April 2005 Archives

Late Spring Clean

Chose to spend the day in the house. So much so that I didn't even unlock the front door :-O

Lots and lots sorted through, stuff I'd not wanted to do before today. 2 large bags of paperwork and stuff for the tip. And several clear draws and shelfs for more stuff out of the other rooms to be moved into here and out of the way ;-)

Been quite emotional at times. Reading through stuff, and remembering when and what happened. Lots of photo's I'd not realised I had, which brought back lots more good memories.

In many ways, a trip down memory lane. Some of the stuff from waaay back I didn't even realise I'd kept. Stuff you must think at the time will one day prove useful, and never does. So lots of that has gone out, to be donated and recycled.

Off now for a relaxing bath, and then see what's on telly. Although I suspect it'll be a DVD night again, since there doesn't seem to be anything worthwhile on normal tv. And I'm not spending more money for digital when I hardly watch telly as it is. Plus, and this is a work plug, I'm sooooooo busy at the mo', I can't find the time to watch tv ;-)

Golf Afternoon

Another opporunity to have a go around the course at Stevenage, with the gang from the office. Started a bit late, an accident on the main road out of Stevenage held up traffic. And there I was, having taken the day off, thinking I could impress everyone with my earlier than normal arrival. Owh, well, best laid plans and all that :-D

Managed to get over to the bench this morning. And enjoyed a good 1/2 hour sitting in the sunshine. So was really looking forward to the afternoon round the 18 hole course.

Started off badly, but picked up as I went along. A couple of blinding drives, and many quality putts on the green. All down to the excellent Mr Older's clubs no doubt, which are on permanent storage at my new Golf Club storage facility. Well, he would go and buy a sports car after I'd borrowed them, and can't fit them in the boot no more ;-)

Spent the evening around at Jules old work friends, Celia, with her husband, Bill, and Janet, having dinner. Full english roast, lamb and lots of veggies. Mmmmmmm :-D Soon found myself stiffening up tho when we'd finished and retired to the living rooms for coffees, so really glad to be home and nearly in bed now. It's surprising how tiring Golf can be. Really looking forward to my lazy day at home. First thing will be a Radox bath to sort the muscles out tho ;-)

Another Seminar

Tessa and Yana turned up tonight for the seminar. Something the Forum Grads can do. Was really nice seeing them both again, and talking about all that's been happening. We're planning another dinner date, and Tessa's on the case. She's really getting into the swing of communication. And with her soon to be announced travel plans, there's going to be more parties and gatherings in the offing :-D

I'm also finding them supportive, more so as it gets nearer and nearer to the 17th May. Made a realisation this evening about how angry the arrival of the bench had made me, and how silly that actually was. Okay, the money was a shock, but it's what I'd been asking for since September. And now it's here, before time, it's going to be soooo much nicer sitting up there.

I've a little montage of pictures laminated to go up there, and I'll take some piccies soon and post them up so you can see what it looks like. And if you ever fancy popping up and are not sure where it is, just let me know.

Big Bird Fly's

The new big Airbus flew today, news was soon running around work, everyone eager to see the flight video.

It's a HUGE aircraft when you're up close, and I can imagine it'll be a sight to see in the flesh. Hopefully they'll manage to get it to Paris this year, although the latest news is that the test programme won't allow time to do any flights that week. Which will be a shame.

Now, I wonder if I can sort out any trips to Toulouse in the next few months ;-)

Burns Has Surgery

Richard Burns
After mentioning back in November 2003 on Jules Weblog about Richard Burns being diagnosed with a brain tumour I've been keeping an eye on his official site on his progress through the treatment. He was in hospital early last year, and seemed to be on his way to recovery, with a story in November of last year on the BBC:

Today there was an announcement of further surgery, something I know is not always a good sign:

No more news anywhere else, and his official site seems to have had the news section removed.

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed tightly today.


Sorted the plaque for the bench up at the cemetery. It should mean that the bench will be up there soon, in time for the summer sunshine and quiet evenings just sitting and enjoying being.

We've decided on the following verse, which should just about fit on the plaque. It'll be a squeeze, but sums things up very well I think:

Julie Anne-Page (Jules) 1975 - 2004
We thought of you with love today, but that is nothing new,
We thought about you yesterday and days before that too.
We think of you in silence, we often speak your name,
All we have is memories, and your picture in a frame.
Your memory is our keepsake, with which we'll never part.
God has you in His keeping, we have you in our hearts.

The Weekend

Well, it would normally be at this point that I'd fill you in on what happened this weekend at Ruth and Phil's wedding. Except I've got big gaps in the weekend's proceedings, shortly after I started drinking Stella... ;-)

Spent Friday night round at Phil's, making sure he didn't go for a beer. Well, that's the official line, and we're sworn to secrecy as to what really happened. There's an empty bottle of Jameson's, and Sy won, which he never usually does apparently.

On to the day itself, and it started off well, the weather holding out, and the sun shining bright. Everything went to plan, Sy chief ushering, and the bride arriving on time. Then it was off to the reception and the party :-D

The reception and meal was fantastic. Geoff didn't let us down, with a long and humorous speech as father to the bride. I can't remember laughing so much in a long time, and copies of the speech will soon be winging their way around the email ;-)

Dinner over, we retired to the lobby, and checked in. Then, a quick change and back in time for the bar and arrival of the evening guests. Conversations with someone who's a close friend of Abi Titmus, (she was a VERY popular lady I can tell you), a rather nice New Zealand friend of Ruth's who's planning to travel the world on her way back home. Owh, and the hairdresser girls, who entertained me, Sy, and Geoff with their rhythm and dancing in the "disco room" until the wee small hours. Must sort out my haircut in Cambridge soon ;-)

As to exact details, like how I got back to my room, and when did I actually stop drinking, I can't remember. I've had the hangover from hell today, like someone had hit me with a baseball bat. But that might've been from falling over several times on the dance floor. I have to apologise for anything I did do, and if anyone can fill in the blanks, email the usual address. Photo's appreciated!


Well, that's me back from Italy after a long day and night of travel and meetings. The flight over was delayed due to the weather, so I didn't get chance to have a look around. However, the hotel room that Leah sorted out (see pics in extended bit), and bar made up for the late arrival ;-)

Day went by quickly, and I was soon flying back. Landed, ran thro passport control, found the car, and was in the snooker club by 10:30, to meet up with the lads. And it was a bit corny answering the question as to why I was in me work clothes with, "Oh, yes, well I've just flown in from Rome this evening...." Won't repeat what Chris n Stu said to that ;-)

Making Changes

Spent most of this evening online, sorting out all the background stuff on the weblog and website. Jules Weblog is now formatted in line with this site, and should be easier to move across to the new Movable Type as and when. More importantly was deleting reams and reams of tracking spam, something that's becoming more and more prevalent on this site :-(

MSN is really cool, spent a while this evening catching up with Tessa from the Advanced course, what she's been up to. And over the last few days I've managed to catch up with a few others, including Rachel. Top curry and chips in Stevenage, so I'm told. Will have to sort out a night out soon and get everyone together again ;-)

Time for bed now, though. Off to Rome tomorrow, so need to pack and get an early night tonight. Can't wait, although after this evening's news it might be a bit busier than first planned.

Catching Up

So, after all that fun and excitement today's been a day of catching up. Talking to people, sharing news, cutting the grass, shopping, and most importantly, enjoying Spring.

I spent a while up at the cemetery, in the sunshine. Smiling and telling Jules all the things that have been happening. They're also putting down the flagstones in preparation for the bench. We'll have to start putting some pennies aside for that and chasing up the Cemetery for the order. And getting ready with the wood preservative, eh lads ;-)

It's 11 months today. Frightening thought. Still wondering where the time's gone. Spent a bit of time at home, had a little cry whilst sorting a few bits and bobs out in the back room. Didn't last too long tho. The phone started ringing, and after a couple of conversations with Sy about his hangover from last night, and Becky and her car boot finds, I was smiling again.

Can't hang around on the pc too long now. I've promised myself fish and chips and a cool beer in the back garden whilst the sun's still shining, so I'd better get off and do it before it goes away ;-) And before you start, I've lost enough weight to allow myself this luxury. And if Jules makes it rain, I'll scream ;-)

Stag Do

After Friday's concert, it was on and upward yesterday. First, an important match for Stevenage Boro, a chance to get into the playoffs so I was told. And after a long time of very little, with only a few minutes before we had to head off to Cambridge, they scored. And scored. Match report here.

So, with Sy in a buoyant mood, we ran off to the station for our big lads night out with the Stag.

And what a night :-D Can't really go into much detail, law of the Stag you see. But suffice to say the "Stress Boobs" and "Instant Girlfriend" went down a storm. And I'd forgotten just how great a night out in Cambridge can be. The ladies were sooo friendly and chatty, although that might have had more to do with the attire attracting attention, rather than anything else.

And the fun didn't end there. On the way home I ended up in Welwyn North :-O Which isn't too bad, except it's in the middle of no-where and I was on one of the last trains. But I got home eventually. Must remember NOT to fall asleep on the last train home ;-)

Promotion No. 2

After Thursday's great news for me, it's only fitting that the next promotion news is that Hull City are now on their way up into the Coca Cola Championship, or Division 1 for those old enough to remember The Clangers ;-)

Of course, that means we'll probably come back down next season, since this run of good luck has to stop soon. Saying that, I could be eating my hat and find the Tigers playing the Premiership. What a possibility. I can but dream, can I?

Rock n Roll, Yorkshire Style!

Went to see Terrorvision last night, down in London. Alison, friend from work, had an extra ticket, and since I've not been to a concert for over 9 years, asked me along for some louder than my normal taste of music ;-)

Very loud, but very good. Really cracking night, and a chance to rock my socks off. Only snag is, I'm now completely deaf, something Gareth noticed when I popped into work this morning and found me ignoring his questions ;-)

I've some pics which I might publish, but to be honest you'd not really be able to see or guess what they are. I might wait until some proper pics appear on the web, and link to them instead.


It's that time of year when we get to find out our pay awards. The usual, nervous point of the year, waiting for the boss to call you off into a side room and deliver the bad news. So after Tony, my department head, had had his chat with my line manager, Mike, it wasn't long before I was called in yesterday afternoon for our chat. I wasn't expecting much, beyond another raft of targets and discussion about what I wanted to achieve over the coming year.

Well, I've been bowled over this year :-D I've been promoted :-D And a payrise as well :-D

Not at all what I expected, and a complete surprise :-D Which led nicely into my objective setting for the year. And yes, you've guessed it, I was so surprised with the promotion, I've agreed to everything. Except I can't actually remember what my objectives are. I'll be reading them very carefully come next week when it's published, make sure Mike and Tony haven't snuck something in whilst I wasn't concentrating ;-)

So, beers are on me this weekend lads :-D

Don't Panic!

Story on the BBC Online News site about the Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy:

BBC NEWS Technology Hitchhiker's guide in your pocket

The mobile version can be found at H2G2 The Guide.

I remember first meeting Douglas Adams at a science fair with Jonathan. We bumped into him whilst trying to find the venue. He was running around, trying to work out where it was, the same as us. The conversation went something like this:

DA: "Where's the lecture theatre for the such-and-such talk?"
Us: "Oh, we're going there, Douglas Adams is speaking"
DA: "Yes, I know, I'm Douglas Adams, how do you do."

The TV series was a big part of childhood, I think the original tape it was recorded onto wore out from the constant viewing.

The new film is due out in May, so I'll be making sure I've my Orange Wednesday tickets sorted for that :-D

& Beyond

Just perusing Jonathan's blog, and following a link to our old 6th Form, they've started an alumni programme. Hurrah! Will be registering for this once I've five minutes at home in front of the PC.

Looking around the site things have changed lots since we were there. The canteen looks like you could actually enjoy a variety of meals, and there seems to be lots and lots more facilities.

Ahh, happy days :-D


Jumping around the BBC site at lunchtime, found some news on cancer research that looks encouraging:

BBC News Online: Test to spot if cancer has spread

It looks like they're now able to test for cancer using a system that doesn't require the usual tissue sampling, and so presumably reducing the need for a sometimes painful operation to get a sample for analysis.

Dramatic End to A Blowout Weekend!

So, there I was, travelling back from Becky's, trundling along the A1. And a lorry was by the side of the road, having shed a tyre. (this was just passed the Biggleswade turn, for those geographically informed). Lots of brake lights and slowing traffic warned me that something was up. So I slowed down and moved out to the fast lane to avoid the debris. Or so I thought....


Hmmm, I remember thinking, that's not good. But nothing untoward appeared to happen to the car. And then it suddenly, rapidly, started to lean to the right. Bugger. Then the noise, like the wheel was falling off. And the steering wobbling around madly. Not good :-(

Hazards on and I pulled gingerly over onto the hard shoulder. Getting out I discovered the front drivers wheel, tyre completely flat and rather bashed up. It was then at this point I wondered whether I actually had a serviceable spare. After all, I knew there was one in the back of the car. But I'd never had need to use it. Fortunately I was only a few metres from the turn off for Baldock services, so managed to crawl off the motorway and into the safety of the awaiting service carpark.

Unpacking the contents of the boot (Where did all that crap come from?), I found the spare, and fitted it. Now, to give you an idea of the age of the spare, it's a cross-ply tyre, which, I think I'm right in saying, is something you don't get much of these days. A bit of air and it was all back on track. Home and in bed by 11:00, a little later than planned, with time to reflect on yet another extraordinary day.

Otherwise, the day itself was great. Caught up with Becky and everything she's been up to over the last few weeks, including some strange things with bananas and chopsticks in Thailand :-O - don't ask!

2 Quiet Nights In A Row

Well, after several weeks of conversation, I managed 2 nights to myself. And good they were ;-)

Spent most of Friday night catching up on sleep, and then Saturday morning at work, the afternoon in the garden and working on the car. Then dinner round Janets, home, and finally getting to watch "Serendipity" - Kate Beckinsale being as cute as I remembered ;-)

Today is sorting the house, and going out for lunch with Becky, having returned from her whistle-stop tour of Thailand. Holiday snaps, a good pub I'm informed, and a chance to catch up on everything that's been going on since our Advance Course ensues. And the sun is shining, which must be a good sign ;-)

Another Late Night!

I've been struggling to get to bed early, finding myself getting home from work and suddenly working myself into a tiz. Conversations, communication, and next thing I know it's midnight. Tonight was no exception, but instead of sitting at home, I was off down to London for a night with my Advance Course group :-D

Not everyone could make it, Mike had something come up, Becky's off in Thailand, and Tom's a mere 200 or so miles away, which is no excuse in my book ;-)

So with Yana and Tessa waiting for me at Kings Cross, a chance to catch up and find out a bit more about each other awaited my arrival.

A fantastic little curry place round the corner, eat as much as you want, which is always a good thing in my book. Accompanied by several hours of conversation about what we've all been up to, what we do, and the new and exciting things we're aiming for in the future.

I know, it's now 1am and I'm still awake. But my batteries are full to bursting now. I can't believe I've had such an amazing night, without alcohol, music, and all the usual things I've always associated with "having a good time". Listening, being present, and sharing was all I did tonight, but it's made me feel unbelievable in an indescribable way. Oh, and Tessa saying I only look 25 years old probably helped ;-)

Another night is already in the planning, and I can't wait :-D

2 Years

2 years ago, around this time, I was sitting in a pub, having a bite to eat and beer with a mate, trying to keep my mind off what was happening only a few miles away in an operating theatre. I remember thinking, was that the right thing to be doing, should I have been waiting elsewhere, and could I manage another beer before Raj had to nip back to work ;-)

Of course, that evening when we got back to the hospital I was dutifully brought to account for the pub visit, with some comments from Jules along the lines of how could I go to a pub whilst she was under the surgeon's knife, and more importantly, how could I forget to get her a Hooch and smuggle it into ICU :-D

I'll be having a beer tonight, recollecting what has passed in the last 2 years, and what I have to look forward to in the coming months. And the best part being that I've got Jules here with me, whenever I close my eyes.

Time Flys

Well, it's well and truely into April now. And the last few days have been a mad rush, I don't know where the time's gone :-O

Started the gardening, cut the grass for the first time this year, met up with our new neighbours, and finally got round to having a space for me over the weekend with no-one around :-D It's something I've realised after the 2 courses that I've been running along at 120% and not paused for a moment and enjoyed this new and exciting feeling.

This week has a load more stuff at work to get my teeth into, another seminar, and a chance to get together with my Advanced Course group. I can't wait ;-)

About Alan Bell

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

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