper, I’d normally consider it a rip-off, but I like it, and I can see a jar of it lasting me quite a while. Don’t think Jamie S quite shared my enthusiasm.

Next up on the “cutting room floor” is my review of Google Drive. It started off promising….

So, Google Drive, then. (May 3, 2012)

I like cloud services. I like Google. I use Gmail as my primary address, and I used Google Docs for spreadsheets and the like. I’m not one of the tinfoil-hat brigade, and don’t mind the fact that Google can harvest my data. Sure, if they want to look at an outdated shift rota calendar, or an email between me and someone I knew three years ago, then fine. I’m not important. I don’t think there’s someone at the end of a monitor, writing down everything I do. Therefore, I was excited to hear about the possibility of a Google “drive” many, many years ago. I’ve been using online storage ever since I was a young’un. My first account was with a website called “Driveway”. I think they offered 20Mb free, probably less. It wasn’t much, but it saved the need to carry a box of disks between home and college.

Eventually, they changed. I can’t remember what happened. Maybe they closed, maybe they ditched their free accounts. Don’t know, don’t care, I just remember having to download the data from them, and putting it on a yellow zipdisk with the folder name “Driveway_bastards”. I still have the folder on a CD, I’ll have to check what’s on it properly.

SInce then, I’ve used many other online services, eventually settling with Dropbox. It’s handy for backing up irreplaceable files. or for things I’m currently working on, but at 2Gb, I soon started running out of space. Yes, if you get your friends to sign up, you get extra space. Not very handy if you don’t have any friends.

Imagine my delight when I read that Google was finally releasing Google Drive… Off I pop to Imagine my dismay, when…

A couple of days pass, and I eventually get the email to say it’s ready. Hurrah! I go to download the application, aaaand…

It would appear the entire world got the same email at the same time. Naturally, did take a while (probably about half an hour) to get that 700K file. It took me back to my old dialup days. I kept waiting for the modem to click.

Eventually, I got it all up and running, and it’s… er, as I expected it would be.

At that point, it really wasn’t something I could continue with. It worked. It had featured that impressed me (the ability to pick words out of a JPG image, search for them in Drive and even convert them to a document, as long as you’re willing to proof-read it fully). Some features I didn’t like… you can’t store your “Google Docs” documents offline without resorting to installing a Chrome plugin, meaning you can’t actually back them up. There also doesn’r appear to be any “versioning”… I’m sure with Dropbox, if you overwrite / delete a file, you could get a copy of the original file for up to 30 days. I may be getting my cloud services mixed up there.

On the subject of drives and stuff, I upgraded to a 2Tb NAS. a few days ago. It’s interesting to say the least! This does deserve its own post, however, so I won’t spoil that one just yet.

I also got to see the Premier League Darts again, and I managed to get myself on telly for the first time since that time I was on Tyne Tees news. I can confirm that the tape of that particular interview no longer exists in the ITN archives. Phew.

This post is long enough as it is, but some of you may be interested to know I’ve got a new job after only 5 weeks on the dole. Chad has also had a baby boy since I first started writing this post, so I expect his contributions to this website shall be few and far between over the next 18 years, or something. Therefore, I’ll end it by wishing Chad, Chisaki and his new son Kei David Phillips the best wishes imaginable. Over the moon for you mate!

2nd post since September…

Good lord, I can’t believe I’ve just typed those words. I’m ashamed at myself, but yes, it really is, only the 2nd post I’ve made since completing my mammoth Vienna review. I’ve been doing what Chad said to all these years, getting myself out there. It’s almost 3AM on Xmas Eve Eve as I type this. I probably should be crawling through the door now, but hell, I’m 32 now, I have to give my partying plimmies a rest some nights.

The wrst thing is, about leaving this blog for so long is the old “where to start” mentality. I’ve had so many good moments, shocking moments, and moments where I’ve made myself an absolute menace it’s untrue. 2011 has certainly been an interesting year.

there’s no other place to begin, and possibly finish this post too, the subject of streetlighting. Come on, I’ve been away for 90 days, if you expected anything different from this blog, you’ve obviously not been reading for 11 years. For the first time in 1995, Mercuryvapour Towers is once again lit by mercury vapour, and I’m not talking about one of my silly little “OMG! I can see one if I lean out of the bathroom window and twist my nick 180 degrees”. And I’m also not talking about plugging my AC Ford AC850 in and shining it up at the house. No, thanks to a fortunate turn of circumstances, my street once again has a mercury vapour light in it. It’s a historic moment for me. the last time mercury shone these streets, I was 15, and although it seems strange to say, back then, I hated mercury lights.

I’d grown up with them. Every street that wasn’t a main road was lit by them. Very few were lucky enough to have SOX, and that was what I wanted at the time. I’d draw pictures of mercury coulmns being smashed, and a new hockey stick column with a SOX lantern ready to replace it. Mercury was nothing to me. They were as common as dogshit. I never thought I’d see the day when mercury would be a rarity.

Times changed, and so did the lights. I remember, walking home from school and seeing the old GEC Z5590s nearby had been replaced with shiny new Beta 79s. I ran home, excited to see if Mercuryvapour Towers had received the same treatment. No! The replacements stopped half way up. Still, I knew that it would be the end very soon for mercury in this part of the world. I remember the next day, leaving for school. It was still dark, and the lantern was still on. I knew, as the car reversed out of the square, I would never get to see mercury in my street again. Part of me was happy It sort of felt nice to be “upgraded”. Sure enough, I returned home from school, and it was gone.

I can’t be certain of the exact date it happened, but I remember explaining to one of my friends in a text file (think: precursor to email… I’d type something rather like this, save it onto disk, he’d type something in reply, give me back the disk, etc.) how much I wasn’t going to miss MBF lighting, being surprised that I didn’t wake up with a suntan due to the ultraviolet they kick out… see, I was brainy back then… not! Some 17 years pass. We’re back in the present day. I could walk downstairs, look out of the window and see an image I last saw in my childhood… the registered address of bathed in mercury vapour light! Yes, I did see the first official switch-on. I was filming it too, but managed to miss it with the camera.

Right, that’ll do for the lights. Other things have been happening. It’ll be easier to refer to Twitter from now. on…

Pub quiz. Would have done well if it wasn’t for those pesky Brazil nuts! (4 Oct)
I now regularly attend a pub quiz at the Schooner, with various other people from work, whenever we’re free on a Tuesday. Get a three-course meal for less than a fiver, drink bottles of Carlsberg for £1 each, and do utterly bollocks at the pub quiz. This was our first week, and we finished last, all because Gary was adamant that the biggest producer of Brazil nuts beginning with B was Brazil. Wrong. It’s Bolivia.

I’m at The Paramount (Wetherspoon) (33-35 Oxford St., Portland St., Manchester) (5 Nov)
Jamie S wanted to buy some stuff from the official Man City store. He ended up with a car air freshener that didn’t actually smell of anything, and a tax disc holder. I ended up with a bag of CDs. One of the cases didn’t actually have a CD in. Also, a steak was eaten. Rab (who I’ve not mentioned on here before, but is an ex-work colleague (though the way things are going at the moment, EVERYONE will be an ex-work colleague shortly)), decided the smoking ban in pubs wasn’t for him…


We also attended the fireworks display at Stockton…


My photography sucks.

I’m at Westgarth Social Club for Siskiyou (99 Southfield Road, Woodlands Road, Middlesbrough) (11 Nov)

On the night of my previous posting, me, Jamie and Rab attended a gig in Middlesbrough. I’d not heard of the band before, but I did enjoy them, and now have both of their albums. The lead singer, from Canada, liked my description of The Sage as the Shiny Condom.

Eating something else other than fries (@ McDonald’s) (3 Dec)
Get this. for 31 years of my live, I’d never actually been to a McDonalds, and ordered anything other than “fries and a drink”. God’s honest. I was never introduced to them as a child. therefore I have never needed them, nor missed them. On my first full day of being 32 years of age, Me, Jamie S and Rab were in York. After standing up for the entire train journey (from Thornaby to York), we were hungry. Every place we tried was absolutely rammed. A mixture of abject disappointment and near starvation drove us to Maccy D’s. Knowing I wouldn’t survive on fries alone, I got Jamie S to point something out on the menu that wasn’t a burger or covered in sauce. I ended up with some chicken objects, fries and a drink. Getting there, slowly but surely.

Just received spam for a maccy d’s gift card. Think I’ll pass. (5 Dec)
After my above posting, you’d blame me? On my quest to try new stuff, this day was the first time I’d ever had Nandos. Won’t be the last, either.
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