The most predictable post in the whole of 2014

Bugger. Unlike recent years, I appear to have forgotten to automatically post a happy and successfull new years message. Plenty of mead and good freinds prevented me from doing this. Actual people being around my house is much more important than a throwaway post on a website, eh?

I’d like to personally wish both of my readers a hapy and prosperous 2014

Cherry Pepsi

Just a quick one while I remember, just in case you haven’t found it yet Marko, Cherry Pepsi does indeed exist down here, and it’s actually really quite awesome. It’s infinitely better than the awful diet cherry coke, and it’s just as good, if not better, than normal cherry coke….

Oh, and I had another “brush” with the fox at work today…

Oh dear, I’m making vulpine-related puns, this writers’ block must be bad. I’ve always wanted to take a photo of a fox. some of you may have saw the really shitty one I put on facebook, which could have been mistaken for a small dog, Well, this is a slightly better example, albeit still taken with the camera on my mobile. Alas, I don’t think I’m allowed my camera at “new” work.

In other news, by non-drinking is still going well. I did go off the rails slightly on Friday night, I went for a curry, and gave into temptation. Still, 2 pints in 4 weeks is hardly alcoholic standard, and an immense improvement on the shit I used to throw down my neck on a nightly basis. I also played table tennis in Sheffield city centre. Videos may, or may not be forthcoming.

Nottingham! It’s in Nottinghamshire! (Part 2)

So, I awoke on the 2nd day at about 8AM, after a perfectly acceptable nights’ sleep. This was surprising, as I’m not a fan of hotel beds. I seen to recall my sleep was disturbed by a passing police car. Despite being on the 7th floor, and quite a distance from the road, the building next to ours reflected the sound into the room, and by the time the car had headed along Maid Marian Way (no, seriously, that’s that the road was called), I was awake, bright as buttons. Gah.

Chris slept through it, so I amused myself by abusing my phone and uploading all sorts of garbage to Facebook. I gave it until 9PM before I decided to surface and risk waking Chris up. 19 minutes later, while in the middle of a shave, my phone started going nuts, it was Chris’s dad. Amusingly, Chris slept through approximately 20 seconds of my annoying shopping centre yet there were two charity shops in there, a particularly bad YMCA shop that had literally 10 CDs in there, and a much better shop, where I spent under £7 on CDs. I could have spent more, but I didn’t realise the singles were “Buy one Get one Free”…

By this time, Chris’s boredom threshold was being tested to its limits, so we went in search of the now removed railway, and found it entirely by chance…

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The closed tunnel entrance in the centre of the picture, the unmistakable blue brick to the right forming the entrance to what was once a railway tunnel, now a car park.

By this point, the effects of the Greggs Pasty were wearing off. I was hungry, and so was Chris. I had a bag of CDs to drop off at the hotel. It suddenly dawned on us. Where the fuck was the hotel? I knew one thing, we were near this building…

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In hindsight, this building was visible from the hotel window, but we were lost enough for me to break out “the technology” – bring up Google Maps on my phone and make sure we were heading in the right direction. We were! Eventually we returned at the hotel, I dropped my CDs off, and headed in the general direction for something to eat.

Three days consisting of nothing but curry would probably be a bit too much, so we gave the curry houses a miss and headed off back into the town, eventually resorting to going to the Wetherspoons we’d went to the previous night. I settled for the “simple” steak ‘n’ chips, while Chris had some type of Panini thing. I always thought they just made sticker annuals…

Food was consumed, and the day was still young. The only tourist attraction either of us could think of was the castle, as Nottingham, at one point, had a large fortification overlooking the city. It was £5.50 in. Unfortunately, there’s very little remaining of the castle itself, except the walls. Inside, is a large museum and art gallery. There’s also a fair amount of gardens to walk around and admire that thing where they make shapes out of plants… erm… can’t remember its name…

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The highlight, for me was the fact that the museum actually contains the very football shirt Maradonna wore during his infamous “Hand Of God” incident. Now that’s not something you see every day.

We left the grounds just as a horde of foreign students invaded the place. Perfect timing! They all seemed like proper twunts. We made or way to “Ye Olde Pube”. I can’t remember its proper name, but it’s set inside the cliffs that Nottingham Castle stood on. While me and Chris were enjoying a quiet pint in the “beer garden”, the hordes of students had apparently left the castle and headed to our quiet little inn. None of them were over the age to drink, so they just stood outside and took photos of the place. In pure “Jamie is a complete dick” style, I tried to photobomb as many as possible. There’ll be some kid, thousands of miles away, wondering why there’s a bearded guy with a pint glass on his head.

At this point, it started to get cold, and the time for food was fast approaching. We headed off back to the hotel. After remembering how bad the beer was in the free bar the previous night, we stopped off at the Tescos and picked up essential supplies…

Amusingly, there were signs on the hotel entrance that “No food or drink to be consumed in the room”. I’m sure they’d try and stop me.

No food or drink in the hotel....

After a quick change, we headed out of the hotel and, after a quick walk round, decided that our next meal would once again be consumed at “Chutney”. After all, their service and food was superb last time. It was even better. the staff were friendly, and even gave us another discount because we’d been there the day before. Ten, no, eleven points for service.

Once again, we headed back to the hotel and got ready for the night’s festivities. I say festivities, I really mean drinking some of the world’s most watered down lager known to man. It’s not even worthy of the “Making Love in a Canoe” joke…

We returned to the room early, pouched the cans, and I attempted to take some long exposure shots out of the hotel window. I’d show you them, except it would appear that Flickr has eaten them. Grrrr.

The Magical Mystery Tour (part 2)

You may have been wondering why I’ve taken the name of a Beatles EP for the title of this blog, considering it’s about Blackpool. The reason is, that there was a trip arranged to Liverpool, or how I like to pronounce it, LiverPEWL.

The day started off early. I awoke at about 6AM, bursting for a piss. Unfortunately, thanks to the sound the toilet makes, this wasn’t something that could be done quietly, so Chris was also awake by this point. Attempts to get back to sleep were rudely interrupted by the sound of the old guy in the next room being sick. We weren’t sure if it was the food that caused it, or an excessive amount of alcohol, but my word, he could have chonked for England. It must have lasted around half an hour and by then we were fully awake. Brekkers wasn’t being served until about 7:30, so after getting ready, we spent a good hour or so wandering around the hotel. We could have went outside, but the good old english weather had taken hold by this point.

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Some time later, off we jolly well popped to the breakfast room. This was also the same room where the entertainment was, and we had nothing to worry about when it came to getting a seat. It was absolutely massive. It was more like a warehouse. In fact, it was even lit by mercury vapour lights. I wasn’t that hungry anyway, so I grabbed a few pieces of toast and about 8 glasses of orange juice.

The coach to Liverpool wasn’t until 9:30, so after having breakfast, we headed back to the room. there wasn’t much to do in the room. I certainly didn’t want to touch the bible…

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I made a short video showing some of the room’s “features”, which I’ll probably need to edit down. Unfortunately, the “Windows Movie Maker” facility in Windows 7 is complete garbage, so I’ll have to wait until I get on the laptop to edit it properley. As a bit of an experiment, I’ve created a video of the epic hairdryer…

(I really, really hate the new Windows Movie Maker. If anyone has any free alternatives, let me know.)

Anyway, we boarded the coach for Liverpool, and that’s where the fun and games started. Apparently, there was one coach that had the city tour, for £6. The other two coaches would just drop you in the Albert Dock (not literally, of course), so you could go and walk around at your own leisure. By a twist of fate, we’d got on the correct one, as someone on the other non-tour coach had a suspected heart attack. Delays were also caused by some of the people actually wanting to go on the city tour, but now couldn’t.

One whinging old scrote even had the cheek to say “Eeee, well that’ll be another complaint letter going in”. I’m sorry, what? You’re going to complain because you’re getting a free trip to Liverpool, which you didn’t even know about 24 hours before? No, you silly cow, you put a letter of complaint in when they leave you there, and you have to walk back.

The journey was uneventful. I had my headphones in for most of the journey. Nowt like being a bit anti-social once in a while. I attempted to get some sleep, something I rarely do on a coach. I managed about a half-hour of dozing, before waking up as we crossed the River Ribble. Rain followed us the whole way down until we actually got to Liverpool, where it just seemed to mysteriously stop. The coach dropped us at the Albert Dock. You may remember this as being the location of the old “This Morning” studio. Now, maybe I’m just used to seeing it on telly, in the sunshine, but one thing that struck me, is how small it actually was. Normally, you see sights on telly, and they turn out to be bigger in real life, but the Albert Dock really didn’t seem that big at all..

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A lot of it was dedicated to the Beatles museum. I’m possibly the only person to have ever visited Liverpool, and rated the thought of going around a Beatles museum as a “meh”. I could only see it being overpriced. I’m not a great fan of their work. Like all bands, there’s some good stuff and a lot of mediocre stuff. I only like ‘Hey Jude’ because of the clearly audible “Fucking Hell” at 2:58. Listen to it with headphones, you’ll hear what I mean. Actually, that’s not quite true, I think it’s a brilliant song, but it’s not worth walking around a museum for!

I’ll tell you something though, I’m actually *glad* I went to Liverpool. About 3 weeks ago, I woke up with a small piece of music in my head, from the middle of a song. I obviously can’t explain in txt what it went like, but it was from the version of the “Liver Birds” theme music I’d ripped from LP at the back end of last year. Unfortunately, this revelation had me unintentionally whistling the afore-mentioned theme music whilst pointing my camera in the general direction of the Liver Buildings…

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After wandering without aim, we headed towards Liverpool One. Apparently, it’s a shopping centre, or something. Going shopping with me is incredibly boring. Unless I am actually going specifically to purchase something, I’ll visit two shops. HMV and Greggs. This, however, was a bit of a special occasion, as I went into another shop, in order to stock up on cheap t-shirts, and replacement socks (something which I’d also forgotten to pack). Chris spent £2.99 on an umbrella. Remember that for later.

HMV, despite being huge, didn’t have any spectacular offers, and Greggs appear to have ditched their corned beef pasties for “Potato and Meat”.

We walked around the streets for about half an hour, before we witnessed this sad sight…

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Yep, there’s another classic Thorn Alpha 3, about to be taken down and scrapped. In fact, there were a few in that road about to suffer the same fate. Shame.

After I mopped up the tears, we realised we’d walked round in a big circle, and walked down Water Street, back to the Liver Buildings. By this point, my feet were killing me. I’m not getting old, I blame the uneven beach I was walking on the day before. We walked back to the Albert Dock, and got some refreshments in the “Costa” that just happened to be in the entranceway.

The penultimate stop on our journey just had to be the wheel. You may remember my trip to York with Coatesy, where they had the large ferris wheel outside of the railway museum. Well, the wheel had repositioned itself to outside of the large arena on the docklands. I love these things, and even at the £7.50-each price tag, it was worth a go.

I took a few photos, but not that many, as most of the time I was recording video. While I enjoyed every second of the ride, Chris didn’t exactly enjoy it. He really doesn’t like heights! This had the undesired effect of getting some quality footage of him absolutely bricking it. OK, I didn’t help, with phrases such as “It’s draughty up here, isn’t it?” and “It’s got a bit of a wobble when the winds hit it”… I’m quite sure if the wheel had went round one more time, he’d have had a panic attack.

It would be wrong of me to post a video. Expect one coming soon when I get the lappy sorted out. In the meatime…

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We had a walk around the dock one more time, and raided a sweet shop as our final location. I bought several packets of large Parma Violets. I absolutely love these. Oh, and some cola Wham bars. I must admit, it was an awesome shop. It smelt just like Bretts in the town centre, but without their epic toffee apples.

So, that was the day. It was 3PM, and as Kauto Star failed to make it a fifth King George VI Chase victory, we boarded the coach, and headed back to Blackpool. Again, the headphones were in, and I dozed for most of the journey using my coat as a pillow. I awoke just as we were to cross the Wiver Wibble. I’d have thought it was pretty coincidental, but I think the reason I woke up was because I’d drooled all over the coat, and it was now stuck to the side of my face. Pleasant.

We arrived back to the hotel, and began to pack. It seems strange how light and easy to pack the bag was before I left, but how heavy and full it was…

We set off at about 6PM, for our second and final journey to the indian mentioned on Part 1. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t as kind to us, with light rain falling, and a bit of a breeze. Chris took his newly purchased umbrella out with us. He stood in the entrance to the hotel for about a minute, trying to get the umbrella to stay up. Literally three steps away from the hotel building, the entire thing blew inside out, and was completely ruined. I was absolutely no sympathy, as I howled with laughter in the car park, barely able to walk in a straght line for about 10 minutes. It was, quite literally, the funniest moment of 2011 so far, and it’d take a hell of a lot to top it. Irony ensued, as the rain started to die off, and we arrived at the indian totally bone dry.

I was tempted to get the vindaloo, but instead, I just settled for the madras again. After all, I had the bus home to contend with the next day. If anything, the meal was better than it was the previous day. Curry excellent, rice perfect, naan bread was indescribably brilliant. It seems odd that the least complicated part of the meal would be the one that I remember. But, it was.

We walked back to the hotel, and I just had enough time for a shower before hitting a change of clothes, and of course, the free bar. I’d have been bang on time if I actually knew how to work the bloody shower. I am, and always will be a bath person, but when you don’t have enough time for one, a shower will have to do. I think I scalded my back and the top of my head about three times.

I arrived at the free bar at about 20:03, feeling gutted at myself that I’ve wasted 3 minutes of precious drinking time. Chris was already with Colin and Lynne. We made our way to the “Performance Area”, and sat through countless musical acts of very little value. I didn’t care. I had my armband. Someone else noticed I had the armband on, two Lancashire equivalents of “chavs”. It was really quite amusing. Now, as I’ve mentioned, I had the “white armband”, which granted me unlimited drinks, two at a time. These chavs wanted me to get two pints, one for them and one for me. That’s what I assume anyway, as I didn’t understand a word they said. Needless to say, I ignored their request, but found it amusing nonetheless.

According to the videos I’d taken, the night finished with a roaring rendition of “Hey Jude”. By this point, I was goosed, and as soon as the free bar ended, I called it a night, and headed back to the fourth floor, and my comfy, comfy bed…

I won’t bother writing a “journey home” entry. It was uneventful. More sleep, heavy rain, and a lorry in a ditch. I’m also happy to report that after a night in hospital, the lady who took ill on the other coach was released from hospital, and was able to travel back home with the rest of her party.

Haircuts and polishing turds

Well, there’s three days off work, which have disappeared quicker than the analogy I originally thought of when I started typing this sentence. It’s actually been a good few days off.

Firstly, it’s not been wasted, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, the bad things include being incinerated to a crisp. You’d have thought that I’d have built up some immunity to the sun as a child, seeing as I was only ever allowed to “play out” until 6PM, before my mother appeared at the door, screaming my name at the top of her lungs, ordering me to come in. Hence Chad’s recent comment-posing name of “6-O Clock Curfew”.

Don’t worry, it took me a while to work it out too!

Er, anyway. Back to what has been going on recently.

Monday, unfortunately was a day that can just be scrubbed off the calendar altogether. After finishing a nightshift, I decided to just stay in bed until about 8PM. I don’t like doing that, but sometimes it’s necessary to get a few good hours of sleep inside of me. Therefore, the day was entirely wasted. Unless you count sleep, in that case, it was pretty much perfect.

So, Tuesday was the day when I began to get things done. The weather was ideal. Daddykins left Mercuryvapour Towers at approximately 11, in order to get the car MOT’d. I was kicking things around the house, when I decided that the grass out of the front needs mowing. It had been a couple of weeks since I’d done it. In fact, I blogged about it in here, thanks to the fact the mower shedded two blades.

Surely, the same thing couldn’t happen again.

After completing the majority of the garden, I ran over a piece of innocent looking grass…

“BANG! BRAAAAAAAAA!”

Sigh. Another blade gone. I can only apologise for this piece of deja-vu, but… I replaced the blade, and once again began to cut the grass.

“BANG! BRAAAAAAAAA!”

Christ almighty. Two blades, shattered in less than 15 seconds. Only this time, this came from a different piece of grass. Four blades in 2 mowings. I’m beginning to think our mower is fucked.

During my time shredding turf, I took a look at the front piece of the garden. There is a small portion at the top of the garden which normally “houses” daffodils in the spring, but the rest of the year, it’s a weed trap. Now, I’ve been paying more attention to this bit of the garden than what I’ve let on, and had recently de-weeded it, meaning it actually looked just like a bare piece of land.

Daddykins was home by this point, and helped remove some freshly sprouted weeds. Mostly dandelions, thanks to the state it was in last year. At this point, I said something in jest, about going to Focus and getting some plants. I also wanted to get my hair cut. The two things weren’t connected, but what was left of my hair, was a mess.

Daddykins drove me to the barbers. Turns out the temperature on the long gravel driveway of Mercuryvapour Towers was 29 degrees. It wasn’t until I sat in the barbers chair that I realised just how much sun I’d caught. As the lovely lady combed my hair, it felt like 10,000 white-hot needles were beng scraped across my scalp. Oh yes, I was sunburned, and sunburned good. Bugger.

I left the barbers, devoid of hair, and returned back to the car.

“So, do you want to go to Focus, then?”

After realising that I’d known nothing about gardening, I suddenly wondered if this was a good idea after all. I decided against it, but seeing as Focus was on the way home anyway, we decided to call in. A lighter wallet, 6 fuschia plants and a marigold plant later, we returned home. Whilst Daddykins cooked some eggs for the “Twat Cup” taking place later that evening, I went out of the front, and planted the afore mentioned plants.

The Twat Cup itself, went off without much of an incident, except I was almost “accused” of cheating at dominoes, because I didn’t let the other player pick first after it was my “shuffle”. Tsk. I explained that it was the first time I’d literally versed anyone at dominoes that wasn’t over the internet, and wasn’t aware of the finer, physical rules of the game, but was totally aware now, should I ever verse another human being at the afore-mentioned bar game. It’s unlikely, but it may happen. Remember, kids! After you shuffle, allow the other player to pick their dominoes first! Trust me, it’ll save you earache in the future. Honestly.

Chris was missing for the Twat Cup, so when I returned home I texted him to see where he was. Unfortunately, I don’t have my phone to hand, so can’t tell you exactly how the conversation went, and thanks to winning £15 and having plenty of free whisky, I was slightly the worse for wear.

So, off went Tuesday, and onto Wednesday. I awoke, in a funny position on the sofa, early enough to consider a trip to the flea market. After it was apparent that the quality of the previous nights’ ale had resorted my anus to the role of “shite fountain”, I was hesitant. Considering the sun was, once again cracking the pavements, I deicded to head off in the general direction of the flea market. It was, unfortunately, pathetic.

Eric had replaced his 50p CDs with another load of cheap, shitty DVDs. I ended up spending one, whole British pound on a “Best of T’Pau” CD. This was a CD I’d owned back in the early 1990s, but got destroyed in what I would claim was the worst week of my life, back in summer 1995.

Either way, I have a copy of it again. And, you’ll have to thank Chad once again for my T’pau interest. If he hadn’t had sold me this cassette tape back in 1988/1989, I’d have less of a knowledge of Carol Decker and the rest of the band, and their overly distorted percussion.

So, I returned home from the flea market. I decided to go out the front and begin documenting the life of my plants, whic were only planted yesterday. This involved some pretty graphic closeups…

Whilst taking photos, I returned to the alley, to view my images. It was the only place dark enough to be able to see the camera screen. I happened to look down the gravel driveway. At the end of it was a figure, clad in a high-viz vest, bicycle and camera. It could only be one person. Yes, it was Andy The Iridium Fan. I wanved, making him aware of my presence, and he cycled up the gravel driveway, and explained his prescence. Apparently, there wasn’t an actual reason, except for getting his picture taken on the “windowcam”.

Considering both of us had the rest of the day free, there was a little discussion on where to go, or what to do. I think I mentioned Durham, before quickly putting that idea on the back burner, seeing as that the only things burning would be me, on the bus to Durham. After the trip with Chris, earlier on in the year, I decided that public transport wouldn’t be the best idea, considering I’d be cooking all of the way there.

Andrew did mention the “Then and Now” exhibition on at the art gallery in Church Square, taken by Mail photographer Tom Collins. He had visited it at the weekend, and said it was great. And, considering I love stuff like that, I decided that this was the best idea ever. And for the paltry price of 50p, you could get to the top of Christchurch’s tower too. Something that I’d seen hundreds of pictures of, but never had any to climb up and call my own…

It’s around now that the photoblog starts, so for all of you who have scrolled this far, you’ll get your first pictures.

After paying your 50p, you can escalate the stairs that takes you up to the clock tower. After many dodgy experiences with climbing monuments, such as the Arc D’ Triomphe, the Scott Monument and more recently, York Minster, I was happy to find that the staircase was perfectly acceptable. You can even stop off on the way and take photos….


When you reach the top, it’s entirely different to what I thought it would be like. After seeing the few hundred pictures on sites such as flickr taken from the top of it, actually going up there and taking your own personal view of the location adds a hell of a lot to it. Since I was a kid, the Transporter Bridge is one of those things I’ve always wondered if it was visible from Hartlepool. I have never received any photographic evidence to say whether this was the case, until today….

Click the image, as you might have to zoom in a little to view it!

I’ve noticed, on flickr, that there’s normally only a couple of photos taken from Christchurch. Here’s approximately 56… http://www.flickr.com/photos/mercuryvapour/archives/date-taken/2009/06/24/