Fun times shall be had

I arranged to meet with an old school friend whom I haven’t seen for a long while this Friday. It didn’t start well. I had gotten my P’s mixed up and went to Paddington tube not Picadilly. Oopsie. That was rectified quickly though and soon I was in a pub with a cider. Hoorah. I friend of mine also came to meet us so we shared some drinks and some giggles.

We ventured to the border of Soho and ate at a restaurant called Satsuma. I have been there once previously and it was very good. I was not disappointed this time either. My more learned friend ordered some sides and sushi for us. We enjoyed mixed tempura, California rolls and chicken dumplings. For a main meal I opted for grilled eel. It was very nicely cooked but the ginger in the dish soon overwhelmed my palette so I lost the eels flavour very early on. I would definitely have grilled eel again as it was really rather tasty.

On the way back to the pub we went past an amazing cake shop. I simply had to stop and take some photo’s of the delicacies they sold. I apologise for the quality – it was a camera phone moment.

This was a large cake. I can imagine a lot of children and adults alike will see the appeal of this.

The next two are smaller bite size cakes but equally as sweet and charming.


We had a jolly old time and were taken to a pub called The Bricklayers Arms. It was a proper pub. You felt like you were sitting in someones living room and all of the drinks were from small breweries and good old English manufacturers. The was no Coca Cola or Pepsi in sight. It was a really good place to just chat. I wish we had gone earlier in the night.

I had no intentions of staying out all night but it had been so long since a catch up with my school pal that it was decided the best plan all round was for me to go back to her place, meet her dragon and stay over. This is the dragon. He’s known as Goku and he is very sweet.

After a very peaceful night on the sofa bed. I was taken to a cafe in Surbiton for breakfast.Oh my what a breakfast it was. We visited a place called Puccino’s. and this is what filled the condiment pot on the table.

I do hope the picture isn’t too small because what it depicts is sheer brilliance. The sachets of white and brown sugar had all been branded with really rather amusing captions. The White sugar was branded as being ‘for commoners’ whilst the brown was ‘ for snobs’. On the reverse the sachets had more captions. My favorite has to be on the back of a white sachet, it’s labelled as ‘Rubbish Beanbag’. The biscuits that arrived with cups of tea were equally amusing as they stated ‘Stupid little biscuit – put in bin immediately’. Similarly the chocolate with coffee was emblazoned ‘Useless bit of chocolate – no point in existing’. I don’t know about the rest of you but I think this is insanely clever branding. I was so amused by my teabag label that I brought it home. It says ‘Puccino’s nice cup of tea – Coffee is SO over’. I do advise visiting a Puccino’s near you soon because not only were the condiments amusing but the food certainly hit the spot too.

Until next time…….

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Interview where now?

The interviews and interest in me had a little flurry at the end of last week. I called a company on Thursday afternoon after sending them my CV through a job website. I do this because looking at my CV, I know I will get disregarded for 90% of the jobs I go for as I have slim to no ‘relevant’ experience. The only way I seem to succeed in securing an interview is using the ‘follow up call’ method of applying. That way the HR people get to speak to me and I can convince them that, despite my almost total lack of experience, I am right for the job. Anyway, back to the flurry.

After my follow up call of Thursday afternoon, I was most surprised to be invited in for an interview at 10 O’clock the following day. Not much time to learn about mobile communications. I pestered a few friends who work in telecoms and by the time I was sat on the tube the next day, I felt half prepared. The interviewer was lovely and we seemed to have a good rapport going. I feel the interview went very well so I am hoping I will get a call back for interview number two early this week.

After exhausting my brain in a ninety minute interview and coupled with the lack of sleep from the night before, I went for a nap as all tired people should). About an hour later I was roused by my mobile phone ringing away. Rather groggily I answered it and was met by a very bubbly lady who wanted to speak with me about my CV. This resulted in my brain springing into action and the false sound of me appearing coherent. I can’t have been that terrible as I was emailed information to read over the weekend in preparation for a call back today. Lovely.

I’ll keep you posted on how it’s all going.

Until next time.

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again

I had my very first experience of an ‘Assessment Day’ yesterday. It didn’t go all that well as they sent me home at the first cut but, on the plus side, I learnt an awful lot about assessment days and the mistakes I made while I was there.

It’s very easy to be daunted by grouping off with total strangers and undertaking a task. I was a little phased by this and sunk into my shell. This was a huge mistake but it was one I couldn’t recognise at the time. It was only on reflection that I sat back and thought ‘Actully, I’m not surprised they dropped you because I would have dropped me after that’. I also picked up a few hints and tips about recruitment in general from some of the other exercises we did.

All in all I drove a long way for no job but I still learned some very valuable lessons and I am very much looking forward to getting feedback fromt he company to see if they agree with where  I think I went wrong.

I do hate job hunting though. Until next time

In the Midnight Hour

Those of you who know me are aware that I play World of Warcraft. Those of you who don’t have just been informed. If you have missed the various news pieces on the release of the newest expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, I will fill you in. There were various places opening at midnight on Wednesday 12th November in order to sell copies straight away. The big event in the UK was at HMV at 150 Oxford Street, London. I wasn’t feeling very well but decided to find out who was doing what for it. Seeing as my significant other had plans to see Steve Coogan live, I figured that if anyone was going to wait at HMV then I would join them as I had nothing better to do.

First port of call proved a success. I had a friend to wait in line with! Hoorah! I headed off into central London on a mission to A) find the right HMV and B) save a spot in line for my fellow geek. As it turned out – they were giving away wristbands in the queue line with a number on them which worked as a reserving type system. This was excellent as the geek squad (well two of us) were then able to go off and find some food and toilets! After a hearty plate of stir fried vegetables and crispy noodles I was all set to queue for 5 hours. But no no, my fellow geek had a better plan. Lets go make and ENORMOUS banner to hold up in line. My initial thoughts were – That really is too tragic – then on reflection it was decided that we should embrace the tragicness of our situation. So we went on ahead and created said enormous banner. The finished article was somewhat impressive.

I think you will all admit it was a very imposing effort. We also made a smaller card mounted version that we thought was very amusing.

Once we arrived back at the venue, the twenty or so people who were present at half past five had grown to about two hundred people! There were ever costumed fanatics. This costume in particular was a very good representation of what you see ingame on a priest.

Whilst in the queue outside, various photographers and camera crews went by. We were photographed and interviewed. Most notably by BBC Radio One’s Newsbeat programme. I am proud to say that a clip of my interview was used all day on Radio one yesterday (Thursday 13th November).

As Midnight drew much closer, two more of our friends arrived. One being my significant other whilst the second was a work colleague and in game friend. Due to their lack of wristbands, they were forced to stand in the enormous queue at the back. AT around quarter to midnight, the wristband queue was herded into the store and separated into queue lines. The store was quite packed.


I took a video of the crowd though it isn’t the best quality – sorry!


They had various freebies travelling around and kept us all entertained with the cinematic trailer and special DVD clips. There was also a man walking around in a Lich King suit and a rather impressive ice sculpture.

The wait did seem unbearable though. Even though the tills opened at midnight, it was one AM before we finally got our hands on a copy of the collectors edition. As we had wristbands, we also got ours signed by the CEO of Blizzard entertainment and the head developer for Wrath of the Lich King. Here they are signing my copy.

As we approached the tills – clutching our signed copies – I thought I should check on the two outside. After a quick phone call we established they were still about an hour away from getting their copies so I promised to try and blag two extra collectors editions so we could all go home to bed. I got to the till, smiled ever so sweetly and succeeded in my task. Three shining copies of Wrath of the Lich King the Collectors edition. Congratulations to me!

With the copies signed, sealed and delivered it was time to go to bed. But before that we had to document the moment with this photo.

We were definitely all very happy chaps and chapette. The waiting and the cold was made up for by the brilliant atmosphere. It’s a lovely feeling to be surrounded by people who you know have the same interest as you. Conversation was easy and no one was unfriendly. Keep your eyes on the official World of Warcraft Europe website (www.wow-europe.com) for interviews and posters of us. There were plenty of people interested in our poster.

I was also once again staggered by the sheer convenience of London. As terrified as I was about living in a City, even after my short time here, I’m not sure how I ever lived anywhere else.

Until next time

What a weekend!

After the epic failing of my plans on Thursday and Friday it was refreshing to know nothing about what was going to take place on the drinking spree over the weekend. All I knew was I was the text the master of ceremonies and in return I would receive a tube station destination. How mystically exciting.

We ended up at Tottenham Court Road tube station from where we proceeded to a rather nice bar called Eagle Bar Diner. They sold some very interesting cocktails of which I sampled the peanut butter martini which is very nice but wouldn’t be something I would like more than one of. The appletini however I could have sipped on until the proverbial cows came home. It was very tasty indeed. My continental friend decided that disgusting was the order of the day and so after a few tasty cocktails ordered himself a Gustav’s Garden. This consisted of rosemary, cucumber, black pepper, some form of alcohol and a lot of ice. It was Horrific! But that was the point.

After the lovely cocktails we trawled a couple of bar/club places. They didn’t really meet expectations music or drinks wise unfortunately but still, a fun time was had by all I feel. The party split up at about two in the morning. After a spate of unsuccessful attempts to hail a legal cab down to take us home, we ended up taking a dodgy one. This displeased me on every level but we got home safe and for ten pounds cheaper than in a black cab so not all bad – just mostly.

Saturday morning consisted of educating the continental one in the ways of full English breakfasts at greasy spoon cafes. It was a success on all levels. We even managed to muster up a good British downpour for him so he got the full and miserable effect.

Saturday night followed a similar theme to the Friday except for the food before drinking. It was a rather nice Chinese place in London. Good food, reasonable price and service. We opted for a JD Wetherspoons as the drinking hole due to severely dented purses/wallets from the cocktails of the night before. I discovered a rather wonderful cider called Kopparberg. I sampled 3 varieties. The Winter Berries version was by far my favorite but sadly supply did not meet demand and the pub sold out. The next on the list was Blackberry. Not as fruity as the winter berries and much sweeter. Again though supply and demand issues forced me onto the third variety the pub stocked. Pear cider. Oh my goodness. Never again shall I grace the doorstep of apple ciders unless forced to. Pear and berry ciders are far tastier and much cleaner than apple ciders. I am converted.

The Saturday night concluded at a similar time to that of the Friday but instead of hailing a dodgy cab man, we braved a night bus! For ninety pence, you can’t go wrong. It took just over forty minutes for us to travel home but the bus stops at the top of our road which makes it incredibly convenient after a night of drunken jollity’s.

Sunday was much less intense on the beer front. We were shown to a very nice Japanese restaurant by our tour guide. I have to say that i was more than impressed at the cost vs quality aspect of the Hare and Tortoise. A truly lovely meal at an astonishingly reasonable price. We sampled sashimi, sushi, soup, noodles, rice, dumplings and some battered vegetables that I cannot remember the name of but that were divine. We also tried the ‘Raw Juice’ which was made from carrot, apple and water. I must say though, I personally would have preferred to just eat the carrot and apple then drunk the water.

A lovely weekend spent in lovely company. New things learned along the way too. Not much more can be asked of a good time.

Mostly Tired………

Well last weekend was a fairly eventful one!

We’d organised some time ago to have a friend from the continent come and stay with us in our new place. We had also offered up floor space to another friend who also wanted to come and join in the festivities so all in all our one bed-roomed flat would be accomodating four across the weekend. This was with the sole purpose of going into central London to meet other friends and get hideously drunk. I had a plan of what was going to happen. The nice lady who wanted my freezer from freecycle would arrive at 9am on Friday morning and remove that and then I would go sit in the internet cafe making a blog entry whilst I waited for the phone call to say ‘I’m Here!!!’. This plan began to unravel as early as Thursday afternoon. Never good.

On Thursday afternoon it had been my intention to finish the washing and get it aired out so I could pack away all unnecessary clutter for guests. The spanner went into the works when the machine failed to drain the water held in the drum. Bugger. Calls and emails were made and sent. The repairman called me in the evening and arranged to come fix my problem the following day between two and three thirty. Now, my Continental friend had given me and eta of one O’clock. I just had to hope and pray he had no delays on his trip of he was going to get fobbed off with a pub near the tube station whilst I waite don the washing machine man. That was manageable. So, fully in the knowledge that Friday was going to be hectic at best – I set my alarm so I would be awake and ready to move a freezer at nine in the morning.

Nine AM Friday morning rolled by. As did Nine thirty, and eventually ten O’clock rolled by. I dropped the freezer lady a line but got no reply so leaving a message I internally decided she had until eleven AM to get back tome before I went to the next person on the list. At half past ten she rang and apologised profusely for not getting to be for nine as promised. I inform her I can wait in until no later than midday. She assures me she will be here before then. I wait some more. At midday I call her to see what’s happening. “I’m on my way now” I am informed. This seems acceptable. I wait. At twenty past twelve I receive a call asking for directions to my flat. After a lot of confusing descriptions of landmarks I finally realise that she is in the wrong town and instruct her to the right town. As soon as my mobile goes down I receive the “I’m Here!!!!’ message from my continental friend. I grab my coat and head for the tube station. On the way I think I should really call the freezer lady and tell her I’m going to be out for twenty minutes or so. I call and tell her. Sorted.

The bearded continental man is indeed at the correct tube station. Good job he was smarter than the freezer lady and didn’t go to the wrong place with a similar name!! Anyway, We begin the walk back to the flat and decide that beer is needed. We stop at a supermarket and buy beer. However I manage to buy beer that isn’t of the special offer variety and so require a refund and beer that IS of the special offer variety. My continental friend finds this highly amusing. I do not. Anyway, the flat is finally within our reach! We get in sit down, turn on the wii and then the freezer lady arrives! PRAISE BE!!!!! The freezer is gone!

We drink beer and wave Wii remotes around our heads in an effort to urge the hammer throw that little bit further down the field when the washing machine man arrives! PRAISE BE! The mashing machine is fixed. I set the now rather smelly washing to rewash and convince my continental friend that we positively NEED to go drink beer and eat a burger at a local pub. I then recieve a call from my non continental house guest asking for my address and postcode. He then informs me he shall be arriving that very evening. “Oh” I say, “I didn’t think you were coming until tomorrow”. “No no” I am told, “I’m staying for two nights”. Oh alright then.

In summary – planning does you absolutely no good. Don’t bother because it never works out right.

Progress

The flat is immensely improved compared to the last time I was here. More items have been bought, more boxes have been unpacked and generally the place is looking like a home.

Small setback with the internet however. I don’t think we will have it until a week on Friday at the very earliest. That makes me a little annoyed and upset but I can’t make it go any faster so a week on Friday shall have to suffice. Luckily this internet cafe is cheap (only fifty pence per hour) and relatively convenient so it is not the end of the world. The lack of internet is making my job hunting somewhat problematic as there is no downloading allowed in here (for obvious reasons). This means hat I am unable to modify my contact details of my CV in order to email them out to prospective employers. So I am currently stuck with  a CV that has my old address on it. This would not be so bad if I could even temporarily save the CV on a machine here then re upload it to the job site but that is not allowed. Ah well.

I still have significant amounts of cleaning and sorting to do before I will be happy to receive our guests this weekend. For instance – today I have been tacking the disgusting job of changing the cooker hood filter. I know what kind of filter it needs and also purchased the right sort of bulbs so I have no excuse not to do it really. It’s just, well, the hood is FOUL. It’s thick with grease and grim for probably three years of cooking. I doubt very much it was cleaned or changed in all that time as it is truly revolting. If only I had the capability to upload a photo then you could all share my pain, but I do not, so you shall have to believe me when I say it is revolting.

I am enjoying the shower in the flat immensely. After a year of the jug and water method of washing hair, it is positively heavenly to stand under clean running water and wash. I have always disliked baths. It is in the end simply sitting in your own filth. Not my cup of tea.

Yet again my time run short. I can see my timer window beginning to tick down and I do not wish to lose my post to an ‘out of time’ message so I shall post it as it is.

Until next time