All entries for July 2006

July 12, 2006

A nice way to spend an evening

Go for a random walk and a random drive.

Random drives are always good. The random walk was lovely – Jules and I had a stroll along the Pierhead after dinner to see where the Mersey Ferry terminal sunk (and it has properly sunk – it's really surprising!), to look at the new stadium they're building at the King's Dock, and to try and work out what the Third Grace was. We got the Cunard Building, and obviously the Liver Building; turned out we'd both forgotten the Port of Liverpool Building. Anyway, it was just really nice to stroll along the waterfront. Reminds me of the things that are good about my home city, and gave me the chance to find out some stuff that I didn't already know about it. Plus Jules and I got to have a good chat and catch up as we walked along, which is always a bonus!

The random drive was great! Haven't done that in a long while, and it reminded me just why I used to love doing it in sixth form. Maybe it's because I know the area round Liverpool a lot better, but there's something satisfying about going for random drives when I'm home; it's just not the same at uni. Plus tonight we ended up driving to a local beach, which clearly isn't going to happen in the West Midlands! Under Jules' expert guidance, we meandered up the coast to Formby, had some excitement when we got stopped at a level crossing (OK, it's not that exciting, but it had never happened to me before! Probably a had to be there thing), drove past all the footballers' houses and ended up at the sand dunes – with the Beatles on the stereo, naturally! It probably doesn't sound like much but it was great to see parts of the city (ish) that I don't usually visit. It was also Yasmine 2's first proper trip out and first trip on the motorway, which reminded me not only how much I've missed driving, but how much I missed my Yaris. Definitely going to take good care of this one…

London was good. Didn't get up to too much, but managed to have a bit of a shop and visited a spa, which was amazing – so relaxing! Well recommended. The spa I went to was the originally titled "The Spa at Chancery Court" and had a relaxation room, steam room, sauna, lovely showers… It was bliss. Could've stayed there far, far longer than I did. The other highlights included eating in a Nando's built into the arches under a railway bridge, so that you could hear the trains going overhead, and taking a stroll yesterday evening along the South Bank, stopping on Waterloo Bridge to have a gaze at the skyline. Fabulous. Still don't think I could live in London though, just don't think I could hack the pace…

Up next this week: catching up with old friends (again), Kel's 21st in Northampton, and then Snow Patrol in Nottingham, followed by the Open at Royal Liverpool. The fun never stops :)

Alex Stanbury Summary: Went for random walk and random drive. Learned about Liverpool with friend. Went to London. Had fun in spa and on bridge.

July 07, 2006

An update from the Capital of Culture (although Capital of Building Sites might be more apt…)

So, first blog of the holidays. I guess it should, by rights, be a post–Tour blog, but I think Naomi’s pretty much got that covered. I may do something on Tour if I get round to it, but that’s by no means a guarantee. Pictures will be going up on Facebook and on my MSN space as well if I think on; I’ll stick all my photos on my blog when I get a spare few minutes. For now you’ll have to make do with a general update I’m afraid!

Things have been pretty good since I got home. It’s been good to get away from last term, and in some ways, good to get away from the MC. Don’t get me wrong, I love you guys (shucks), but sometimes all the gossip and the politics become a little too much to handle. I felt after Tour, enjoyable though it was (and it was), that I really needed a bit of breathing room, a bit of space to use a more hackneyed expression. And I’m feeling a lot better for it. Just being able to sit back and read whatever I want, from more serious stuff to trash, is sheer bliss. A break is really what I needed after last term, and so far it’s doing me the world of good.

Results came in the post this week – I got a 2:1! I know, that’s pretty much as expected, but there’s that moment when you open the envelope when you wonder if it’s all quite gone to plan. Was generally quite happy, as there were areas I felt I could’ve done better in, and would like a slightly higher average next year (I know, picky picky picky) but on the whole I did well. Most impressive mark: 68 in the module of doooooooom! Seriously, if not attending lectures and being terrified come exam time has that effect on me, maybe I should do it for all my modules next year…

This week’s been going rather well so far. Yesterday didn’t start off too great. Actually, that’s a lie – it started off fine, even if it did start off on a friend’s sofa bed after a really good night in. It just reached the stage where little things were getting to me, so much so that I was tempted to write a blog entry about them knowing that I’d be able to do a more cheerful one this evening. But I’ve since realised I can’t be bothered to do two blog entries. And things are actually pretty good at the moment. I’ve just got a bit of a bad back and feel like I’ve got a lot of soul–searching (bit of a cliché there, my apologies) to do after last term. But that’s nothing major.

Anyway, there’ve been loads of things happening over the past few days, and some still to happen, which doth a happy Lu make. As I mentioned (kind of), yesterday I had a lovely meal cooked for me and had a great evening catching up with my friends from 6th form. It’s really good to catch up with everyone when I get back here, and makes me wonder why I don’t keep in touch with them more during the term, even though I know it’s because we’re all really really busy. I’ve got plenty more people to get back in touch with and loads of stuff on to keep me occupied. This summer’s shaping up to be a good’un :) The sun’s been cracking the flags (a Scouse expression?) here for much of the time – it’s clouded over now and we’re probably due a thunderstorm soon, but it’s been lovely for the past few days. Did get to feel smug when Sam said there was a thunderstorm where he was; it’s not often the north–west has better weather than the south! Have taken advantage of it by walking round the park as part of my “I seem to have lost weight whilst on Tour, I best keep this up” programme, and doing some sunbathing in the back garden. Am off to London this weekend so will probably avoid the thunderstorm, although I’m aware that it’s currently unbearably hot in the capital (40 degrees on the Tube, apparently). Still, not only do I get to see my Mum and do some shopping, but we’re also planning on visiting a spa for the day :) Hurrah!

Had a pretty good day all round yesterday. Firstly, my new Sennheiser headphones, as recommended by Sam, arrived in the post, and they really are good! Have been enjoying muchly listening to the iPod with them. Went to the hairdressers in the evening, which might sound odd as an enjoyable experience, but I’m sure most women will understand. There’s something about being pampered, getting your hair washed for you and getting a free head massage at the same time, that almost justifies the amount I spend on it. Plus I for one always come out feeling better about myself than before, knowing I’m guaranteed a good hair day for the next couple of days! They did a darn good job this time, too – managed to give it a bit more shape whilst keeping the length, and changed the colour slightly too. And then I spent the evening relaxing whilst watching an excellent seniors match at Wimbledon, featuring the legend that is Goran Ivenisevic. The Over–35s matches are great: not only do you get to see the great players of the past playing some surprisingly good tennis, but because they’re not playing for money (although they’re still clearly playing to win) they manage to make it really entertaining. Yesterday, at one point, it was Leconte and ball–girl versus Donnelly and line judge. Hilarious. Highly recommended!

But the best news from this week is yet to come. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to present to you… Yasmine 2!

Yasmine 2

OK, so she’s a bit different to Yasmine, as the more eagle–eyed among you will have noticed (older, different colour, fewer doors). But to be honest, I quite like that about her. After the accident my parents and I discussed whether it was a good idea to have exactly the same car again, and my mum expressed some concern about it. Yasmine 2’s perfect for that reason: she drives pretty much the same as Yasmine, but there are little differences that keep me on my toes in a “That’s not where the handbrake was…” kind of way. Otherwise, she’s the same model with the same size engine – and for £2000 less than we paid originally, and £4000 less than the equivalent new Yaris! That saving should be enough for me to justify buying a new sax over the summer. Hurrah. And I promise not to get too attached to this one, even if it has already got a name!

Right, that’s it from me. Hope you’re all enjoying the good weather and that those of you at work get some chance to take advantage of it. Enjoy, and speak to most of you soon :)

And apologies for the epic length of that entry. Maybe I should start doing an Alex Stanbury summary…

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