January 2005 Archives

The New GTI

Golf Mk5 GTI
After the weekend my car reached fame, by being the focus of a local dealers GTI launch, you may remember the promise of a new GTI for a long weekend.

Well, I missed this Sunday's repeat of the Clarkson opinion on Top Gear. But thankfully, as it had become a point of discussion in our office (the bosses bosses boss is thinking of getting one), and was reminded it's repeated again tonight - excellent :-D

I'd actually forgotten that Jeremy had voted the original GTI, the MK1, as the Car of The Century back in 1999. And I'd also forgotten probably the best quote for a car I've heard him give in a long time:

"So you can take the children to school, comfortably, safely and practically, and then once you've dropped them off, drive home like you've sat on a wasp"
If it's as much fun as driving my 21 year old to work in the morning as he seems to suggest, maybe, just maybe, it could be the car to tempt me away from driving my Pocket Rocket ;-)


As some of you more eager Monday morning readers may have noticed today the deletetheweb site went down. A big bang and smoke could be seen from afar.

Thankfully, Jonathan, our landlord here, all round good egg, and fellow Yorkshireman, was straight in there to sort things out, and, at least for the short time, things are back to some sort of normality :-D :-D

Be warned that it'll be up and down over the week as the rubber bands and sticky-back plastic that are holding it together are replaced with something more sturdy ;-)

So, in the meantime, here's some music.....

Spring Clean

So after yesterday's day recovering from the night before, today's been a day of cleaning and sorting. The house has returned to something like normal, and after a few selective text's I've now got some idea of where and what ;-)

It also appears that I'm off out for a curry on Tuesday for those wishing to join us. The Bombay in the Old Town does a buffet dinner that evening for about £10-12, so it should be a good un.

Off to finish the washing and sort out some food, now that I feel ready to eat again :-D

The Birthday Bash

So, straight from work to the curry house, a lunchtime curry and drinks, followed by the short walk to the pub for more drinks, merriment, and work-related banter, even if talking about work did get a slap from the wooden spoon (you don't want to know :-O).

Alison and Mandy from work turned up, along with Gareth and Nicky, and a few of the guys disappeared off home. And then....

...but couldn't work out how you could, since there is so little room in the disabled loo's....:-O

A big surprise was Shaun turning up. He's been on a long trip around New Zealand, and only recently got back. Out with the photo's and he was soon filling us in on his goings on....

... a Jack Daniels and coke to finish off the night...;-)

....the Castle brothers in The Proverbial, along with Matt, an old friend I've not seen in at least 2-3 years :-D.

Chris and Yuen eventually tracked us down, and joined us for a drink.

...thankfully Shaun was driving so it only took us a few minutes to get over to....

....Martina and Tara in Exchange bar, before...

I woke up this afternoon, in bed, feeling achy and tired. There's a pile of pizza boxes and plates in the kitchen, and a very happy cat munching on the leftovers. So, if you can fill in any of the above gaps, please let me know :-O

Not Long Now

Only today left before the weekend is here!

Been training all week with Primavera, teaching a variety of courses to the masses. Was planning on it being the last session, but looking at the numbers of drop outs and no-turnups, I'll have to repeat it at least one more time before Easter.

The thing keeping me going tho, is knowing tomorrow's Friday, and I'll be out for the afternoon and evening celebrating my birthday (which is on the 1st Feb for those who've been asking ;-) ).

In case I've not managed to let you know, we're out down the Old Town from 2:30pm at the Marquis, then off to the Hogshead in New Town for around 6pm. Then it's a case of gathering the troops and heading off for a night in Chicago's :-D

As always, pics will be published, where allowed, so if you can't make it along for the full night, read all about it here on Monday ;-)

The End

I dreaded the day I'd see this entry, as I'm sure many people dreaded seeing the final entry on Jules Weblog, but it seems that Ivan's reached that point in his life fighting the brain tumour.

It's been a great support to me, and others, being able to read his thoughts, stories on the struggles, highs and lows.

He makes a plea, which I can fully back, that for those people with cancer who are fortunate to understand what made them ill, if reading the diary, or even Jules Weblog, they decide to stop smoking and live, it soon becomes all worthwhile.

I have a lot of admiration for what he has done, and wish him the best now, and into whatever the future holds. A book of his diary is to be published, and I'll be keeping my eyes out for it.

Big Party Bash

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Last night was our night out celebrating what would've been Jules 30th. The plan, to have the Southern families down to the Beefeater and eat, drink and be merry.

Didn't expect to see my Mum there, so that was a bit of a surprise. And she brought her card with her, and filled the tables with wine. So VERY merry was I !

Pics of the night in the extended bit, as always

What A Load of Nuts!

News on the BBC this lunchtime:

Peanuts rich in 'good chemicals'

So it seems that peanuts are good for you in many ways. I remember the first time I caught this thought, watching Hitchhikers. And now it seems the scientific community have agreed, as well as coming up with lots of other good reasons.

Of course, this doesn't mean a bag whilst having a pint will make up for the unhealthy side. It's the nuts we feed the birds we should be eating, not the ones doused in salt and fat!

Happy Birthday Jules

It's Jules birthday today :-(

I always muddled it up with the 19th. And Jules would always call me up on it, correcting me as if I really had forgotten.

We're all off out this Saturday, a Southern family gathering. Hopefully we won't demolish the pub like before.

Time To Party

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It'll be Jules birthday on Thursday. She'd have been 30. And so we're all going to go out for a meal on Saturday. We've mentioned it to as many people as we can, but if you've not been told, and you'd like to come along, please drop me an email.

And, in a couple of weeks, in an attempt to make me feel better for being 30+3, I'm organising a big night out around Stevenage's numerous drinking establishments, culminating in a night in Chicago's. Starts at 2pm, so there's plenty of opportunity to drop in, or stay out for the night. Let me know if you're coming along so I can fill you in on the final details. And there should be crashing space at our house if you plan on making a night of it.

Feeling Sorry

Sitting at home, full of cold now, feeling sorry for myself.

Went up to the cemetry on Sunday before getting my car back. Hard to realise another month's passed, Christmas but a glimmer in the distance.

A friend popped round last night, on the off chance I'd be in. Wasn't sure if I'd even moved. Asking about how I was, how's it going, work and the like. And I'd said, yeah, all's as good as can be expected, you know, the usual response to ensure you don't get asked any deeper, emotional questions.

So, how do I feel? Difficult to say. At the moment, very emotional, tired, and exhausted. But that's probably more to do with the flu than anything else. Lonely? I suppose so, but then so many of my friends are making sure that that's a rare thing. I know from looking at the bank balance and the diary that I'm out and about most weekends doing something, going out somewhere.

I guess the scariest thing is seeing time ticking away and realising it's only 4 months before it'll be a year since Jules went. And looking back on it all and remembering how perfect everything was, and how f^&@ed up it became. What was the point? What was the reason? And why did something have to steal someone so precious?


Managed to get into work today, but I'm struggling to keep awake and motivated. Seems to come in fits and bursts. I reckon I won't see far beyond 4pm. As for tomorrow, wait and see.

It's Finally Happened

Starting to feel really rough. The flu I've been fighting, and watching others get, seems to be hitting me now. Shivers, feverish feelings, most of this afternoon. Maybe it's a delayed hangover, but it feels more and more like a cold.

Off for an early night, after a bath and Lemsips. Then drag myself into work for the first full day in the new office.

Birthday Party

Went out around Hitchin last night for Alison's birthday, a friend from work. She's getting on these days, and will soon be hitting 30. Which I've taken time to remind her on doubtless many occasions. After all, that's what friends are for ;-)

Not remembering what Hitchin can be like for a night out, it was a real shock walking into the Corn Exchange. It used to be a place for music, beer, and drink. But it seems they've ripped out the central bar, and put in Bottle Bars around the side. A big dance floor fills the centre now, and it costs to get in. The net effect being that it's harder to get a drink, and despite the fridges, everything's lukewarm. Maybe I wasn't drunk enough, but it didn't feel like the place it used to be.

Otherwise a good night out, chance to catch up on things, and have my first kebab of the year ;-) Mmmmmmm, kebabs :-p

Shiny New Car!

As I'd mentioned earlier in the week, one of the local VW dealers wanted to borrow the Golf for the GTI launch this weekend. So this afternoon I popped down there to drop the car off, and collect my car for the weekend, a Polo Twist :-D

Getting over the ins and outs of a newer car, "These buttons here are for electric windows, and replace those big handles on your car...", it was quite an experience driving back out of London in something that didn't feel every bump and knock on the road. Getting onto the A1(M) however did have me hankering for my GTI. Don't get me wrong, the air-con, electric everything, ABS, power steering, all nice luxuries. But for sheer fun to drive, the little 3 cylinder 1.2 litre engine really had nothing to offer. If I was constantly running around town, dodging the potholes, this would be a car to have. In fact, I reckon Jules would have loved having a go around Stevenage in this little number. But I'm looking forward to getting the Pocket Rocket back on Sunday, after it's had a professional valet and polish ;-)

Best of all tho, will be in a few months when I get my hands on a Mk5 GTI for a long weekend, can't wait :-D)

On The Move Again!

About once a year on average I move desks. Sometimes around the corner, and like today, to a completly different building. I reckon it's to keep us on our toes. Getting settled into your environment isn't what they want ;-)

The good side to this move is that it brings the whole of the Project Management functional team together at last. Oh, and I've got to sit with my boss and my bosses boss, and also across the way from my bosses bosses boss.

Better stop writing this and get on with some work, and sorting my new desk out. Oh and unpacking the stack of boxes containing my working career history ;-)

You Know You've Made It When...

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you put your name into Google and come out 8th in the list ;-)

Even more funny is putting in "primavera 4.1" ;-)


News in today's Guardian:
If you're a bloke reading this, be warned, it's painful...:-(

Drink Olive Oil

News on the BBC:

BBC NEWS Health Olive oil acid 'cuts cancer risk'

Having made the switch to using olive oil several years ago, I was quite surprised how much of a difference in taste and cooking when, over Christmas, I had to use normal vegetable oil. Urgh, it was greasy, tasted fatty, yuck! Suffice to say I've restocked a selection of weird and wonderful ASDA varieties, including Extra Virgin, which, despite the label, actually DOES taste different to the normal stuff.

Zzzzzz Sleepy Weekend

After getting back from the footy yesterday, I dragged the duvet downstairs, got out the sofa bed, grabbed some nibbles from the kicthen, and watched Jackie Brown on telly. Well, I say watched, as I kept dozing off. In fact, I've been curled up down there since, and only come upstairs to check the mail, post this, and see what the cat's shreading.

Must've needed the sleep, and it seems to have worked the trick as far as the shivers last night, as I feel somewhat human again.

What A Night!

Cracking night out last night, yet another corking evening of drink, frivolity, and music.

Got over to Potton very quickly, trying to follow Nicky (you're a manic driver :-O), quickly dumped our gear, then down the Royal Oak in time for the band starting. Great night, bumped into someone I've not seen for over 8 years, (hello Rich ;-)), and discovered the most expensive Vokda Red Bull in the world (£4.50 for the Red Bull alone :-O)

Wine, song, and good company, saw the evening slowly disappear into a drunken haze. Didn't get to sleep 'til 4:30am, having eaten someone out of house and home, met the madest dog in the world, tried to defend us blokes in an arguement about men being crap, and discovered lavendar growing in the garden.

Left Potton and it's broken fences just after lunch, straight over to the footy with Sy, and am now at home trying to defrost myself. Think I'll have a radox bath and some lemsip, I feel a chill coming on :-(

No Aching?

Well, after last night I feel quite refreshed physically. Mentally I'm mush, too much beer. I've been told I'm obviously not exurting myself enough, so will have to look at a programme of exercise on Monday.

Anyway's, lots on today. I'm off to show my car to one of the local VW dealers this afternoon. They may want it for the new GTI launch next weekend, which would be quite cool. And then it's meeting up for tea with a friend from work, then over to Potton for a night of beer and rock!

Back Into The Swing

Trying really hard to get into the swing of things again, after the long and well received break for Christmas. Spent a bit of time grabbing coffee in our atrium, catching up on the gossip, what everyone's been upto over the holiday, and somehow getting ropped into restarting the gym.

So, I'm off for my assessment this evening, then over to Stotfold for a beer and curry night at Gareth's local. Well, I've got to reward myself for all the energy I'm going to be burning on the treadmill ;-)

Ivan's New Year

Ivan's into the New Year with news of his thoughts on the disaster in Southern Asia. It's frightening watching the reports and video coming out of the area, of something that you'd only ever imagine happening in a film. The speed of the water is horrific, and the damage unimaginable.

One of Jules' cousins is over there, and thank goodness is safe and well on the other side of Thailand. I know his mum and dad are planning on going over there soon. Hopefully things will be sorted quickly. What is warming is the huge worldwide public response to the disaster. I hope this marks the beginning of a change in people's views of the world and its problems. Maybe we'll see a worldwide move to helping those less fortunate than ourselves. That would be an achievement for 2005, now, wouldn't it!

Power Cut!

Just back online having had a power cut. Annoying as it looks like I've lost all the entries I was doing. So don't be surprised if there's lots of blanks when you look today. Best come back tomorrow, press the ctrl key and F5 (Refresh) at the same time and, electricity permitting, it'll all be there.

Disturbing as that's at least 4 in the last 12 months, and it's only the 4th day of the New Year!

Alone At Last

Nige & Ian have disappeared off home to Hull and silence once again descends on the house. And after a busy noisey week it's nice having the place back to myself.

Everyone was asking over the holiday period whether I like being here on my own. Was having someone around something I missed? Not really, after all, there's Spitfire, and he's not one for keeping himself to himself! No, the thing I miss more than anything in the world is a cuddle. A hug, sweet and simple. Sure, I miss not having Jules around the place, but the biggest thing I miss is her cuddles. So over the Christmas period I've been having a whale of a time, as everyone I know's been grabbing me and hugging me, it's that time of year I suppose. So, if you're short of a New Years resolution, can I suggest giving more hugs. It's amazing how powerful they can be.

Last Time

Great day over at Lynn and Lauries, catching up with everyone, and eating FAR too much :-D

Quick dash home, took an hour, coz tonights the last night for Nige and Ebo before they run back home ready for work, :-(

Nige's lips have calmed down, so he's in the mood to go out and see the world once more. So it's off out for the last night for da bruvs before their journey homeward. Gotta dash :-D

Thrapston & Chubby Lips

Off to Lynn and Lauries today, or at least that was the plan. Nige's lips reacted badly to some of the breakfast pate it would seem, and he became a stand-in for Mr T. Needless to say he wasn't all that impressed, and neither Ian or myself could keep a straight face.

So just me and Janet are going over. I'm driving, so Janet can have a little tipple :-D

Start As You Mean To Go On

Spent the whole day without getting dressed, and for a large amount of the morning, without getting out of bed! Nige and Ian did pop out to get food and a little shopping, but I've had the entire day in the house. And more of these days will be had in the coming year! True lazy, doss days.

Nige's thrown together a chilli from all the leftovers from last night, and it's been bubbling away all day. In fact the smell is getting unbearable, so I'm off to eat!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

I've been listening to the latest album from the Beautiful South, Golddiggas, Headnodders & Pholk Songs. Bought it as I'd mentioned, on Thursday's trip to London. And there's track 3, quite catchy, and appropriate I think.... See what you think if you get chance to buy or download it. Or catch it whilst being whisked around in the Pocket Rocket ;-)

About Alan Bell

Lapsed: electronic engineer, scout leader, project controller.
Now: Oracle Primavera training consultant, business support manager, occasional website designer.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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