Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Holiday fast approaching

My summer break, well early summer break this year, is about to happen, as of Saturday morning at 5.30am I will be away for two weeks off to.... Eastern Europe, not the usual sunny climate of a beach and sand, but the cities of the former communist countries and new joiners to the EU.

Checked the weather forecast for the places we are going to - Poprad, Krakow, Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna and Prague, and it looks like they are going to be cooler than we are experiencing here in London, which isn't good news, I am so hoping that is going to change, otherwise I might be caught short with mainly summer clothing in my luggage, which I have still yet to pack.

Though there is a good reason for that, simply struggling to get through my OU D317 TMA03 project. This is causing me a nightmare, and the hand in date is the 7th June, but given I will be in Budapest by then, I have to finish it Friday night to send on Saturday morning, boy this is difficult, I am going to be so glad of a break, I really need it. Between my work and my OU, I seem to be losing any time to oneself lately and even getting time with Z is getting more difficult, not exactly good for our relationship I have to say, though I think going to Paris helped.....

Probably be my last entry for a couple of weeks until I get back. Hopefully you will all enjoy good weather here in the UK, and so will I whilst away.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I am now a Reiki master

Yesterday I completed the course to become a Reiki master. I wasn't sure how it would work out, but yesterday's session was better than the first. I had the attunement yesterday as well. When I had attunements at previous levels I never experienced anything before, except maybe a little warmth when the teacher did my attunement. Well yesterday was a much more moving experience. When the teacher did my attunement, I had at the beginning the most odd experience, I was seeing a wealth of colours coming from my third eye, and I am not usually one who believes in that stuff, but for whatever reason it was flowing so much, and I was actually feeling so warm and it was so unexpected. It only ended when he pulls my hands up to the level of my third eye, and then it just stopped very suddenly.

I can't explain what happened and why, but supposedly the third eye is something to do with clairvoyants being able to see things. I know full well that isn’t something I am, but I wouldn’t mind my third eye being opened again, quite an intense but enjoyable experience.

I also learnt on the course yesterday, ways to cure depression, clinical depression, but not maniac, as that is something else. I am not sure if it would work, but if there was someone who was depressed I would consider trying it, as it is quite NLP in its approach, and we hear these days that NLP is very useful and very applicable. Something else I wish I had tried, but never sat down to try, though I was given a brief outline when I was on an ILM course a few years ago.

Other things I learnt include how to remove negative energy through vortex healing, which is using the CR symbol and pulling out the negative energy via the vortex. It works for some people, as was seen by the results in the group.

Is this Reiki going to mean a career change, most likely not, but will it be something I consider using in my life, for sure I will do, how much depends on me, and my general mood and the time I have to myself, though I should be able to carve out 5/10 minutes a day at least for self-healing which would be better than nothing.
Maybe when I finish my OU degree, I will consider doing Reiki as a sideline to my normal job, something to help others.

I am surprised at myself though how I have changed during the past year, how I seem to be more willing to believe in the more spiritual things, which aren’t able to proven by science, other than being able to see the response of the person partaking. I still don’t believe in God, and may never ever do, but I do know much more that there are things we just don’t understand and thus can’t dismiss them.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Passion for all things computers

This week, I was given a stark dose of reality, though I think I knew for some time, I just no longer have the passion for computers like I did. This came about because at work, there is a voluntary group set up and this group will be there to swap ideas on new technologies, new languages, new ideas, etc just to do with computers.

As the meeting went on more and more, I realised that I just don’t have the passion for computers as I did when I was younger, I heard each and everyone of the others in the group chatting, and the way they were talking, it is like they leave work and continue to spend even more time looking at computers, reading the languages, finding new gadgets, see what new technologies are coming, and it really dawned on me, my god, I don’t do that anymore. When I get home I don’t really see my computer I have anymore, except for email, this blog and maybe some sites. I for one don’t have time with my studies, and two I have no real interest and desire like I had.
I don’t want to come home and spend 4/5 hours in front of a computer when I get home, I want to relax, or do other things, and I think despite the fact I am a software developer and do enjoy the challenges and the work to some extent, it has become more of a job than a passion.

At some point in this group, I will have to make my contribution, but I really don’t have anything to contribute, which isn’t good of course, but do I even want to, that I can’t say I am sure.

I can’t say why I don’t have the passion I used to have, I can’t point to why. Does this disadvantage me in my chosen field, probably, should it though, no, but it will. Maybe this is the norm, maybe people go through this, but I am not so sure anymore, I think the fact might be, I either have less interest in it, or I simply am trying to find a new path, and that might be why I am doing my OU degree in psychology, why I am going to become a Reiki master by the end of today. Or maybe it is just a more rounding of a person.

If anyone has experienced this, or knows why this might be happening and can give their thoughts, be more than happy to hear them.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Who steals recycling boxes and why?

Seriously who does, and why on earth do it.

This weekend this happened to me. Where I live in london, our council has fairly recently allowed people to recycle plastic bottles, and thus gave people the option to have another green recycling box, if they felt they would have too much to recycle in just one box, so that is what I did. Me and Z get through a lot of paper, cans, plastic bottles, etc, so we got one, well after 3 months of having 2 boxes, we now only have one because someone on Friday night decided to trepass onto my property and steal a green recycling box, that was full of material to be recycled.

I still don't get it, is there some black market in boxes or something, why steal something like that, it has no value surely and what a number of cans, plastic bottles going to get them money or something!!!

One thing I know for sure, if I ever had the misfortune to meet the person and they decided to come onto the property again to steal something else, I am sure I wouldn't have a problem in ensuring their light fingers became no fingers.

Hopefully the council will give us another box, otherwise our stuff is going to be overflowing again, and it just means the rubbish ends up going everywhere.

If anyone knows of why someone might want to steal green boxes of recycling rubbish, please tell me, I am interested to know.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Trip to Paris, Part 2

By the time we awoke on the Saturday, we were ready to take more of Paris in, but first we needed to eat, and deciding to do what the locals do, we went to the local bakers, etc and got ourselves a lovely French breakfast, and some lovely lunch for our trip to the Louvre. It was like going on a picnic, rucksacks packed full with our food so we could sit and eat when we wanted and nice food as well. Would recommend that anyone who stays uses the same shops as the locals, gives you a better idea of what they experience themselves.

We did have a funny situation with the hotel, we were in the room getting ready to go out to the Louvre, and the maid knocks on the door, and enters, and we tell her to give us two minutes, and she agrees, so we heard, well when we got back, they hadn’t even bothered to clean the room, which was really nice when getting back late to find nothing done.

Back to the Louvre, once we figured how you are supposed to enter it, take a lesson in reading signs would help me…. This museum has so much in it, I was amazed by the sheer amount it contains, and it really does have so much, covering so many different periods of history. Of course, a lot of people’s focus is the Mona Lisa for the obvious reasons, and where it says clearly no camera taking any pictures in some areas, the amount of people who ignore that, and take pictures when they shouldn’t was surprising. I am guessing a lot of the reason they say no pictures to be taken apart from the obvious fact they want to sell copies of the paintings is that I think flash can affect the painting. So they have to have a cover all, because so many people seem incapable of taking pictures without using a flash, some people are serious stupid, most cameras today come with the ability to turn the flash off, but that isn’t enough. Watching people get told off and stopped from taking pictures especially at the Mona Lisa area was funny.

I certainly didn’t know the history of the Louvre and seeing the original foundations of the building certainly gives it a different perspective. We spent ages at the Louvre, we really did, we avoided the rain that came, and thankfully were able to go on with the rest of our sightseeing. We made our way to the down the champ de elysees, where all the cyclist end up on the last stage of the Tour De France. Seeing how far away the Arc de Triomphe makes you realise just how far they have to go when cycling down that road, and they have all the big names on that road, the Cartier, Louis vuitton, etc. We spent at least an hour or more just walking all the way from one end to the other, quite a walk, but you see so much of the so called higher end of Paris with the boutiques. When you walk from one end of the road to the other, you pass quite a few buildings along the way, the grand palace, and other buildings. Z decided to stand in the middle of the road for some of the shots, a little crazy maybe, but she got some seriously good shots, so I guess it was worth it.

But the time walking all the way up the champ de elysees to the arc, I was very hungry and wanting to eat, but not repeat what happened the night before, so we tried to find a better restaurant and knowing where we were, expected to pay a lot of money. The place we found Chez Clement, was cheaper than Balzar, and the food was much better, and the service was as well. A very vibrate restaurant, which we liked a lot. The food was really nice, we both picked the same for the main meal, a mix of seafood and potato, very nicely done. I would recommend this place, and for two people £45, I think isn’t too bad especially given where it was located.
We both stuffed our faces especially with desert, so much so when we left we felt bloated and decided in our wisdom to walk from the Arc to the Trocedero so we could have a look at the place which we saw the night prior from the Eiffel, allowing us to look up at the Eiffel from distance and get nice shots as well if we could do so.

As you walk into the centre area of the Trocedero it has the Eiffel right in the middle of it, and it is just an amazing view, one which you can see why so many people take pictures. Of course we had our picture taken with the Eiffel in the background, a very nice shot was taken, along with others. There isn’t a lot to do at the Trocedero, so we just admired the view, and seeing the Eiffel illuminated again.

We just decided to stroll back to the hotel after that, taking it easy, only a 20 minute walk or so and take in Paris, seeing boats down the Seine. All in all, it was a wonderful day and we really did enjoy ourselves.

By the time we got to Sunday, we knew what we intended to do, as we were leaving that day, and also we wanted to get a nice breakfast, but because according to the guidebooks Paris shuts down on a Sunday, so we weren’t even sure we could get anything to eat, but lucky where we were some of the shops were open which was really nice, another reason to stay where the locals are nearby, as they want their food as well.

So again armed with plenty of food, we went about having a good breakfast, packing up despite we didn’t have to leave until early evening, though that didn’t quite work out as we expected. We just took it easy on the Sunday, wrote the postcards we wanted to send before we left, got the stamps the day before and wanted to make sure people got the postcards, once we had sorted everything we made our way to Gard du Nord, and so good we did, because when we got there we found out there were problems getting back to London, because of fire near the tracks in Bromley, well I found out it was Bromley the following days when reading the news sites.

No one in Paris seemed to know what was going on, they were confused as anything and were suggesting we would have to stay overnight at the station, my response wasn’t polite to say the least. Thankfully through other passengers being there, and calling the UK, we had a better idea of what was going on, but still no clear information from Eurostar. Eventually we got told to get any train we can get on, because they didn’t know if there would be any more coming to Paris and from Ashford we could make it back to London. That is true, but the journey took 4 hours in the end instead of 2hr 30 minutes, which is what I hoped for.

Despite all the problems at the end, which are too long to get into, we really did enjoy Paris, yes it has its downsides namely the fact the Parisians really do love to smoke so much, not just cigarettes, but cigars as well, and you best hope you are okay with breathing that in, because everywhere is the same, amazingly. And the crap on the street as well.

On the upside, the locals are friendlier than stereotype suggests, their metro is cheaper and more efficient than ours, okay it can smell in some places really badly, in a way that assaults your senses, but hey ho, the tube isn’t exactly perfect either, far from it. I imagine my senses would get use to it in the end.
Paris seems to be a slower pace than London, though I think 99% of places have a slower pace than London, so that might not really say a lot……

I have very happy memories of Paris and desire to go back, and that is what counts, the place gave me a lovely and relaxing weekend away and that is very important to have that time out, so one can relax, get away and just enjoy what else exists outside of our usual bubble of life.

Trip to Paris, Part 1

Firstly I have to say how much I really enjoyed being in Paris, it was only 2 and a bit days, it is a wonderful city to visit and one me and Z will be going back to again.

But winding back to the trip and how it all started.

We had a very early start, we were needing to catch the first tube of the day from the local tube station, and when the tube was playing up, we feared the worst, and thankfully we got to Waterloo in time, only to find a massive queue because there was a problem with the passport reader!

But once we were able to get on the Eurostar, things seemed so much smoother and running so much better, we were both relieved that it looked like things would be good, the weather was getting sunnier and though we were both tired, very tired, we were glad to be getting away on our first trip abroad together, where we weren’t visiting one or other’s family.

It is a very smooth ride, was very surprised just how smooth, you expect I suppose it to be a more bumpy especially with all we are used to in this country, but it was a joy not to be thrown around the carriage and we could relax, take it easy.

After a few hours, we disembarked in Paris, not sure where to go, in my wisdom I hadn’t double checked the location of the hotel and the nearest metro station. Given that we had to get city passports and a metro pass for 3 days, it meant finding an information desk, and with me worrying if I was going to struggle to explain what we were needing, it was a joy when the man in the booth spoke English, though very softly spoken, but there was none of the stereotypical arrogance we are led to believe that Parisians refuse to speak English, and we found this throughout the whole time there, they were very friendly, and helpful, especially the older generation, whereas those of our own age seemed less so, what does that say?

Anyway, armed with our metro passes for 3 days which only cost £11 each, which is bloody cheap, anyone would know in comparison to the Tube. We also had the directions for the hotel, which was very useful, and though we found a quicker way to get to the nearest Metro when there, it was good to have the starting point. We were staying at hotel Auteuil near to the station Ranelagh, which is about 20 minutes walk from the Eiffel Tower so we were very happy with that, and it is also in an area that would be called a suburb in this country, plenty of residential in the area, so not in the very centre of bustling city, but not far out either.

Well once we were checked into the hotel, we got to the room and went about sorting things out, lo and behold I couldn’t figure out the lights, when I press light switches they usually turn on the lights, but in this hotel, it had a different system, it had a master switch by the door which allowed you to turn all lights off or on with a single flick of the switch, not something I have used before. After that embarrassment, we were just taking in the sights from the window when someone knocked on the door and then entered immediately without even waiting, which I personally think is rude, not what you expect, and we had it happen twice, once for the minibar and the other being the cleaner. I learnt very quickly to stick the do not disturb tag on the door, to stop them!

Given it was now gone lunchtime we decided to go for a walk and take in the local area, and see what existed. It was a very nice area, plenty of local shops, and places to get food for breakfast, lunch, etc. The hotel wanted 16 Euros each for a breakfast, we managed to spend that in two days for lunch and breakfast for that. Spending 64 Euros for two breakfasts seems excessive in my mind, especially when the locals go to the local shops and get their food, so we did the same, getting some lovely food, very nice indeed.

We made our way to the Eiffel Tower area and just took it in, as we wanted to just get an idea of the area, and that is when found out some of the less pleasant sides of Paris, one being the streets being covered in animal crap, be it dog, bird, etc, it was everywhere, not what we expected, maybe they deal with things differently, but they really had a lot on their streets.

The Eiffel Tower is an amazing structure, you do look at awe at it, and you just imagine what it will be like up there, as well as the views, and it is better than you can imagine.

Given Z was feeling very tired, we went back to the hotel so that she could have a little shut eye prior to going out to the Brasserie Balzar, which was recommended in a number of places.

When we went to the Brassiere Balzar, I have to say I wasn’t that impressed and the food itself wasn’t that great. We both didn’t find the food that good, service was pretty good, and they didn’t rely on us to speak French, they were happy to converse in English, of course making it all the better. Me, being me, order a sausage with chitterlings, and I didn’t know what chitterlings was, big mistake. The sausage made me want to retch, it was awful, seriously awful, and it was just me. Z tried it as well, and she felt sick too. Her own food was some salmon which was okay, but nothing special. It was a disappointment to be honest, I was expecting so much more, but the Balzar wasn’t all that had been promised, but I suppose that is what happens. We were only in there for such a short period of time, not much more than 30 minutes, I don’t think I have ever been so quick in a restaurant, probably never will again.

After that less than great exposure to French food, we decided to go to the Notre Dame, and see the amazing building, especially as it was still light and we were close by.

This building, if you have never seen it, is beautifully done, it is a wonderful building, for those who love architecture, and it is no surprise why it stands out, all great carvings on the building, all the statuettes on the buildings wall and roof, making it an imposing building. As it was getting darker, the building just grows with the dusk, fitting more and more in, the style of it, fighting a darker landscape, especially against a flash of a camera taking a picture.

The last thing we decided to do that night was to head to the Eiffel Tower and go up at night, we had been advised it was the best time to go, partly because it is supposed to be quieter, and the views more stunning.

It only cost us 11 Euros each, which I think is quite cheap to go all the way to the top floor of the tower, very good in my opinion. As for quieter, it would have been except for the rabble of German 15/16 year olds who seemed to be a little tipsy and didn’t seem to be with their teacher, and were determined to make as much noise as possible. Made me feel tempted to see if there was a way to throw them over the side without anyone noticing. This is the same bunch of Germans who were determined to deface the Tower with graffiti, maybe they were trying to take over again, 60+ years later, who knows.

There were lots of foreigners there of course, English, Slovak, Americans, Japanese, Germans, etc. I don’t think there were many French people, but that doesn’t surprise me.

The views were great, I have done the Empire State Building and though I believe that to be taller, the views that come from that building, aren’t not as impressive as the Eiffel, I feel in the main because of the surrounding architecture in Paris is more impressive than in New York, just an opinion. At night, the Eiffel is just so different, it has flashing lights on it at certain points and a beacon of light going out for the most part.

Whichever end we were, the views that accompanied the direction were great, one side you had the Trocadero, another was the mini statue of liberty they have there, etc, etc. For me the last section was the one I felt a little light legged, I tend to suffer from vertigo so probably not the best idea to go up to the top. But it was in the lift to the final top section I felt my legs give a little, otherwise it was ok, never happened before, I think it might just be the way the lift moves, or possibly you have more a view of outside when going up. Even so, I was transfixed on all I could see, just wanting to take it all in, like a child who has been shown the outside for the first time in life, it was just fantastic.

Of course we took plenty of pictures, all in all for 2 and bit days, Z has over 200 pictures, quite a lot. I am so glad we went up in the evening, and would recommend going at night, I can see why so many do, especially as it goes from early evening to night, when it goes from like a dusk to pitch black, changing all that you perceive when you are up there.

After staying up there for quite a while and feeling a little cold as the wind was beginning to be biting we decide to make our way back to the hotel to rest up and sleep and take it easy for the rest of the weekend.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Action man is 40

Seems an age doesn’t it, but this year Action Man is 40, I like probably many men who are above a certain age can remember playing with Action Man. My older brother had an action man before me, he had one not long after they were released, me, well when they came out with the upgrade called Eagle Eyes, that was the one I was given. Looking back now, it seems funny that something so simple could produce play time compared to what kids today supposedly need to keep their attention.

My Action man had the fuzzy hair, eagle eyes which could find anything and flexible hands as well. This was added to the whole range of extras it came with, tanks, parachutes, bikes, jeeps, mini tanks, these things, especially the tanks and armoured personnel vehicles were very tough, you could throw those at the wall and not see anything break, though I am sure I recall my mother being less than pleased when the paintwork was chipped for the 100th time as Action Man and his tank crashed hard into the wall.

BBC Story

Action Man's History

For those of you who are close enough to London and want to see Action Man again in many different guises, Hasbro recruited 40 artists to customize 40 original action man figures. It is at the Blink Gallery from the 16th to the 27th May.

More Information

For those who want to see more information re who the artists are and a more Action Man style site.

As for my Action Man, I have no idea where he is, I am figuring he ended up with my godson, along with all the extras he had, most of a carload actually. He was in pretty good shape when I finished with him, given him being close to indestructible, can’t imagine the worth today, probably nothing without the original box, which I think got so torn to pieces in the efforts to open it on a Christmas day back in the late 1970s.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lack of sleep and snoring

For the past 6+ months which is the time since my dear Z moved in, she has been saying I have been snoring and thus it affects her. My guess is that I have been snoring for a lot longer than that, and it is that until Z drops off at night my snoring affects her...

Well after seeing a specialist on Tuesday, he has recommended and put me on the waiting list to have my tonsils removed. Apparently it involves an overnight stay in hospital, which doesn't impress me at all, given how much I hate having to stay in, done in on previous operations for my cholesteatoma and I hated it. Then to top it off, I have to be off work for at least 2 weeks recovering from the operation, and basically become a prisoner in my own home, as I am not meant to go out, avoid smoking places (which is most of London), avoid dirty, dusty places (no tube travel then), avoid people who have colds, etc (most offices), and generally avoid the public.

Fantastic, really, honestly, I am so looking forward to it. I can't imagine what my boss is going to say, 33 years I am and my tonsils are to be removed, obviously needed, but even so, I have no idea how I can turn around to the boss, and go, I need to have an operation, I need to take two weeks off to recover as well, hope you don't mind.

I did ask for the operation to be pushed beyond October, as I have my OU exam in October and I am also under a pile of work at work, and thus timing would be bad, thankfully it deemed a routine operation, not urgent, probably because I don't have lots of crap coming out of my tonsils at this moment, but since I got glandular fever back was I 21, it has regularly been oozing rubbish at the back of my throat, so I guess it time to remove them.

Z has turned around and said I am not from this world, the amount of injuries, broken bones, problems with my health, she has suggested makes me not normal. In the past 7 years, I have quite a few operations for my wrist, my ears, now my tonsils, maybe this is just karma for something, who knows what mind.

All I know is that, when the operation is done, Z should sleep a little better, and so should I. I might actually wake in the morning feeling refreshed, which would be a major turn around, though I have a feeling it isn't so simple.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Half way to becoming a Reiki Master

On Saturday just gone, I completed the first part of the course Reiki level 3 to become a Reiki master.

I know it is only the starting point of Reiki in reality, but the idea that I could become a Reiki master is one that I quite like. Learning all that I need to learn to help others feel better.

I also learnt that I need not to be so hard on myself when doing Reiki, not to feel so frustrated after the event if I don't manage to heal as much as I want to, don't manage to get the level of success I was attaining to get.

I know that when I pass this course, it will simply be the first step in many steps to come.

It fills me with happiness and also fear, which is probably wrong, but I have a desire to ensure I do things right, and there is an underlying fear I might screw it up, which goes against the ideal of Reiki that we can only do good, but I feel I don't trust myself enough to ensure I get it right.

At least I know that there is only one level above mine which is taught, and that is for teaching purposes mainly, so I will be attaining the level of which is deemed to be a good level.

I do look forward to the attunement on the 27th, which is when the next course day is, and hopefully it will be a moment of relaxation and calm for me......

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Blessed with bad luck the last few days

The last few days I have had what feels like the worse luck and today topped it off.

Back on Thursday, the headphones for my iRiver, my Sennheiser ones that I had bought specially broke, and I only had them for 6 months, much less than I ever expect them to last. So bloody annoyed, thankfully though Advanced MP3 Players who I brought the headphones from at the same time as the iRiver, were very good and I have sent them to be replaced, which is great service. Okay they cost £24, but I still expect them to last longer.

Then I ordered some new inkjet cartridges for my Epson c84 photo printer from Amazon, as the ink was about to run out. I put the new cartridge in, and the printer decides to give up on me. It no longer prints black, which is rather important. I contacted Epson, who to be fair to them gave me steps to try, so I could attempt to shift the problem, sadly not, so with OU assignments to get done, I now have printer, and this is after spending £90 on new inkjet cartridges, which means they are wasted, as you can't buy that printer anymore, and if I want the same printer, be a recon one, Espon will charge me £76. I am just better off buying a new one.

And lastly today, I went to the local shopping centre, and one of their escalators wasn't working which meant having to walk up the escalator, which normally wouldn't be a problem, but not with my luck. For some reason I slipped and being a normal person stuck out my hands to catch me and ripped up the skin on my left palm making more than pissed. What was worse was the attitude of the security person, rather than actually do anything, just shrugged his shoulders and said not my responsibility. Didn't even bother to get the manager when asked, I had to find the manager, and even prior to that didn't even think to say a word about me needing first aid.
Some people need not to be working and without trying to be rude, but it will sound it, so sod it. How can a fat person who struggles to walk, and not even be interested in doing his job be a security guard, surely the essence of being such a person means being able to run after people if they shoplift, or to actually bother to attend to someone who has an injury, rather than just shrug their shoulders.
Thankfully the manager had their head screwed on, and his first point of call was to get me first aid and then deal with the rest later. It was amazing how suddenly it went from being no security people around, to 4/5 of them watching what was going on.
Given my job, this isn't what I needed, needing to use my hands all the time, I prefer to be able to do that with no problems. I know I won't be able to do weights until it fully heals, not wanting to risk ripping the skin up again.

Like I say, this hasn't been the luckiest few days for me.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Trip to Paris

In a week and a half I am going to see Paris for the first time. It is a place I want to see, and plus it is also a present for Z. She had such a desire to go there, and my first chance to get her there, as I had wanted to take her last July when the Tour de France was on, so she could see Lance Armstrong in the race, but as with many things, the timing was wrong, so we couldn’t go.

This time we are going away though for a long weekend. I just booked the Brasserie Balzar which is in the book “Paris To The Moon”. So if anyone has been there, please let me know if it is as good as they say.

I have the guide book already, a rough guide to Paris, a French phrasebook, which given my lack of languages shall be a difficult thing to use. I can see them getting quite upset with my pronunciation

The Eurostar is booked, the hotel is booked, looks really nice in the pictures, hoping it works out to be just as nice. I know Z will have a list in her head of what she will like to do, and I think for the most part, as it is her gift, we will be doing pretty much everything she wants to do, which is only right.

I know I need to get a Paris City Passport which apparently gives you money off tourist attractions

I imagine that most of what she will want to do, I will want to do anyway, so there is no problem.

Just need to figure a way now how to disguise my English accent and ensure I don’t sound American either, otherwise there could be some very stern looks, and a lot of upset from the locals, which is the last thing I need.

The last thing I am hoping for is lovely weather, it will be so nice to get away and have good weather, the like of which we seem destined this year not to get in London, overcast, dreary, wet

Be Smarter at work, slack off

This was passed to me by a friend at work, and I have to say I so agree with it all.

Overworked, or over stressed, then read this. I especially like this line:

"The physiological effects of tiredness are well-known. You can turn a smart person into an idiot just by overworking him,"

Be Smarter, slack off

This is the perfect article for those who want to show any manager they have who they feel is overworking them. Perfect response….

Monday, May 01, 2006

Access to work

I write this from a position of frustration, annoyance, etc.

Since last June I have been fighting with Access to Work to actually get the process completed and get what I am (1) entitled to under the scheme, and (2) get the equipment to help me out with my work.

I have a feeling with Access to Work, their main aim is to ensure that you don’t get the help to which they are charged with ensuring you should have. In my case it was trying to get them to give me hearing aids and a Phonak Smartlink system. I need hearing aids because after years of trying to get something I can hear properly with, I have failed to get the NHS to actually bother to give me hearing aids which I can truly hear with, not what their audiologist think I can hear with – that is a totally different entry in this blog to be done in the future.

It has taken me, so much work to get them to finally relent and agree to pay for the aids and the smartlink system. That took chasing up the NHS audiologist to write a letter to them and explain in very simple language that after years of trying to get me hearing aids that work, he couldn’t do it, he had to admit defeat that they couldn’t help me. That took 2/3 years of doing, 2/3 years of heartache trying to convince him that I couldn’t do it. It only changed when he saw an email I had written Access to Work that I was struggling a great deal at work, for him to accept what I had been saying for so long.

There was a sting in the tail though. Access to Work agreed to pay for the aids and the Smartlink system, but I would have to pay 30% of the cost of the aids, because they can be used in a social environment. I certainly wasn’t expecting that, and coming up with over £700 for aids which in my mind should really have been given to me via the NHS in the first place.

So I have been left with no choice, but to agree to pay out the money, thankfully I have people close that can help me out and I should now with luck get the new aids. I have a company who is going to come and fit them.

I have no idea what Phonak Savia will be like, but I understand that they will finally allow me to hear properly for the first time in what seems like an eternity for me. The only reason I had to change aids is because the ones that suited me were no longer made.

As of the 9th May, supposedly I shall have the new Phonak Savia’s fitted, and with the Phonak Smartlink system I will be able to much better communicate at work, not feel like I am missing out in meetings, reviews, etc, which has left me floundering a lot there.

The aids look like so

Phonak Savia

I did think of getting a colour other than beige, but with already having gold ear moulds, which seem to have made me a party trick in audiology departments and for people in the street, I think I don't wish to stick out anymore than I already do....

To me it just seems the whole governmental system is designed to do all it can to stop those who are entitled to help to get it, and then when they do admit that you are entitled to help, they try and pass the buck between departments, so none of them have to pay, trying to ensure that another department pays for the equipment/work, etc when it all comes out of the same overall budget anyway, so what gives.

Local Elections

This week on the 4th May, there is the local elections for many parts of the UK, especially in London. Now, as I like to make my comments on politics, I think I will put my two pence worth of attitude.

For those in London, if you wish to know what the make up of your local council is, go to the following.

London local elections 2006

In my local council, I know there is a good chance to remove the local incumbents Labour and stop the rot, well lets rephrase that, lets change the colour of the rot!!!!

In our local area, they have been absolutely a waste a time, major increases in costs, big reduction in services and it never getting better. I have been in this area since I was born and it really has gotten a lot lot worse, especially since 1998 when they took control.

For those of you who feel you have no power, fair enough I can understand that, but this is your one chance to punish those whom have not done as what you felt is right and necessary for the area you are in.

The one thing I would say, is ensure that you do it on the basis of local issues and local behaviour of councillors, not the problems of the national party. That is the main problem with a lot of people, they do tend to want to use the local elections to punish the national parties, but it matters not a jolt to those parties, as those in the national party aren’t affected by the result, they don’t lose their seats.

All I can say is remember on the 4th May, vote, make your say, it is a simple, quick process and you may not feel it has much effect, but without you exercising your feelings and vote, you have no right to complain.

Reiki level 3

I am due to start my Reiki level 3 this coming weekend and whilst originally it was meant to be done over the weekends 22nd and 29th April, it was moved due to the college where I am doing the course managing to quite spectacularly screw up. This course has been booked now for over 10 months, and it was only at the last minute they went “Oh, we are shut for Easter over those weeks, we can’t have the course run”. So now I am due to start this weekend and also have the second part run on the last weekend of May. I am lucky that I am free both those weekends, otherwise I would have been more annoyed about it.

I am looking forward to doing my Reiki, it has been a while since I did, and whilst it is meant to be something that is used regularly, I have been wary of doing so for some months, mainly because when I have been doing it, I have found myself becoming drained, which is the exact opposite of what is meant to happen. I do recall previously when I was doing level 1 and 2, the tutor made clear we shouldn’t be feeling drained, if we do, it is because we are using our own energy, which is clearly not good. So hopefully on level 3, I will find a way to better tap into the Reiki energy and not my own, because that has been putting me off doing it, and I do wish to do it, especially as I have seen the results it can give people, it helped me a lot when I had my operation on my right wrist, to get through the sheer agony I was going through at the time.

With any luck, this will be even more interesting than the previous two courses, and I shall learn more about what it is all about and how best to use it