Archive for June, 2007

Sometimes you just have to make it on your own

June 22nd, 2007 3 comments

Well, what a week!

This week has been one of the most eventful, stressful, tiring and generally worrying week in a long, long time. Having returned from Farmyard Party on Sunday, I took Monday to recover. Well that was the plan anyway. Izzy wanted feeding, so I headed round to make some dinner – a lovely chilli and soy stir fry creation – and then decided we would venture to the pub for a swift drink. Mondays in Leeds offers a massive variety of drinking choices to the student. There is Bondi’s £10 ‘all you can drink” night of cheese and tunes; the Fruit Cupboard on Call Lane offers 80p entry and 80p a drink to their ’80s, ’90s and now evening; then there is the Library, which offers its ‘Quids In’ night – all drinks from £1. Izzy and I decided on the latter, mainly due to its locale, the group texts were sent and replies received. Sarann offered us pre-drinks at Graham’s so off we trotted.

Now, I have never been to Graham’s house before but having spent quite a bit of time with the lad recently I was quite intrigued as to what I would find. I wasn’t disappointed! I got there to discover endless supplies of Jack Frost’s white cider (3 litre bottles at 7.5%), a Nintendo Wii, a widescreen television, loud drum ‘n’ bass and to top it all I had arrived mid way through ‘pants and cape day’ – a day that was celebrated by the residents of the house sitting around in pants and capes! We stayed for a swift cider then headed down to thre Library.

To our horror and disgust we found that the Library only does its pound a pint night during term time! So after a relatively expensive drink we headed back to Graham’s, where we wiled the night away with a few beers, pizza and Nintendo Wii. About 2am we decided we were all partied out so tried to leave. It turned out that all the sets of keys to Graham’s house were not actually in the house and the doors were locked. Which meant we were locked in! We sat and waited for the keys to arrive back home, but by 3am we were getting a little impatient. By 3.15 we had decided to break out by clambering through a ground floor window. Which was a mission! It was made all the more difficult by the fact that Michelle was fairly drunk. I say fairly drunk, she was wasted!

Tuesday was a fairly quiet night, spent some time on the telephone to Liz, watched Meet Joe Black and did some chores.

Wednesday saw me finish tidying my room in readiness for Liz’s arrival from Lincoln when I got a call from Bryony. Chris had had to be rushed into hospital and would I give her a lift to LGI as her car park ticket had run out? I spent the rest of the early afternoon sat with Chris in the assessment ward at the Leeds General Infirmary, he has suspected appendicitis and lookd very ill with a fever and severe abdominal pain. Well I knew it was severe because Chris winced…twice! The doctors didn’t realise that this was a sign that he was in agony. I fetched Chris’s mum from the train station and then picked Liz up. Michelle offered dinner as it was her last chance before she moved out of halls. After a delicious meal of homecooked lasagne and bread and butter cuisine I went to pick B up from the hospital.

I was awake most of the night as I was quite concerned about Chris – I had learned the results of his blood work and was dismayed to find that not only was the appendicitis confirmed but they suspected that it had burst several days earlier!! B text me at 2.10am to let me know that Chris had come out of surgery and that the prognosis was good.

Thursday was a hard hard day. I spent the morning helping Michelle pack and move stuff from her halls. Took longer than I expected, but B came round to help (more to take her mind of Chris I suspect). I got home at lunchtime to feed Liz and spend some time with her before running off again to take Matt to see cars. However, I sat down on the end of my bed and next I knew it was gone 5pm! I was not feeling well at all, stressed out, headache and general apathy!

I ended up at the pub in the evening, but wasn’t really feeling it at all. I don’t think I was that good company, but everyone seemed to have a fairly chilled evening.

Today is another busy day. Went to see my GP at 9.40 this morning, got referred to the hospital – which is nice…. Si has just been round to drop some stuff off prior to him taking up residence in Michelle’s room over the summer. Just waiting for the girls to finish tidying so I can move his stuff downstairs. I also have to unpack my car of Michelle’s stuff, move it downstairs and then go back to move her out to Sarann’s. I hate this time of year! I truly do.

Vegetarian Bikers?

June 17th, 2007 3 comments

It was a question I asked myself numerous times in the week leading up to the start of this years MAG Farmyard Party, would big hairy bikers want to eat primarily vegetarian food at a bike festival? The answer seems to be a resounding yes. I have just returned from my second festival working for Rakesh’s vegetarian catering unit, Nomad’s and the impression I got was that he made a decent profit at the festival despite the atrocious weather and the crazy biker types that frequent these gatherings.

Sarann and I set out on Thrusday afternoon in the pouring rain to meet Rakesh at Duncombe park, Helmsley, North Yorkshire. It was a nice enough drive, despite the rain and Sutton bank is a really nice little area. The rain eased as we approached the festival site, which was a blessing as there is nothing worse than putting your tent up in the rain. We soon had the tent pitched and a full belly of chick pea chana and chips. The rain held until just gone 22.30 and with the rain we headed off to bed. My first shift was at 9am and was a great chance to meet Jeanette, another of Rakesh’s crew and someone I have not had the pleasure of working with yet. She is a lovely lady, full of life and stories ranging from her two sons to Barney (her 2yr old black German shepherd) and her life in York. The shift passed quickly, with the pair of us glad to be in the van rather than the torrential rain outside. Sarann and Lis took over at 1pm, Lis is another of the new colleagues I got to meet at this festival, really good fun and as kind a person as I have had the pleasure to meet with a mischievous streak a mile long!

The weekend revolved mainly about work, I did get out and about a bit, saw several of the custom bikes and had a wander round the stalls. We did venture out at night on the Friday, saw a few cover/tribute bands and a bit of the nightlife, but I ended up on the phone to Liz most of the evenings so didn’t spend too much time out and about.

The rain eased up as the festival progressed, I even managed a little sunburn on the Sunday before Sarann and I headed home. Only eleven days until Workhouse in Wales :-)

Looking forward to seeing Liz this week although she was off to see Muse today, so that is about all I will hear for the next few weeks.

A tale of ratchets, oil and starter motors.

June 13th, 2007 3 comments

Matt owns a Renault Clio and it recently failed an MOT test on a number of points. On getting a quote for the work required he figured it would be cheaper and easier to do a lot of the repairs himself. Knowing I had had some experience working on cars, well Land Rovers, he gave me a call to see if I would give him a hand doing some of the more complicated work such as brakes etc. I agreed.

It has been a few years since I had last worked on a Land Rover, I had sold mine in February 2005, Steve’s has been off the road up in Bulmer for a couple of years now and Jon’s hasn’t had that much work done to it since either. I had helped Jon do a bit of breaking on his spare LWB job, but that’s not exactly mechanic’s work. I was realy looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, the excitement of taking something that doesn’t work and making it run again. I couldn’t wait.

Monday saw me take my first look at what we had to do. The list of work seemed fairly small on fist appraisal, but on closer inspection we realised it would be quite a task.

Work required:

Remove failed starter motor.
Fit new starter motor and test.
Remove defective brake discs and pads.
Fit replacement discs and pads.
Remove defective brake drums and shoes.
Fit replacemetn drums and shoes.
Untwist brake hoses.
Locate and fix electrical problem in front indicater.
Visual inspection of vehicle for MOT.

Armed with a fairly decent tool kit, the trusty Hayne’s manual and a glorious afternoon we set about the task. Now, as any amateur mechanic will know nothing ever goes to plan so by 10.30pm we had removed the atrter motor and semi-replaced it with the new one. We had removed one of the front wheels and removed the brake pads and that was about it. We had had to run out in the middle of the job to get a new socket for the front brake caliper retaining bolts and a tub of high temperature copper grease for the rear drums. Matt and I had also ended up covered in oil from head to toe and both wearing filthy clothes.

I have never had so much fun!

Summer BBQ

June 12th, 2007 3 comments

Liz and I headed across to the BBQ and party hosted by Matt, Kat, Kieran, Heather and her housemates on Saturday afternoon. A few getting ready problems had caused us to runa little late, we didn’t leave my house until gone 3.30pm. We were some of the first to arrive, even though it started at three. With chairs and tables set out, Kieran’s front garden is actually a really nice place to hold a party, it is roomier than it looks and with the front fence, encolsed enough to feel like a garden party rather than a park party.

Kieran had taken the liberty of ordering a keg of ale from Elland Brewery, a genius idea! Over the night we sank over 60 pints from it! Along with the copious wine, the BBQ food and the cheese there was much revelry and fun. The musical choices were excellent and the party ran really well. It started to die out in the early hours, but a few harcore party animals lasted until gone 3am! I stumbled home with Claire about 3.30am after polishing off my third bottle of wine, which had been preceded by a good bash at the ale (about ten pints if my memory serves me correctly) so I was rather drunk.

Unfortunately, the night was not a total high point. I had had to drop Liz off at the station so she could get to work. It was the worst goodbye we have ever had to say. I am not going to say much more about it as it was a very personal experience. In case you are reading Liz, I miss you and I hate not being with you!

Thanks Kieran et al for a quality party, it really was a great evening for the most part. Hope we can have a repeat in the future.

Meeting the Mother

June 12th, 2007 8 comments

Having arrived back from Sunrise on Monday, I had a day or so to recover before going to meet Liz in Lincoln and then us driving across to Kirkham to visit my mother, the first time that Liz and her will meet. This is quite a scary prospect as I have not introduced my mum to any of my girlfriends since Becky (not that I have had any serious ones, but I introduced Becky to my mum over eight years ago) so I was a bit apprehensive and Liz was actually scared.

Liz was supposed to be working until 9pm on Wednesday, so I had planned to head over about 7ish to avoid the worse of the traffic and take my time, before heading the 200 miles home. In the end Liz managed to wangle her shifts around so that she finished at 4 instead. This meant I could drive over during the afternoon grab some food with liz’s grandparents then amble back to Kirkham, getting in for 9ish rather than after midnight!

On arrival in Kirkham I introduced my mum to Liz and we sat down and had a cup of tea. Liz was really shy and didn’t really speak much which was totally understandable. Mum was really nice to Liz too, not really going OTT, which was one of my worst fears. We ended up crashing fairly early as I had driven 300 miles, Liz had been at work since 7am and my mum had had a long day too. Mum had put us in separate rooms, Liz in mine and me in my borther’s room. When I had been arranging the weekend with my mum we had never really discussed sleeping arrangements – just a difficult subject to broach really – but I wasn’t going to push the issue anyway. For as long as I can remember my mother has had a fairly static policy on the subject and I decided that this wasn’t the time to circumvent it.

Thursday was a really nice day, didn’t really do that much – got up, had lunch, went to pub to watch the cricket then headed out to dinner with my mum. We ended up at an “eat as much as you like” Chinese restaurant in Preston, which I really like as they do unlimited Peking duck and BBQ spare ribs to die for! Liz was a bit overwhelmed with the experience I think, she isn’t a great eater at the best of times, especially when she is a little nervous or self-conscious.

On our return from the restaurant we sat down and watched a film, Jack and Sarah, which is a really nice couple film. Unfortunately I had developed a really bad headache so had to go to bed fairly early again. Liz was amazing and looked after me and basically made me feel better. She is good like that.

Friday was a busy day. We headed over to St. Anne’s to visit Lindsey who has recently given birth to a little girl. I am not usually a baby person but when I was sat there with Lucinda Faith in my arms I could actually see myself with a family one day. That was a mild reaction compared to Liz’s. I think she actually considered getting pregnant there and then!

We left Lindsey’s after an hour or so and headed to Freeport in Fleetwood as I needed some bits and bats and I wanted to drive the length of the Fylde Coast from St. Anne’s to Fleetwood to show Liz Blackpool and my old haunts. I am not sure she was overly excited about the whole thing, but at least she has an idea of my past now.

I cooked dinner on Friday and then my mum sat Liz down and spent the evening (over four hours) showing her photographs of me, David and a few other things – ranging from baby photos to holiday snaps to school shots. I think even my mum got bored by the end!

Liz and I headed back to Leeds on Saturday morning as it was Kirkham Club Day so had to move my car before 9am. We drove back along the A59 as we were not in a rush, we had nothing to do until kieran’s BBQ at 3pm.

I think it was an amazingly successful few days. I think my mum and Liz get on quite well and I really hope they approve of each other. It was nice actually spending time with Liz in a domestic setting too. As much as I love my house in Leeds it isn’t very homely, or private!


June 5th, 2007 3 comments

Well the first one is out of the way. Sunrise, the first festival on my summer tour, was a good introduction to the world of festivals and the advantages/disadvantages of working them.

Kat, Sarann and I ventured down to Somerset on Wednesday last week ith a full car and full of expectations and apprehension. Well the apprehension was more on Sarann and my part as Kat is somewhat of a festival veteran. After a fairly uneventful trip down the motorways of England, we arrived at the festival site after a mere five hours. We soon pitched the tents and set ourselves up in the rain and went over to meet our new boss and co-workers for the very first time.

Sarann and I had agreed to work for Rakesh in his catering van without ever really meeting him and both we and him were taking quite a risk on this joint venture. Rakesh is a lovely guy, one of the nicest you will meet. His partner, Frances, was also one of the sweetest, kindest, most caring ladies I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I decided that Wednesday evening that I was going to enjoy my summer.

With Kat heading off to do her own thing, Sarann and I ended up drinking wine in the tent having quite a long, meaningful chat. I already feel that we have developed a much stronger, closer relationship than before. Bed soon called us as we were starting our first shift/training session at 9am the next morning.

Thursday was a good day, not only did I really enjoy working with Rakesh, I also found that Sarann and I make a really good team. Rakesh was selling the usual selection of hot drinks, vegetarian hotdogs, his famed chickpea curry and home made, organic chips! The work was hard yet enjoyable, the only issue being the difficulty in preparing and chopping the chips on a campsite with limited equipment. Our first day drew to a close with a meander round some of the stages, a boogie in the dance tent and a chill out in ID Spiral with chocolate brownie and chai.

Friday saw business pick up a bit, whoch meant me and Sarann were working harder. The work was still really good fun, I enjoyed the banter with the customers and the staff and Sarann and I were really starting to gel as a team. As an aside, why is it so ridiculous that Sarann and I are a couple. People understandably assumed we were due to the fact we were working, camping and spent most of the festival with each other. Now I realise that we are not a couple and never will be and that is fine and in fact just the way I like it, but I still took offence and the speed and ferocity of Sarann’s denial.

Saturday was a day of catastrophe. Chipping the potatoes for Rakesh on his tiny little table had been causing me a some lower back pain all weekend; I had ignored it and carried on, taking some painkillers to get me through the day. However, Saturday lunchtime saw me lie down to grab a nap and then be unable to get up again. After a visit to the local medical centre I was diagnosed with a crushed disc in my lower back and ordered to take at least 48 hours to recover, rest and recuperate. This meant I had to let Rakesh and the team down and also meant I was going to miss that last two days of the festival! Things went from bad to worse for Rakesh from then on, losing another member of staff to a bereavement and generally bad luck on all fronts. Sarann, however, was a shining light. Not only did she play nursemaid to me and made sure I was always looked after, she workied like a Trojan for Rakesh, covering shifts and doing overtime. Basically Sarann was a star!

Saturday afternoon and Sunday passed with me lying flat on my back, drugged up to the eyeballs on painkillers and a herbal remdy which worked surprisingly well.

Monday saw us come home.