To provide substantial evidence to support my previous post from almost a year ago (when I moved into the estate). I received the following letter from Slough Borough Council today. Something makes me think that the threat of a fine or prosecution will do little to deter my neighbours from such anti-social acts. Although it will be interesting to bump into any member of the so called Neighbourhood Enforcement Team. I doubt they will be around at 6am in the morning when I head off to the train station or around 7:30pm when I get back from the gym but us honest residents do live in hope! Which makes me wonder what type of covert surveillance they will be carrying out to catch the perpetrators. This is local government in the 21st century! When you have to, not just remind people to put their rubbish into bins but threaten to take them to court (at the most extreme) for not doing so. Come on people it really is not that much hard work!
My wife, Michelle received her new passport this morning and with it a new surname and new identity. We have now been married for just over four months and in a twist of fate, her ten year old passport expired a few days after our honeymoon in Rome in mid August. (The same week many cities in the UK were besieged by riots!)
However, there was a dilemma, which to be honest I never truly understood until much later. How would it feel to give up the surname you have grown accustomed to over the past twenty eight years? I was not asked to give anything up so important! A few tweets I have saved as favourites over on Twitter have perfectly summarised the now age old tradition of the married woman taking her husband’s name. One as recently as yesterday the other from just over a month ago, very much on similar lines. I have to say that I am very traditional when it comes to the name change. If the social convention was for me to change my surname, to that of my wife I probably would have gone through the motions. Personally I do not like double barrel names and our combination of surnames would have resulted in a sixteen character surname, including separating hyphen. Call me Victorian but I believe changing your surname is part of the commitment of marriage. Michelle decided to give up her now maiden name and take on my family name. The process begins with the arrival of a new passport.
From this point forward, every item of identification needs to be updated with the new name. Which I appreciate is quite an administrative chore but I am sure, I am worth the effort!
Received our first joint Christmas card yesterday morning from my friend Clive. The envelope had the recipients listed by joint addressee.
I parked my car in the Tesco Extra car park and headed off to Slough town centre. There were a few errands I needed to run before picking up a few groceries from the supermarket. The sun was shining brightly, unusual for such a cold afternoon, making it difficult to make out cars and people up ahead. As I made my way to the main crossing, a man handed me a leaflet and responded with “God Bless You Son..” as I took the leaflet into my hand. I was half expecting some commercial based sales blurb on a retail establishment or service but instead, was greeted by an interesting angle on taking a path to Jesus.
I would be lying if I said I have not thought the very same thoughts as the man pictured on the front cover of this leaflet. We tend to live our lives based on the material items we have amassed or the holidays we have experience or even the woman we may have married. To say I have no regrets would be foolish but to say I have too many would also be completely untrue. Perhaps my biggest flaw as an individual (now I know I have many) is to look too deep into things. I read too much between the lines, with a constant need to analyse every word be it spoken or written. In recent years, I have calmed down a great deal. I recall one of my good friends in 1999 saying that I would have a heart attack at the age of forty, as I tend to get worked up about even the little things far behind what is humanly necessary.
This leaflet landed in my hand by pure coincidence. I had popped into town to get a few things but originally had planned to walk but only drove as I had little time in the afternoon to get everything done before a cinema trip with my wife, brother-in-law and mother-in-law in the early evening. Now this is not to say I am now going to convert to some form of Christianity. Not at all, but the leaflet and the kind words of the gentleman who handed it to me, brought home an important message, a week or so before Christmas.
All that matters to me, are the love of the important people around me. Everything else is purely temporary. Jobs will come and go, as will material possessions. The only constant will be the love of the people I care for most. At this time of year, this can all be easily forgotten as we rush to splash the cash. Does that truly make us happy? In recent weeks I have increased the number of people I follow on Twitter. Not just the geeky people you would expect but footballers (current and ex) but movie stars, tv stars and even the odd HipHop mogul. In fact I believe my count of followers have gone from around fifty to now eighty-five! Has ever there been a better tweet than this!
The weekend officially began (week 49) at 18:00 sharp, as I started my car and Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris – We Found Love blared out of my radio. I had tuned into Capital FM. The song had been recommended to me by my sister, Samantha and I had listened to it via YouTube a few months ago. Now it is played non-stop on the radio but back then it was an up and coming new release. The video though, is something else, I would describe it as an acid trip. (Not that I have any experience of one of those mind you!)
My ultimate destination was Thame, Oxfordshire but I had decided to swing by Didcot to drop off some birthday presents for a friend. Common courtesy would have been to call beforehand, even when en-route to make sure it was convenient but I did not bother. The reality is, I doubt my friend BT would have even answered the call. Plus the element of surprise was actually to my benefit, I had my fingers crossed that he would be at home. In any case, I found the house in a new estate on the outskirts of Didcot Parkway railway station and dropped off the items before heading over to Thame. Perhaps a rather scenic journey on an August evening but in early cold December it was perhaps ill advised at best. I called Clive as I left Didcot and it would take me a good forty minutes to get to Thame.
Once you hit December, the runaway mine train is heading to only one destination – Christmas. I try not to get sucked into the commercial marketing bliss which usually is brewing from mid September. However it does mean I am busy with various events, every weekend all the way until the end of the year. There is no rest for the wicked!
On Saturday afternnoon I had a few errands to run in town. This including joining the library, a ritual for me at any place I move to (although it will probably be a while before I borrow a book, or use the internet facilities) As I walked towards the entrance, I noticed a car parked outside on the curb. It was the number plate I found most amusing.
My dear friend Sippy has been working on our wedding website for months but I am sure you will agree that it has been worth the wait. The completed site is much better than anything I had imagined or would have been able to develop myself. I am so glad I got my old Uni chum to carry out the work, it has meant we save a great deal of time and hassle in the long term. Everyone that needs to know anything can just check our website or alternative send us a quick e-mail.
What are you waiting for? Go and take a look, while I try and remember how long is left until the big day? Sixy four days, or alternatively two months and three days or a mere one thousand five hundred and thirty six hours!
Do not fret my dear blog readers, I have already placed my A3 under 24 hour security surveillance. However, the lesson for the owner of this Peugeot 207 is simple. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!
However I still believe it would be worthwhile getting a quote for spray paint removable from the awesome Crystal Detail!
I have a great deal of friends, but as the saying goes, some come and go, others stay along for the ride (the lifers as I prefer to call them). Some I keep in touch with, others not so much but as usual friendship is a two way street. If I make an effort, I expect it to be reciprocated in time. I did not think I would see Jav or Dee again, even though the last time I saw Dee was back in Reading back in the autumn of 2006.
You can imagine my surprise to receive an e-mail from Jav at 11:31am on 3rd May in my GMail inbox. It was a group e-mail, also sent to Dee and Pav. After the expected apologises for being lame for not keeping in touch, Jav proposed we arranged to meet up this coming Saturday evening for a meal and drinks in London. After a trail of several e-mails, the date, time and venue were confirmed. I was really looking forward to the weekend.
My weekend was as usual very busy, so I ended up being in Wycombe during the day for some reason and then headed off to Gerrards Cross to pick up Dee from his house. We were waiting for Pav and Jav to arrive for a while, so decided to make a slight change of plan. I would drive back to my flat in Slough with Dee and then wait for Pav and Dee to join us there and drive in one car to Houslow. The trusty silver Rover 45 did arrive eventually and we jumped in and headed to our final destination.
It was great to catch up with these guys once again, it had been too long. My trip to Germany over the long Easter Weekend in 2006, remains to this day one of the best “guy” weekends ever. Plus it was Dee that made it such a memorable trip. Without him, we would not have had as much constant entertainment day and night.
It was great to catch up with these guys, as we all agreed over dinner it had been far too long. We had to make more of an effort to meet up and arrange a proper night out. Dee was on fire as usual, telling us stories about a weekend bender in Amsterdam, among other great adventures he had been on recently. As usual there was not enough time to catch up on all the five years we had missed. However, as the lines of communication are open once again, I am hoping there will be plenty of weekends to catch up on the past and create new memories.
You do not need to be a detective to realise that I like cars. In particular beautiful fast cars. It is therefore no surprise that I am a big fan of the Fast & Furious film franchise. I saw the first movie back in 2001 while at university in Leicester but the sequels I then saw many years later on DVD at home during Christmas. I had in fact got the trilogy for Christmas and decided to watch all three movies back to back over three consecutive evenings.
When I heard they were working on a fifth movie, I was not actually that interested. I had been disappointed in the 2009 reboot, which I had seen almost two years ago. It had lost a great deal of the magic of the first movie. It is difficult to put into words what that magic actually refers to. Obviously these macho movies are mainly aimed at the male demographic and I am sure even the staunchest feminist would agree. It is the story and the characters that perhaps felt rather stale, afterall, this was a reboot after a third movie which was only loosely connected to the first two.
My expectations completely changed earlier in the year (February I believe) after I saw the trailer on Apple Movie Trailers Lite via my forever trusted XBMC (on the original 2001 XBox). It appeared like a true return to form, the full return of the original cast and those from the second and third movie. I was in particular looking forward to the introduction of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. If anyone could give Vin Diesel a run for his money it was the ex-WWE wrestler. It was then just the wait for late April. This year the Summer Blockbuster Movie season would start early and with a big bang.
I asked my beautiful fiancé, if she wanted to go and view the movie at our local multiplex, the Empire in Slough, but she had no care for the continuation of this particular franchise. Even though she had seen the first two movies, she had little opinion on them. Perhaps Paul Walker is losing his charismatic charm and cheeky smile. Second choice could only be my fellow car nut, Pav, so I made plans with him to catch the movie over the Bank Holiday Weekend. As he was busy with wedding plans and other delights at the weekend, the only “available” window with clearance from his fiancé, Emily was Sunday evening, so I booked tickets for the 8pm showing in our second home, screen four at the Vue cinema in Reading. I had made the sacrifice of the Pearl & Dean titles for the plush surroundings of perhaps one of the better cinemas in the area (outside of London’s West End).
I had been washing my car at the in-laws in Langley and jumped in the car around 6:30pm to drive down to The Oracle shopping centre in plenty of time for the movie (I had a feeling it would be busy and on booking most of the seats had been taken.) People were making the most of a late Sunday night with no work for Monday morning. I collected tickets from the machine and then just waited outside on a bench for Pav. He was still having his dinner, so I had a good fifteen minute break, checking Twitter and Facebook. He did soon materialize and we then headed up the escalator to screen four after grabbing some popcorn. I was looking forward to this movie!
We were not disappointed. The film had everything we had come to expect and was overall highly entertaining. It was a return to the winning formula and I would even be as bold to say it was better than the original from ten years ago. Why such a glowing review? It was good fun, it did not take itself too seriously. The action started in record fashion, within the first minute of the movie and set the tone for the rest of the two hours. Sure there were some awesome cars on show and some rather crazy chase sequences but the highlight (for me in any case) was Luke “Lucas” Hobbs. The one liners had Pav and I in stitches but some of the rather macho scenes were hilarious to watch too (in particular the face off with Dominic Toretto). This was a film that did not take itself too seriously and as an audience we warmed to this understanding.
Check out the biceps on this guy! Would you really want to rub him up the wrong way? He put on a very convincing performance as a DSS Agent on the hunt for these car thieves that ‘landed on his desk’. I have not really watched many movies featuring The Rock in a prominent role recently (The Mummy and Welcome To The Jungle are from earlier in the decade). Check out some of the memorable quotes on IMDB, most of which are far too family unfriendly for me to repeat on my blog. He truly was a mad cowboy unleashed in Rio! If you have not seen this movie already, which rock have you been hiding under? Get yourself to your local multiplex and catch it before it disappears.
I follow the Daybreak newspresenter Tasmin Lucia Khan on Twitter. She had asked her followers and the Twitter community at large if she should go and see the movie. I sent her a few tweets urging her to check out the movie. Later that evening, I got a reply from the sexy television presenter. What more of a ringing endorsement do I need to give? Some may say that this franchise should have been killed off after the failed third attempt (some even after the second) but for me, it is a franchise worthy of one final road trip. Bring Fast Six is what I say and I am sure I am not alone, considering that Rotten Tomatoes rating. (78% and 88% respectively if you must know!)