That awkward question

Hi there. I’m back with another thought from my life (yes, they do seem to be few and far between).

Anyway, I get asked a lot of awkward questions but one always stands out. It’s not “What do I do for a job?” or even “Who do I work for?”. Nope, its “Where are you from?”. Sounds simple right, well what’s the answer? Here’s the possibilities:

A. The place I was born – Time since I lived there: about 22 years

B. The place where I grew up (and where my parents still live) – Time since I lived there: about 6 years (although on and off since)

C. The place where I went to university and where I’ve probably matured(?) the most – Time since I lived there: about 2 years

D. The place where I lived before my current job – Time since I lived there: about 6 months

E. Just around the corner – Time since I lived there: about 2 hours

But surely that’s not what they want to know.

So what is the answer? Does it actually even matter?

I don’t know, but today I got asked if I had gone home at the weekend. Don’t get me started.

My holiday in America: BlackBerry PlayBook

Since my last post was so disappointing and it’s now been over 3 weeks since I got back from America (it was fewer when I started writing this), it’s about time for the next post. This one is all about my BlackBerry PlayBook.

Personally I use it for light internet browsing and some games as well as some reading on the aeroplane. However my nieces (ages 2,4,5 and 7) loved it. In fact I was amazed at how quickly they picked it up and were finding all the apps they wanted and multi-tasking like pros in a few minutes. Some of the games they needed help with, especially in the later levels, but two of the most used apps were the Scrapbook and the camera. Well, these are the two that have pictures I can stick in this blog.


Most of these don’t make sense, but I’m sure there might be some sort of story between them. Sorry for putting so many in, clicking them opens the full image. [Keep scrolling down, there’s more stuff below this multitude of images]


My niece Romilly (6yo) loved the camera the most (maybe the only one who used it), but here are some self portraits:

And some videos… [Warning: dodgy camera work]
Sorry I spent ages trying to embed it without success, they can however be found here

My holiday in America: A Conversation

I got back from a two week trip to the USA yesterday to visit my brother and sister-in-law and children. I intend to (possibly) write a few blog posts about what happened. This first one is kind of a summary.

Since I had just got back and had no food in the house I had to go to my local ASDA supermarket. The checkout people don’t normally say much to me (and vice versa) but Holly just didn’t stop talking (or asking questions). I’m sure she didn’t talk to anyone else as much and the people behind me were probably annoyed. Here’s how the conversation went:

Holly: Hi, Sorry about the wait [There was 1 person ahead of me in the queue]
Me: That’s fine
H: Do you need any help with packing?
Me: I’ll probably be fine
H: You could probably do with some bags though
Me: Would help [Smile]
H: So how was your day? [This is one step beyond any normal customer/checkout girl conversation]
Me: Not bad. First day back after a couple of weeks off
H: That’s always bad, and now you have to do your shopping. Got any plans for this evening?
Me: Nope, just the shopping… and catching up from jetlag
H: Ooh, jetlag. Where did you go to?
Me: America.
H: Ooh, that’s exciting. Whereabouts?
Me: Philadelphia.
H: Ooh, very nice. How long were you there for?
Me: Just two weeks.
H: Did you get the full six weeks holiday?
Me: Er no, just the two weeks.
H: Oh right… That’s £33.
Me: Ok [I put my card in the machine]
H: Would you like cash back?
Me: No thanks
H: What’s your postcode [This was for some sort of ASDA survey]
Me: It’s CF23…
[I enter my pin number]
[Pin number is accepted but nothing is happening. Awkward moment]
[After about 30 seconds:]
H: It doesn’t normally take this long
[More awkwardness]
[After another 15 seconds, my card is finally accepted]
H: That’s great. Have a nice evening.
Me: Thanks, bye

So it didn’t really have a huge amount to do with my holiday, but I liked this story anyway.

5 years on…

Last weekend was my school’s reunion for those who had left five years ago. It was strange to be back in a building which I had spent so much time in whilst growing up and not a lot had changed. Yes, the classrooms had got new tables and there were now TV screens in the corridors(?!), but it was still very recognisable.

I hadn’t seen many of the people though since leaving school so it was strange to see people again after so long. Most people hadn’t changed much and although I didn’t remember everyone at first I soon did.

Somehow though it all felt a bit disappointing. Here are a few possible reasons:

  • People hadn’t changed as much as I had expected them too
  • The £10 entry fee which wasn’t worth it for the one free drink and the limited buffet
  • The lack of a number of key people, there were about 40 people from a year of 160
  • Most people only cared if you had studied politics or economics / worked for one of the big graduate employeers / lived/worked in London [None of which are me]

Maybe its just that I’ve grown up and school was a long way in the past, after all it was almost a fifth of my life ago.

It could be worse though, my older brother reminded me that its ten years since he finished university.

Social Networking Review 11/05/11

Welcome to a new feature I invented today where I look at what I’ve been up to on various social networks. I have no idea how frequently I’ll do this feature (if at all).

First off, hello to the 4 people who have found my blog after reading about it on Twitter.
This week saw the new season of The Apprentice start on BBC TV and I tweeted about it and this got retweeted by the @bbcapprentice team which made me a momentary minor celebrity (in my eyes at least).

In related news, Twitter is great for Apprentice news/discussion during the show.

On Foursquare this week I became mayor of my local gym and also my local Halfords store. I was mayor of the gym before until someone stole it off me. Hopefully I can retain it now.

Nothing much happening here, I’m continuing to lose friends at a rate of 3 every fortnight. I’m not too worried though, most of them are people I’ve not spoken to in years.

Was it worth it?

The other day I received a nice letter from the Students Loans Company (or whatever they’re called these days) reminding me that I now owe £27,056.05 on my student loan.

And it got me thinking.

I spent this money on four years at university and the ability to put the letters “MEng(Hons)” after my name, but what else could I have spent it on? I had a quick look.

  • A second-hand armour plated jaguar (From £25k+VAT). I would love one purely to say that I owned a bullet-proof car. In fact, I might get this one anyway.

  • A meeting with Nick Clegg (£25k/year). This one I will pass on, and not just because it’s an annual fee.

  • A 1 bed house in Manchester (£25k). It’s already been reduced by £22k, but it’s quite possibly the ugliest house I’ve seen. (Does it have any windows?)

  • A lock of Justin Bieber’s hair (£25k). Too late for this one, it was sold last month and no doubt it’ll cost more when it’s back  on the market.

What have I missed? What would/could you have spent this money on?


Dear Family and Friends,

Today I fully intended to go Christmas shopping. However this is the view I have outside my window:

Therefore Christmas shopping will not be happening and no one will be getting any presents.

Thanks for understanding.

Lots of love,


Car Troubles, Pt. 2

Here’s what happened to me today:

It happened about a mile away from my house. At first I wasn’t sure what had happened but then the noise/shaking got worse and so did the steering. I wasn’t sure if it was going to make it all the way home, but I did (just).

My housemate and I tried to fix it, but the bolts were too tight so I had to call out the breakdown people (for the second time in [Edit:] two three weeks).

I do however now need to buy a replacement tyre since my spare is rusty and apparently its not a good idea to drive a mile on a flat tyre (destroying my old one). The question is: Do I buy just one tyre, or a whole set of four (at about £25 each)? Any thoughts?