All entries for October 2006

October 28, 2006

The Roadtrip! (Part IV)

Day Six – Destination: Cardiff

Up early again, we got our stuff together, and packed the car before a bit of last minute shopping, and a day on the road.

We set off from Edinburgh at about 10:30 heading south to Cardiff. On the way we saw a black sheep so jumped out of the car to grab some photo’s for Hev, and then jumped back in to get onto the M74, down the M6 to Manchester, in about 4 hours. Great, only then it took another 4 hours to get from Manchester to Birmingham because of the traffic. Shortly after Birmingham, we were well on our way down the M5 towards the M50 to Cardiff. Hooray – after a quick layover at the services for a Burger King meal, before the M50, we enjoyed another night at the “Holiday Inn.”

Day Seven – Destination: Teignmouth

We were up early again, heading to the centre of Cardiff, to park up and go to the castle. We were the first visitors there, so it was empty and great for photo’s. We went up the keep and along the battlements, as well as on a tour of the staterooms. It was great, and we had out photo taken by a big red Welsh Dragon!

Cardiff Castle

We then went shopping (via a comic book store), but Adam and Troë ran into difficulty when their cash card was eaten by an ATM. They did get it back though, so that was all right!

We then headed (I have been navigating since Edinburgh!) to Tintern Abbey, where they had a cheek to ask a £3.50 entrance fee, so we peered over the wall! Before we headed to Bath to see the Royal Crescent, and the Circus. With the Roman baths costing £10 per adult, we skipped these, and headed back to Teignmouth for the night.

Tintern Abbey

Day Eight – Location: Teignmouth

So everyone having slept well for the night, it was time to say goodbye to Adam, Troë and Pete. Although we had to watch Robin Hood first, but only after Troë had been stung by a queen wasp hiding in her towel after she’d had her shower. You shouldn’t laugh really, but it was slightly amusing! But then they were off to Swanage to see Thomas the Tank Engine, and then back to Bournemouth.

I had the best time on the road trip, it was hilarious, although we really should have hired a Mercedes for comfort reasons eh Pete? Lol. I’d love to go back to Edinburgh to see Holyrood Palace, and the Scottish Parliament, as well as seeing a whole lot more. I also really liked Cardiff, and would like to go back to see the civic centre, featured so heavily in Dr Who and Torchwood!


The Roadtrip! (Part III)

Day Five – Location: Edinburgh

No travelling today! We spent the entire day in Edinburgh (having parked in the car park!) and we did a fair bit. We did a wee bit of shopping / browsing first, before Troë and Adam headed for the Edinburgh Dungeon (I think it was pretty much the London Dungeon, but in Edinburgh), whilst Petey and I went to Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh Castle

The castle was £10.30 to get in, and although I wouldn’t go so far as to say money well spent, it was certainly very good! We wandered about, and looked at the history of the castle, as well as going into the war museum on site, and seeing the Scottish Crown Jewels, which are forbidden from leaving the nation under the act if union with England in 1707. We also went to the war memorial, and just as we were leaving we saw the one o’clock gun being fired, which was really cool.

One O

In the afternoon (after lunch at the Castle Arms, where Troë saw someone she did her teacher training with in Canada, which was weird) we all went to the free art gallery. Now I am not an art fan, so I really didn’t appreciate it a whole lot, but there were some famous artists on show, and I did like a couple of the more modern pieces. I’m more a photography person I think. After that we went shopping properly, and back to the Castle Arms for the last time for dinner, (where AGAIN we saw random Canadian girl that Troë knows – Freaky!), before heading back to the hostel to play Carcassonne (my birthday present,) which Troë made me open under duress!


The Roadtrip! (Part II)

Day Three – Destination: Newcastle upon Tyne

We we’re up early on day three, and started our drive northwards up the M1 motorway to Newcastle Upon Tyne, where, before getting into the city proper, we stopped at the Metro Centre, the huge-ass mall just outside! Blimey, they have about 6 McDonald’s branches (none in the food court strangely) dotted about in every wing or so it seemed. We didn’t eat there though, I had pizza & chips, Pete had pasta bake, and Adam and Troë had fish and chips. From there we headed into the city, parked, and bought a map of the city centre, so we could locate the hostel, and after getting lost in the car, finding a Premier Travel Inn , finding it was way expensive, we eventually found and checked into the hostel.

Millennium Bridge

After a shower, we all went out into the city, down towards the riverbank to see the Millennium Bridge past a cool little castle, and then back to the hostel for the night, via a brilliant all you can eat Chinese/Mongolian restaurant for £9.90!

Day Four – Destination: Edinburgh

We set off pretty early in order to fit in several sights, and getting to Edinburgh in time for sunset, (which we managed!) First stop was Hadrian’s Wall, which was cool, and we saw a ruined Roman Shrine to a pagan god, as well as some semi-complete wall sections.

Temple Ruins

We then headed north a bit more to Alnwick Castle , where minute sections of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was filmed. (The outside scenes with Zoë Wannamaker and learning to fly, as well as the Quidditch match.) It really is a pretty neat castle, with some impressive staterooms, although rude waitress types in the restaurant. (We didn’t eat there, needless to say!) They also have some impressive gardens, but it was extra to go into those!

Alnwick Castle 2

After Alnwick we made our way around the coast to Edinburgh, getting there shortly before sunset, where we parked, found the hostel, shopped a bit, ate at the Castle Arms (very cheap backpackers menu – burger and fries £1.95!!!), booked into the hostel, and planned what to do the next day!


The Roadtrip! (Part I)

I have just had a fantastic six days on a road trip around the UK! Adam and Troë’s friend Pete was over from Canada, so we all set off last Saturday, northwards towards Edinburgh, in a not so direct line, via lots of other places!

Day 1 – Destination: Bournemouth

Ok, so having worked for 3 and a half hours in the morning, I took the afternoon off as flexi so that I could catch the bus from Exeter to Bournemouth to meet up with Adam, Troë and Pete. The bus ride was really cool, and really scenic. I saw a couple of black sheep, but couldn’t get a photo in time for Hev, and then at one point a ‘simple’ person sat to me who vague smelt like a public toilet. Not pleasant, and he kept rambling and trying to initiate conversation with the two old guys on the seat across the way! The last hour and a half it was dark so I didn’t see much after that.

In the evening, we all went out with some of Troë’s workmates to a pub and a bar (the bar was heaving), but it was cool. The Taxi driver was an idiot though, and didn’t know the maximum speed limit on a dual carriageway was 70mph. (Mind you, he didn’t seem to have an extensive grasp of English, but that’s not strictly an excuse!)

Day Two – Destination: Stoke on Trent

We were all up for about 9am, ready to watch some Biker Mice from Mars, before setting off to the other side of town to pick up the hire car from Avis. It was really expensive (an extra £11 a day) to insure someone as well as Pete, so we didn’t, so Pete had to do all the driving, which I felt bad about. But anyway, we then set of to ASDA to get some munchies, and then back to the flat to pick up our bags, and Adam picked up his “Pys eye” book for the trip!

After about an hour and a half we stopped at Stonehenge to see the big standing stones, but we didn’t go into the compound because it was hideously expensive to be 50 metres closer than just peering over the outside fence, which we did. And our photo’s were probably just as good as those who paid the £5.00 to get in!

Stonehenge

After that we whisked ourselves to Stratford upon Avon, through the pissing rain, and with a very foggy car, to Anne Hathaway’s cottage, where we had a mini tour of the building, with a guide to told us lots of facts at least six times each, and we wandered through the gardens and the maze. (The maze was pants, and there were annoying American types being bumholes too.) We did try to find Shakespeare’s grave in the town centre, but we didn’t manage it, so we just made our way to Stoke on Trent where we spent a quality night at the “Holiday Inn,Ē having dined out for dinner at Subway!


October 08, 2006

BBC's Robin Hood

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/robinhood

TV image
Title:
Robin Hood
Rating:
2 out of 5 stars

I was really disappointed with this programme. I did build it up in my head, but then it had been hyped and advertised by the BBC so much, that it was going to be great. Unfortunately, I don’t think it cuts the mustard.

When it started, it had an air of the BBC’s Casanova about it (although not a hint of Russell T. Davies humour,) but this was quickly determined not to be the case, shortly after the credits. The whole thing was unbelievable, and if you know the story, you could see the whole set up coming. Conveniently those sentenced to hang are members of Robin’s band of merry men, Alan A Dale & Will Scarlet, and then you have Much who he starts out with, oh, and what is this at the end – why it’s Little John of course! Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Whilst the sets are spectacular, and the archery amazing, the plot leaves little to the imagination. The only way for this show is up surely (it can’t go down – can it?), and I am highly likely to watch the rest of the series, not because it’s compulsive viewing, but due to a lack of anything else to watch on telly.


Jack Straw's headscarf row

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/5416732.stm

Last week Jack Straw set the establishment alight with his remarks about how he felt Muslim women should remove their veils to reveal their full face in a bid to ease community relations. A second minister, Phil Woolas, has recently joined him in this statement.

I can completely understand the reasoning behind both these minister’s remarks. In western culture, to be able to see the face means a lot, as generally people in the west only hide their faces when they have something to hide. It is generally a sign of untrustworthiness, such as thieves who wear balaclavas, and body language, when people cover their face with their hands when they are lying.

Now I understand the religious beliefs of Muslims, and I completely respect that they want to wear traditional dress in line with their beliefs. However, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. When western women go to Muslin countries, they are obliged to respect the customs of those countries, and to cover themselves appropriately. Why should this not apply here? Western women don’t cover their complete faces, so surely it would be respectful of our culture for Muslim women in Western cultures to wear veils that cover their heads and neck, but not their faces? After all there are several scarf options for Muslim women to choose from.


October 06, 2006

Mr first week at HMRC

Well I started work at 8:30 on Monday morning, and most of the first day was taken up with explaining about the contracts and the terms of employment, and signing confidentiality papers. We then were introduced to what the job involved, but because the HMRC IT department weren’t notified in time, we had no access to the computer systems. Great – so we spent the day 2 to a computer, inputting self-assessment tax returns.

Tuesday was spent in much the same way, although we eventually got access to the local network on the computer, so we were all able to process most of the returns, but one key piece of software wont be loaded to our systems until this coming Tuesday. It is all because the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise computer systems merged a week last Wednesday!

So, the job isn’t greatly exciting, and I think it will get a bit boring in the not too distant future, but once I am all set with all the appropriate software, and the number of queries I have goes down, I should be quite deft at what I need to do. Anyway, I have a week in Scotland in a fortnight to look forward to and keep me going!


October 2006

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