Just found out, that the next Big Brother will be the last. I don’t know when it ends, but Ill be holding a party.

Okay, first the good news. Its the last Monday bank holiday of the year, and Ive managed to get Friday off.

Unfortunately, I was feeling a bit unwell yesterday. So ill in fact, that I had to miss my friend Sarah’s wedding. I had been looking forward to it for some time, as it was, I spent the evening in bed, and I was too ill, to even watch Special Victims Unit (Ive been going back over them, I only have 6 more episodes to watch, then I will have seen every one).

Well, what else has been happening lately ?.

Well, work continues to be fun, but one thing that occurred to me the other day, is how different it is, not working in the IT department (the IT guys at my company, really are a credit to our profession). The weird thing working in Internal IT, is that having worked there a month, I would normally have personally met and talked to every person in the company, as I was fixing their computer.

It had never occurred to me before, but I have done the same type of work for nearly 20 years, and now I’m doing something different. In the end, its the technology that has always driven me, and the stuff were doing is at the cutting edge of virtualization.

Talking of meeting people, I remember the 4 difficult months being unemployed. Signing on can be difficult, for one thing, they aren’t particularly partial to giving you any money, and the other thing is that you will sit there, listening to people demanding to know when their washing machine is going to arrive.

Let me make this clear from the start. I completely agree with the British system of the welfare state and the NHS. Although it seems unfair at times, I have traveled around the world (with insurance) and seen the alternatives.

That said, there are around 60 million people in the UK. At full employment, there are 20 million working people. That would mean that on  average wage, each working person pays for them-self, and at least 2 other people.

I don’t mind any of that, I am happy to put money into the communal bucket. If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t be allowed to be surprised when there are roving gangs of child criminals, who I didn’t pay towards educating, and now don’t know any better.

Still, when times are hard, I would like to be able to put my own hand in that bucket, and this didn’t happen.  Galling, was the fact that I had to spend ages answering questions and filling in forms before they told me they wouldn’t give me any money. Ive just been paid, and the state has taken hundreds of pounds of my money, and they didn’t have to call or fill in any of my forms !.

On a positive note, one group of people who did help and show me kindness, were the Citizens Advise Bureao.  I had to speak to someone, some of the banks call center staff chased me for late payments (I had lost my job) and talked to me, as though I had broken into their house in the night and kidnapped their children !.

As I was leaving the CAB, the receptionist asked me for the pen they had provided. He commented that a lot of people forget, and they frequently run out of pens. First thing this morning, I went over there and gave them 4 boxes of pens (200) and thanked them for their help.

A new Shere Khan restaurant opened in Chester about 8 months ago. I went over there the other evening to try it out (I had been saving it for a special occasion, and payday, seemed to be that). I was shocked to find, that it changed its name. As a Manc who frequently visited Rusholme, I was a bit shocked, as that brand is known all over the world.

Had a discussion with Darius at work. I mentioned that Id like to get back into learning German (one of my colleagues on the desk can speak it very well, and it got me thinking).  I was debating the best way to learn conversational German quickly (if you have any suggestions, give me a shout).

Darius (not his real name, a Wirral republican) suggested that I watch Das Boot. I queried how saying “Dive, Dive” in German would help anyone !.

Ive always worked in technology, but someone asked me the other evening (okay, so we were in the pub) if I didn’t have to work, would I work in adventure travel or bushcraft. Ive often thought about this, and the answer: Well, for a job, I would love to work in a bookshop and give the money to charity. I love books, and being around them for 2 days a week, in between travelling, and having sex with Princess Beatrice, would be my idea of heaven.

The old Firkin.

About 10 days ago, I was wandering around Chester and ran into Phil and Lorraine. They previously ran the Firkin, in its hay-day (only Dan, Amelia and I remain of the “regular 20” that drank in there then. It was pretty smart, meeting up with them again.

I recently attended the Chester food and drink tour. Loads of cool things on there (ill be writing up the tour this weekend) but a butchers shop we visited was really good (they showed us how to make Sausages). I bought a Steak pie while I was there.

Only a couple of pence more than they cost in Tesco, but much nicer, and contributes towards local business. If you normally shop at Tesco as I do, why not pop into a butchers or grocers shop and see what they’ve got. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Well, between my Unlimited Cinema card, Love film membership and 3G Internet dongle, life gets back to normal (and since the Frog are now doing 2 Steaks for a tenner on Tuesday, I can eat it even more often than before).

If you enjoyed Battlestar Galactica (and I certainly did) you might find these articles interesting (here and here).

Finaly, I know Ive been a bit of a rubbish blogger lately. I promise to update this website at least every week, from now on (and daily tweets from my twitter account, are featured at the top of this page).

Also, with everything thats going on, Ive not been in constant touch with some of you, as I normally am. I commit to getting on the phone/email this weekend and putting that right.

Near and far, have a great weekend.


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