Monday, 24 January 2011

Has it been 2 weeks already?

Well doesn't 2 weeks fly by, it doesn't seem like it was only 14 days ago since i last updated. So where to begin, my memory is getting so bad these days lol.

I decided to start baking again so we could be healthy, and being as i've never made bread before i decided to make a wholemeal sundried tomato, sweet chilli and olive loaf which saying so myself was bloody lovely but by the time you've bought all the ingredients, taken 2 hours to make it and cost of gas it comes to 3 times the cost of a Mediteranean Loaf from Tesco, so why do people go through all that sticky finger muck, flour covered kitchen, leave it to rise next to their under pants in the airing cupboard hassle just to make fresh bread, what a pain, but i did have a sense of self satisfaction for making such a great tasting bread lol

While i was in Zakynthos my best buddy and Leeds supporter Dez contacted me about going to see The Cult (rock band) in Feb, now being as this was one of my all time fav bands there was no hesitation. So Feb the 18th came and off i went to Leeds which i must say is one of my favourite cities. You may know the band by the songs "she sells sanctuary" , "Rain" , " Revolution" , "Love Removal Machine" and many more. So, i made my way from Carmarthen to Leeds which wasn't to bad but 2 hour delay due to a horse that had been hit and killed on the track, Just run over it for good sake, tons of train can't move it? No wonder train travel is in such a state and don't get me started on the welsh rail network trains, Arriva Trains, whats the point in reserving a seat in a quiet compartment with a plug socket at a table when they don't have a quiet compartment, or plug sockets at tables and the don't even reserve seats anymore even though i did all the reservation procedures online when i booked the tickets but all the other networks do. I've also found a cunning plan that i use whenever i book a train journey. The train journey booked as a total journey came up as £128 but if you book each train seperate as single tickets its cheaper, so i booked from Carmarthen to Manchester then Manchester to Leeds and the same singles for the return journey and i saved, wait for it, £82, yep you read it right, tickets cost just £46. How can they charge so much for that journey booked as a complete journey when i was getting the exact same trains, CRAZY!

Got there in time for a bit of a rest, bite to eat then off to The Dry Dock pub to meet Dez, great pub, love it in there all rock music and rock type people. After that on too the Wetherspoons in Millenium Square where i was shocked to see a rapist, yes a rapist on the lose, i believe he lives in a place called Emerdale, very famous place i hear, well he had unwilling sex with his friends wife and there he was bold as brass having a beer in the bar, no wonder he was alone.

On to the o2 academy in Leeds and what a venue, think it holds between 1000-2000 people but it was such a nice size place with good sound, wherever you stood in the building it was like you were near the front of the stage, everything was clear to see and close up. They came on and did a few older tracks from when they were called Southern Death Cult and some new tracks but as soon as "She sells Sanctuary" started that was it down the front i went and in to the crush of the mosh pit (mosh pit-place where people go mental lol) I was expecting a few elbows in the face, couple of kicks on the shin, the odd fist in my mouth but i forgot one thing, we were all between 40-50 years old, Jumping up and down - no problem, pushing people around - no problem, lasting for longer than one song - no chance lol. It was really funny, if someone fell down a big circle would appear until someone picked them up then it would start again, if that was at a younger rock bands gig they would have been trampled over, after "she sells sanctuary" i was pumped up and ready for more but as i turned around all i could see were guys bent over puffing and panting trying to get their second breath, it looked like they were at the finishing line of the london Marathon haha. I got myself 2 T-shirts to wear in the bar this season and Duffy (not the welsh blond singer) threw his guitar pick in to the crowd and i got it woohoo! Anywhooo here are some pics from the amazing gig.

Booked in to hotel for the night and what a good price i got £25 for a night on the day, in advance you can get it for £18, ok it looks like a room from a luxury prison but it had all you need for somewhere to use as a base, i never spend much time in a hotel as there are better things outside to do no matter where you stay. This hotel is the Etap hotel and it was 2 mins walk from the edge of the town centre so couldn't fault it at all.

Dez stayed over as he missed his last bus so in the morning off we went to Leeds in door market for breakfast before we headed off to catch our trains but on the way who should we bump in to on the street but Adrian Chiles off Daybreak, ok what about the One Show? ok how about The Apprentice - Your Fired? well he was in Leeds for ITV coverage of Leeds v Arsenal anyway, so it was celebrity fest in Leeds lol.

I've only had one holiday in 12 years, yes i know i here you cry "you poor thing" well we decided to book a holiday. We were looking at Cyprus but we just couldn't find what we wanted (cheap haha) so we booked for Lanzarote leaving Wednesday as a friend said it was still hot when they went beginning of Jan and booze was dirt cheap, WayHay i'm there. Now i hate Spain, i hate the ignorance, i've worked in a few resorts around Spain and their islands, also been on the odd holiday to it but never been entirely happy wherever i've ended up, not like Greece, i've loved everywhere i've worked and been on holiday in Greece. Have never been to Lanzarote so going there with a clean slate and open mind but i have heard it called "Lanzagrotty" and i saw that "My big fat gypsy wedding" went there for a hen night, so it didn't fill me with joy. Never look at reviews as i just like to go and make my own mind up on the hotel and resort, as we all know everyone is different but i am now really excited to be going, lets hope Helen can find way to airport this time, bloody crappy satnav haha.

Sunday, so now we're right up to date, i decided to take my direct access motorbike test, i have to own up i've been riding on an old licence and times have changed but god that change costs. In all this licence could cost me all together at the most £600, bloody hell my bike in the UK cost me that. So it was a full day on a bike, started off on a 125cc doing basic technique, no problem, so the instructor decided to up the bike to a 650cc, did the same training, no problem, he said my handling was perfect of both bikes, so he decided to go straight to the roads. This is where the fun started. I haven't been on a UK road in 6 years on a bike, i haven't been above 40mph on Zakynthos as never seen a sign on a road thats above that speed limit and i abide by the laws, well maybe not all. There are hardly any road signs on the island, definately no roundabouts and traffic lights may as well not be there lol So we took a ride out with me following the instructor to our destination, it felt good, i was calm and enjoyed the ride but on the way back i had to take the lead aaaaggggh! So i had an earpiece in listening to his instructions, while concentrating on my riding and also having to use new techniques, my head was shot to pieces. Also he stopped me to go practice emergency stops and told me i had the most awkward riding style he'd ever seen and i could get failed on it on my main test but its what i'm used to riding like ever since i was 16, only come off twice in all those years so it can't be that bad. So now i have that on my mind also, god help me lol. We get to our destination and i tell him its the first time in 6 years since i've been on a UK road, well, you could see the blood drain from his face, you see at this point i should still be on a 125cc on the road while practicing but because of my perfect control with both bikes he left me on the 650cc, perhaps i should have mentioned that before we left the training ground haha. Great news though, i passed my first test, Theory test on Valentines day then my MODII test a week later but i'll be very honest i'm more worried about my riding now than before i passed. Will have to confront my fears but it is playing on my mind, i need a holiday LOL

The Kawasaki 650 i was riding, boy did it shift.

So thats it again for another fortnight so will update again after our well deserved hols, well i think i deserve it, see yah'll, have a nice day now you hear!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! This is a long update so get settled LOL

Yes, yes, i know its a bit late for the Merry Christmas but thought i'd wait and update both at same time just in case i got drunk over the chrimbo period haha.

So lets start with finishing work. Well, i left toys are us on the morn of christmas eve and up till then i had had a pig of a week due to the sodding snow, buses cancelled, 6 inches of snow, temps of -10 and then having to walk back and forth to work around 4 miles each way, with frozen hair, frozen toes and frozen ...... well no need to explain those parts, lets just say they shrunk quicker than the incredible shrinking man. On the first morning it snowed heavy it was so cool just me walking about at 7am without a soul to be seen, like Charlton Heston in "The Omega Man" or Will Smith in "I am Legend" (same film but remake not as good) as i approached my house there was the sign of life so i took a pic just to prove i wasn't the only idiot out in it.

My mother always loves christmas escpecially the decorations, from when i was a little boy (not much taller now) she used to dress up the house from top to bottom and decorate the windows and since we've moved to the new house and me being 31 years older she still has the same enthusiasm. The house is lit up like Santas grotto and the tree is not one of these ready decorated put up in 2 minute jobs with lights and baubles attached she puts every decoration on individually herself. Well done Mum i say, me myself id buy a twig wrap tinsle around it and job done LOL.

Helen joined us for christmas this year from christmas eve through to boxing day so we had another person to pull crackers with not just the dog, that damn dog always gets the prize end. I was totally exhausted on christmas eve so wasn't much company to anyone, i think the whole year had taken its toll on me what with working 9 months with only 6 days off and the medical tests i had, so i was looking forward to christmas day.

Christmas day came and my i was a lucky boy, lots of clothes which is great, the best DVD ever off Helen "An idiot abroad" is she trying to tell me something? A record player (remember them) that plugs in to your computer so i can put all my vinyl on MP3 and loads of food from M & S and i was lucky enough to get that M & S Christmas bombe cake with orange syrup centre (not that crap Heston Blumenthal one), they had sold out every morning 5 minutes after the store opened so i was determined to get one. I was late for the doors to open so rushed to food section and saw a sea of blue rinses crowding the dessert section, as they were just smaller than me i forced my way through throwing walking sticks and shower hoods behind me as i went and got to the top shelf where only 3 were left. Just as i was reaching for them i saw a little fragile old lady stretching to get one and i needed 2 so without a thought and being a gentleman i grabbed the worst looking pudding pushed it to back of shelf and grabbed the other 2 for myself and left the fragile old lady fight the others for it, well its dog eat dog world these days hehe.

I forget days of when we did things but we had a few drinks out in the daytimes, went to see "Little Fockers" at the cinema, my advice about anyone going to see it, STAY THE FOCK AWAY! its awful haha. I endulged in food after christmas having a Pizza Hut stuffed edge pizza, a delivery mixed keebab, went out for a lunchtime meal in a village pub next to a river (not all in same day of course), lovely little place and basically put on 5lb in weight but it will soon drop off now back to healthy eating again, always does.

New years eve was a bit of dilema, i'm not a christmas/new years person and most new years since i was 16 i've worked as a DJ in a club somewhere, i think ive only had 3 new years off since then as someone usually gives me a call to go a play somewhere but since i moved and changed numbers you lose touch with people, last year went to London as you all know and was great. this year it was either Cardiff, Swansea or Carmarthen, i know culture capitols or what LOL So we decided to stay in instead which ended up being a great idea as it was all warm and cosy and watched the new year in with my "An idiot abroad" DVD. Helen and i were crying with laughter, i haven't laughed so much since Phil (of Janice & Phil fame) drank 7 Amstels in Oceanic. If you haven't seen it (the DVD that is not Phil) then get it its brilliant, funniest thing i've watched in years. I also have the book of the show its Karl Pilkingtons diaries of his travels which a customer of mine called Malc bought for my birthday last year as it was his birthday on same day.

Now carmarten is a lovely place, bit small, everyones related and as i've said numerous times they speak that funny language, WELSH! So in this close knit little town they do things a bit different, Boxing Day is the big christmas night out and instead of New Years Eve being the big one its the night of New Years Day which i find a bit odd but who am i to question the villagers. So we went out New Years Day night for a couple of drinks. Started off in what i class as my local in Carmarthen called "Rose and Crown" it wasn't as good as during the daytime when i go in there, it was a bit loud on all fronts. You had a disco at the back of bar blasting out to the front, all the TV's had sound turned fully up for the rugby at the same time and some of the people were louder still, i actually thought the one woman was talking through a megaphone haha but the bar was getting quite busy so we moved on. On to most probably the best looking bar there but not the best bar "Diablos", a cocktail, guess how much? £5.50 (THUD) sorry i just fainted, how much? £5.50 (THUD) sorry for a moment there i thought you said £5.50 for a cocktail with only a double measure in it. I've paid less for a cocktail in my favourite bars in London. So after one swift drink we left and headed to "The Queens". Now i got in a bit of trouble the last time i wrote about my visit here as i thought it was an Emerdale Woolpack theme pub but i will be honest again about it, it was the best bar of the night and was very happy in there. They still have the old style set up of Lounge and Bar areas, music not to loud in the lounge so people could talk and very friendly staff and customers. They have also had a bit of a refurb since my last visit, they had changed a light bulb that wasn't working the last time and got 2 flat screen TV's in lounge but my favourite bit is still there in the bar, the tv you need to change channel with a stick like before remote controls were around. So after a drink in there we headed home but was a good night in all.

So now bang up to date, yesterday. Went on bit of a day out, roads were dead so took ourselves off to Cardiff where i took Helen for a walk of where i had spent my misplaced childhood. It wasn't exciting for me as i lived it but Helen thought it was great to see where i used to live, where i used to go camping, where i used to get free cakes from the sunblest bakery, where the corner shop was still like Arkwrights Open all Hours, where i went to school, where i set fire under a neighbours car, where i threw a firework through a neighbours letterbox, where i smashed a neighbours window with a catapult (not all the same neighbour), where i was accused of stealing 12 Raleigh bikes from, where my father caught me with a bottle of cider and a cigarette at the age of 6, awwww happy days LOL Also i taught Helen a bit of history that was made just 25 houses away from where i grew up. In 1946 Cardiff was meant to hold the Empire Games (now the commonwealth) but due to the WWII it was cancelled until 12 years later and the stadium they built for the 1946 games is at the top of my street.

From there on to Cardiff shopping centre but only stayed an hour as it was freezing and snow started to come in so we headed off to Swansea to go for food at the highest Bar and Restaurant in a building in Swansea and maybe even in Wales. Its called the "Grape and Olive" the restaurant has an italian feel menu and wine list but there are problems. First of all we were met by a lady on ground floor, didnt look happy but we asked if we could go up to restaurant she said yes but restaurant tables are full but we could wait in bar with a drink, so off we went to lift up 28 floors to restaurant.When we reached the top there was no one there at door reception desk to welcome us or to ask if we were eating, we waited but nothing so we went to bar. There was no knowing of which tables were the restaurants or which were the bars as all tables had Salt & Pepper grinders on them. We sat at an empty table which had used glasses left on it. I bought drinks and sat down. I approached the restaurant manageress about eating and she told me there wasn't any restaurant tables free but would come to see me when one was free. The problem was we couldn't tell what were eating tables and what weren't so we waited, 15 mins later, still no contact and she walked past us 3 times, still used empty glasses on table and noticed 2 other tables still had used empty glasses on them since we arrived. Its says on its website dinning for 220 people but at the most maybe 40 were eating. Absolutely lovely place and amazing views but really poor service and set up. They should have the areas sperated for eating and drinking but it was chaos. Even down to the barman, i asked for a Martini and he didn't even ask the simple qustion "which would you like?" he just poured out a Rosso and which in fact is the least popular of the Martinis so he poured that one is beyond me. By the time we had left which was maybe 30 mins later the manageress still hadn't approached me not even with a sorry. Anyway i will try it again but maybe midweek so its dead in there that way i may get some service. Here is the view anyway from the town side, the other side looks out across the Severn and who wants to see the sight of crappy brown sea LOL.

So this update has taken me 1 3/4 hours to do, thats crazy, i must learn to type faster. So now i need a rest, see you all in 2 weeks, tatty bye everybody, tatty bye.