Posts tagged: Wycombe

Saturday 15th March 2008

It is 10:40am, as I begin writing this post. I have just got back from town and the new Eden Shopping Centre. More on that later but first there are a few other bits and bobs to mention.

Imagine if I worked for a big corporate machine, with silk ties, polished shoes and endless bureaucratic procedures. Certain things would not be possible. Football draws (predominately FA Cup and Champions League) have always been big events at our office. However two years ago, it was a case of one person logging into BBC News while another uses the faster ESPN Soccer Net site to get the details of the draw. Now, we can watch the draw live on Sky Sports News on a big 40″ LCD screen in the main board room. You just have to wait for all the razzmatazz to finish before we get to the actual draw itself (after a compilation video featuring all the quarter finalists.) Our master of ceremonies was some Scotsman and the official ambassador of the 2008 final, Soviet keeper, Dasayev (yep, never heard of him either or even remember him from the 1988 European Championship final). When Arsenal got drawn first I knew it was a bad sign and sure enough we got Liverpool. Then Chelsea go and get one of the easiest teams left in the cup plus have the favoured option of playing at home in the second leg. I could start the conspiracy theories here but I will wait to see how the next round pans out. So you can imagine the cheers from all the Liverpool fans in our office (one outspoken and at least three closet) and I have to admit that Arsenal are underdogs but it will be a true test of how far Wenger has taken this team and their pedigree if this year is to be a league and cup double. However, I would happily lose to the Scousers if it meant we beat them in the League and won the championship. However, we shall see what transpires. There is a while to go before those crucial games and plenty of work in the league to be done before then.

I got up around 8.30am and was walking to the bus stop just before 9.15am. As I approached the stop, I looked over my shoulder and saw the 100 bus coming around the roundabout. Perfect timing. However my free return ticket was only valid on the 32 and 33 services, so I had to pay the £1.50 return on the 100 Park & Ride service. I was on my way into town, to see the new Eden Shopping Centre. I got off at the Library (due to move across to the new complex in June) only to find a big queue. It did not open until 9.30am, so it was a good five minute wait before the doors where opened. I returned my book and headed across town. I was looking forward to seeing how the old Bridge Street car park, where my Dad had parked his car and I had parked my car for many years before heading to town had been transformed into a so called shoppers “paradise”. The Octagon is no more, the old sign has gone and been replaced by Eden. What can I say? It is okay I suppose and the scale that reflects the size of our town. Walking around and going into the some of the shops, I could not be have the feeling that there was something missing. A big final show piece, a big bang. Sure some of the retail units have yet to be opened but most of them are open and busy with shoppers. I can only compare it to the Oracle and that at least has a great open section by the river. Here at Eden we have a stupid silver waterfall pillar at the newly christen Eden Square. I went into House Of Fraser, to the first floor and as I came up the escalator noticed a clothes stand. I had to get out my camera and take a photograph.

Superdry

This is Pav’s number one brand at the moment and there is even a Superdry store in Reading, so I am quite sure he will not be rushing over to Wycombe anytime soon. I approached a member of staff and as he directed me to the accessories stand he asked, “Is this your first time in store?” What do you think buddy, you’ve only been open since Thursday (around forty-eight hours). I then headed across into the new flagship M&ampS store which was quite impressive but for the squeaky noise my shoes made on the new flooring. I took a walk back around and make a circuit around Tesco. It looks quite strange to see the old store surrounded by all the new shops. It makes me laugh to think they took the council to the High Court of the development and they had to in the end just build around them. I went up the escalator to the AMF Bowling and CineWorld complex. I am not sure why I even bothered to look at what movies were playing at the multiplex. I am never going to go there. Not unless they suddenly sign the contract with Pearl & Dean to do their screen advertising (which is highly unlikely but not impossible). I may be dragged kicking and screaming to see some Bollywood flick but I doubt it, the last one (on the big screen) I saw was Christmas two years ago. I will keep faithful to Vue, Reading at The Oracle and their impressive screen four. Something’s are worth making the trek for, particularly when you know what you are getting, know which seats to book and the fact that you can always use your Nectar card when times get hard!

Someone who could really judge how much the town has changed would be my Dad as he has lived in here since he was five or so. (Those whom would have been truly able to reminisce about the old town, are unfortunately no longer with us.) Forty three odd years of change are bigger yard stick than the near twenty that I have spent, so far on this mortal coil. The weekend detail weather report sponsored by Crystal Detail (URL coming – watch this space), predicted rain for both today and tomorrow but it is quite dry at the moment, so I might brave the condition and wash my car. Detail is just two weekends away. Have a great weekend whatever you get up to and I will try my best to post again before the weekend is out and we are into another working week (be it a little shorter).

Sunday 9th December 2007

After a tiring week, in and out of the office I had nothing major planned for this weekend. The ‘Lost’ Weekend if you will. On Saturday, I got up around 9.30am and after breakfast headed over to Reading in the heavy rain for a pre-arranged appointment. Then after a productive discussion, I headed over back to Wycombe. It was 11.50am as I was on the by-pass, just before the Marlow exit. I was tempted to head home and catch Football Focus but opted to go into town and get some jobs done. I parked, as I always do over in George Street and walked the short distance into the town centre, in the heavy rain. The walk way around Tesco was cut off and we had to walk underneath the ramp into the car park. Around the corner, the old bus station was under barriers, but they had been moved closer to the entrance of Tesco, so we had to make our way through a large puddle to make it into the Octagon. Here too, all change. The doors had been removed and the flooring covered. I went to Clinton Cards (as I do every year) to get my Christmas Cards. I then headed over to Zavvi.co.uk (formerly VShop, formerly Our Price) but could not find what I was looking for, so headed onto the High Street and into Woolworths. It was about 12.30pm, I headed home. In no real mood to stick around town, particularly with the dreadful weather and queues.

The rest of the weekend, I was lazy. Extremely lazy but I did spent a little time sorting out all my paperwork and doing some work for a client. Back in the mid 1990s, a friend of mine lent me a PC game. It was called the Journeyman Project and it was fantastic! You can read the full details about the game over on Wikipedia but a quick summary is as follows. The premise is time travel. You have to go back and stop ripples in time which could have a major effect on mankind. Like Back To The Future but rather than focus on the McFly family, the focus is the whole universe. It was not an easy game, and I needed a walkthrough to get through to much of the first part before I eventually gave up (and my friend wanted the CD back). Remember kids, these were the days before broadband internet access and CD-writers as standard. Something inside, is telling me I should get myself the game again and give it another crack.

I had seen the trailers for a television series with the same name (minus the ‘Project’) and it was only on Friday I thought I would download the first episode and give it ago. To begin with I was rather lost. Quite a lot going on but not much explanation, however I was persistent and towards the end really enjoyed the show. It is very clever, although not entirely original. It is a mixture of US sci-fi series Quantum Leap and UK Saturday night drama series Crime Traveller. I have the second episode on my machine now and will watch it after the Sports Personality Of The Year show on BBC One. Not sure if it is even worth putting on MOTD2 tonight!

Wednesday 21st June 2006

This may surprise you but I tend to prefer to watch football in two places. In the comfort of my own sofa, at home. Or at the ground (Highbury and soon Ashburton Grove). I have only ever watched one game in pub group environment. (While you recover from the shock, let me explain). It was the England Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey in October 2003. Looking back I started reading my archives as I often do and amaze myself how quickly the memories start flooding back, often putting a smile on my face. Back then, it was my final year at University and after a group of us wondered around the city centre to find a bar, we headed back to the SU bar and ended up watching there on the big screen. I decided not to go to Canary Wharf on Saturday for the first group game, even though I had until early on Saturday morning been quite open to persuasion. Dave persuaded me to come down to Litten Tree in the centre of High Wycombe. He messaged me while at work and explained he would be down there from around 7pm and to get there early for a good seat. I told him that as I finished work at 6pm by the time I got ready and had some dinner it would be nearer 7.30pm. It would be free to get in, I was assured.

My Dad got in just as I was having my dinner and said he would go down with me. We headed off just before 7.30pm and parked in the Sainsbury car park in Dovecot Street, directly opposite the pub. Walking up, we could see already it was quite busy and a small queue outside. It was student night, Bar 150, all mainline drinks £1.50, and you could tell the crowd was generally quite young. We paid £2 each to get in, which was bit of a joke, but I know of other pubs charging over £5 for tickets which had to be booked in advance. Heading to the bar, I felt the patriotic atmosphere straight away, with classic England songs being sung by drunken men at the back with the loud and deep voices. I text Dave, it was drawing closer to kick-off with a few minutes to go. Then, I looked around to the left of the bar and there he was, queuing for his beverages. He placed his order, got me to hand over the cash, while he went to hand the drinks over to his friends. I then went over to meet and greet them, some whom I knew from before. So we took our places, viewing positions for the match. We were watching one of the plasma screens at the back, but standing right by the staff bar door so constantly had to get out of the way for the bar staff as they came to collect glasses. Never mind, minor interruption. Come on England!

As you know I have regrets by the bucket load, but sometimes you just have to turn opportunities down and go with what you feel is right. My company was holding an exclusive football night at the Hilton in London for clients to enjoy a champagne reception, the game and guest speaker at half time, in the form of Harry Redknapp. At the last minute, due to cancellations, my manager offered two tickets to us in our team meeting. I thought about it for a few minutes but turned it down, as did Chris. We had to be there for 6pm and it would have been a made rush to make plans. Plus and perhaps more importantly I would not be able to wear my England shirt or actually get into mood, with the company and surroundings taken into account. At least down my local pub I could (to a certain extent) be myself. Do I regret turning down this great opportunity. No, not at all. Football is about passion in a relaxed joyful atmosphere. Something you cannot just bottle up and hope works at an exclusive hotel, with all the benefits of a lavish expense account.

So much has been said about the England game already. The injury to Owen. Sol Campbell making a hash of things at the back. Beckham going missing (again?) and Sven still not bringing on the boy wonder, Walcott. What is there really for me to add to the debate that has not been mention over the past twenty four hours. I love England and I love the World Cup but I’m realistic. I am a fan of the beautiful game and the best team deserves to win the competition (although that is not always the case, as I am sure those anoraks out there will be quick to point out). England need to play better and I am sure on Sunday afternoon they will put on an improved performance over the course of 90 minutes. England expects. Much much better.

My Dad has been gathering a great collection for me, of World Cup pullouts, souvenirs, guides, both Panini and Merlin sticker books (official tournament and FA England respectively) and other merchandise, over the past few weeks. My favourite by far are these stamps thanks to Royal Mail.

World Cup Winners

Wednesday 31st May 2006

My Dad rang me at work. I didn’t give him the number proactively, I just think he took it off a business card. Anyway, he asked if I would come along if he booked tickets to the circus. I reluctantly said yes. This would be yet another first for me (but also my Mum). So straight after work, I got changed and headed down to The Rye, Wycombe’s famous park, right in the centre of town. The idea of Uncle Sam’s American Circus, perhaps gave the impression of an over friendly and big is beautiful act. Although I was keen to at least try and enjoy the experience. We parked up with a few minutes to spare until 7pm. Heading down to the big tent, there was already a small crowd gathered inside and the inner circle seats had been taken by the younger children and their parents. There was a live band, but the tent from the outside gave the impression of being quite big, but when you were seated inside, you realised that the stage was quite small. Perhaps this was the idea, to make the audience feel part of the show. I hasten to add that I of course what in the age group that the show was intended for. So, this review perhaps is rather harsh in tone, but I am only being honest from an adult point of view. Firstly there was the pre-show ploy. Have your acts selling hats, plates with sticks, to then spin and stupid furry tails at extortionate prices. Of course, if you are with child, or several, they will be keen to pressure you into spelling your hard earn cash on these novelty items. Then there was the food, once again over priced popcorn and candy floss (cotton candy to some readers across the pond). Perhaps this is where the owners of this moving bandwagon make their money. As I am sure once all the fees have been paid from the ticket sales there is not much else to go around. No time to review the balance sheet, the show was about to begin. The band kicked in and a strong American voice boomed across the PA system. I could not see the man, I considered to be the Uncle Sam. The voice was too American, so it was difficult to confirm whether it was real or purely put on. In the end I could never conclude either way. He welcomed everyone but then gave his standard disclaimer, that must be standard fare for most public related events, so the organisers can immune themselves from any potential prosecution. The show began with some can can dancers? Now please explain how American that is? Never mind, it was only the show opener, to get everyone in the mood and clapping. Then Sam introduced the next act, Woody’s Roundup. Yet instead of Stinky Pete, there was Buzz Lightyear (my all time favourite character from the whole franchise). But does Uncle Sam have rights from Disney and/or Pixar to use these characters? The likeness was close but not quite perfect, giving the impression they were not sanctioned by the studio. It was mindless fun for the children and the crowd really came to live for these characters. There was even a hint of the smile of a boy, twenty four years young in the audience, when the Space Ranger turned and smiled to our stand. Then the ‘real’ talent acts came out. We had a mixture of performers, ranging from the bankable bow and arrow (sorry, crossbow, I stand corrected) and trapeze artist. A Mexican, who fell off first time around. But he did have his feet strapped to buckets and was double blindfolded. He made it across the second time around. The best act were Equilibrium, who were artists (two boys and girls) who performed amazing feats with a ladder suspended in the middle in the tent. Walking out, I didn’t feel short changed but I thought the overall experience apart from some spectacular acts was cheap, tacky and rather distasteful. Yet, it was half term and I supposed you have to keep the little ones occupied.

Great Scott!

I was inspired by a t-shirt that Pav had. He wore it when we were in Germany. I searched online and found another t-shirt, while similar was slightly different. I ordered it from Truffle Shuffle, a web site for us children from the 1980s. I placed my order on Tuesday from work at lunchtime and sure enough by Wednesday, I had my shirt in my hand. Fantastic. I have nothing but good things to say about the service from the Goonie dance inspired web site. Excellent original products, sleek easy to use web site and no annoying e-mails, trying to entice to buy more merchandise. I have been avoiding my friend Mighty Mouse (AKA Hussein) for the past few days, well since the weekend in fact. I know if I speak to him on MSN, I will get uncontrollably excited about this weekend in Norfolk. Instead, I have opted to keep communication down to a minimum. He picks me up around 8.30pm tomorrow and my second weekend adventure begins. Can you guess what it is yet? Maybe the t-shirt above will give you a big clue. Plus giving some Libyans a bomb filled of ‘used pinball parts’, Hill Valley and power lace Nike sneakers. Time to go pack, charge my digital camera batteries and get set for an adventure, shall I say of a lifetime.

Friday 6th May 2005

With Friday comes my weekly blog entry. Sometimes, I consider that I should keep my blogging to this one day a week and include a detailed roundup of all the events in my week. While this was not be difficult to achieve, I feel the ability to record any moment in my life, which I deem appropriate or rather news worthy, gives for a much more entertaining blog. Friday is my favourite day of the week and in the evening I have the first opportunity to take stock of the working week, look forward to the weekend and make plans for the coming few weeks.

My mobile is never on during the course of my working day. Working on a help desk, answering calls to a 0800 number means I have little time to take my own personal calls. I may switch it on during the lunch hour to check if have messages, but generally I switch it on at 6pm, as I leave the office and get into my car. Most of the tine, there are no texts coming through and no voicemails waiting. Yesterday, Thursday evening was different. As I got to the exit and main road, my phone, now in my top right breast pocket, vibrated. First it was a voicemail, so I stopped the car, listened to the first few minutes of the message and killed the call. Then, back to the driving, heading home. My phone vibrated again, this time it was a text message. Completed unexpected, it was from the one person who has been on my mind more than anyone else. Yet another appearance on Murdoch’s flagship News channel was scheduled for this evening at 7pm. No problem, I would be easily able to cast my vote and be back in time to catch the latest from Santa Barbara. Seconds later, I got another text message, sent earlier that afternoon. The appearance had been moved to 6.45pm. This was going to be tight. I put my foot down, thinking of the most suitable reply to the original message, as I sped across from the lavish Berkshire countryside into the deep Chiltern hills. The clock was ticking. I needed to get home, collect my vote notices and then walk over to the polling station for my ward. Then rush back in time to catch Sky News. As I left the house and walked up the road, I checked my watch, it was coming up to 6.30pm and I would have to rush to get back in time. Some among you may have opted to go and carry out your democratic right, your civic duty later in the evening. This evening had been planned for months in advanced. I was not going to let myself or my dear Grandfather down. So, walked at a brisk pace to the polling station which is only 5 minutes away. Not sure why some people would decide to drive there, there is no parking and major roadworks on the main road. For my first true taste of democracy this was not the most memorable. At the entrance, an lady in the autumn of her hears, checked and recorded my number on the electoral roll. Then, I entered this local Community Centre. The queue was surprising long, with around half a dozen people ahead of me, and only three voting booths erected in the middle of the main stage. This is it, I thought to myself, as I watched the machinery of the people power hard at work ahead of me. A system was clearly in place and executed with precision. The first lady, took your voting cards, noted your number and issued the parliamentary voting paper, passing this along to the next lady. She then noted down the my electoral number on what like a raffle ticket booklet. My local council ballot paper was then issued and both papers passed onto to a middle aged man, who had the fantastic job of operating a stapler. Then, the papers were passed onto me, with my polling cards tossed onto a back table, which had by this time, a mountain of other cards. These were the most important documents that I had in my hand, as I headed towards the only voting booth that was free. In the middle, a small blunt pencil had been placed and I quickly marked a large cross on both papers, folded them and placed them into the ballot box. This final act, was perhaps the most satisfying of all. Putting to rest, four weeks of strained campaigning, which had seen the news services converted into this industrial strength election organ grinders. Enough, I had other things on my mind, as I left the building, rushing back towards home. As I approached my housing estate (that does not sound right, perhaps my residential neighborhood) my mind came to the realisation that perhaps I had missed this appearance and not to fret, for there would be plenty more before the case was laid to rest. The sun was shining brightly for the final burst of sunshine for the day, as I headed back. I got in, switching on the television, checking the time it was 6.46pm, I had made it just in time. Watching my television light up with your face, in mid flow responding to some tough questions from the news presenter. Comfortable under pressure, the professional performance always comes through with something positive to give back. Then before I had time to sit down, they news agenda changed to another story, sports, if my memory serves me correctly. The moment was gone. I had to get in touch, let them know they had done a good job, but also confirm that I had been able to catch the last glimpsing moments of them on satellite. Wish there was more I could do, than be a mere spectator watching from a far!

I know there is a long tradition to always rebel against the town of your birth. Not in the sense you hold a great grudge against the place, but just the fact that it is boring, there is nothing to do. Whenever you do go out, it is the same places and the same old faces. As my blog entry from Easter 2003, April 20th to be exact, clearly demonstrates. Thankfully, that will all soon come to an end. When I read through our local free paper, The Star, I was intrigued to discover a one page article about the redevelopment of the town centre. This programme has only just entered the first phase, but the plans are breathtaking. If all dreams become a reality and the artist impressions and computer generated images come close to match the bricks and mortar that is laid, Wycombe, my Wycombe will be the place to go and be seen. Watch this space, this is not going to be an overnight miracle, but I look forward to the day, when I say I am from High Wycombe, people sit up, take notice and actually want to visit the place. Oh, by the way, for pure reference purposes, here is the Google Map of my home town.

Monday 31th May 2004

Firstly, I wish to extend my deepest apologises to many of my friends. The last few days, and this holiday weekend just past, have been extremely hectic. I have
tried my best to keep in touch with everyone and let them know what is going on. I know this has not always been possible, therefore, I would like to use my blog to make this brief announcement. I am sorry to anyone, who feels I have not been a good friend to them in the past week or so. A friend commented, that I had forgotten all the ‘little people’. This is not the case at all. I have not forgotten anyone, it just has been hard to find the time to reply to e-mails, texts and of course e-mails. With this apology, I would subsequently like to add, that I will be making a renewed effort to get in touch with everybody (and I do mean, everybody) over the course of the next few days.

Not been able to spend the amount of time I would have liked on my website today. I am currently going through all the images from the Motor Show. There are 160 in total. I want to bring them down to a reasonable number, and then upload a selection of the best. Edited, cropped and re-sized only eight so far. Hope to have the album added and the current albums updated by the end of the week. But please, don’t hold me to that deadline.

So how do I add a final note for Leicester? The city holds so many great memories for me, that it is difficult at times to realise, the significance of the decision to go to the Midlands to study.

Closure is important in all of our lives. It is important to know that there is a need to move on. What is more difficult to grasp is the opportune moment to do so. This will not be my final entry on Leicester, because there is so much more the city holds for the future. Sometimes words are just not enough, and a picture paints the scene, in a more powerful and dramatic fashion. A new day, has come.

Tuesday 6th April 2004

I haven’t been avoiding blogging, as many would have you believe. Defeat is something that I’ve only tasted a few times with Arsenal this season and I am sure they will bounce back this evening against Chelsea. Once again, someone else has been able to put together the words that fit the current situation with the Gooners, in the most fitting phrases. Once again, I turn to my dear friend in Spain. The English teacher, well I presume that from how he ends most of his blog entries. Read the entry from after the game against Manchester United. You realise that his heart truly does lie in North London. Long may Arse Blog, come to provide all us Arsenal fans with a ‘fan’s view’ of life with the Red Army.

Had some relatives over, during the past few days. I must say it has been nice and pleasant to see them again. Not sure of the exact dates, but last saw them in Paris, Easter 1993. We do have a small twenty minute video of the trip, and there are some classic moments. Including the wearing of some jumpers that Zack Morris,
of Saved By The Bell fame would have been ashamed off. Luckily the VHS has gone missing to save my blushes. Well for the time being anyhow. My uncle is a big fan of cricket, so we have been watching the opening two days of the 2nd Test between India and Pakistan in Lahore. I must admit that I am not a big fan of cricket. I do enjoy the one day internationals and of course the World Cup. However, it lacks the speed, fluidity and flair that football has. The games are drawn out affairs, taking place over the course of several days. That is not to say, that split second events and actions do not turn a game around, I just feel, as a sport it lacks the excitement and sheer entertainment value of football. Pakistan have made a good return following the first Indian innings and reached a commanding 355-3. Will have to see how the next few days go, but I feel that Pakistan will win this test, and India, hopefully come back and win the series. I will of course be keeping an eye on the scorecard, if not watching explicitly on Sky.

What else is there mention in my blog? Well I am back in Wycombe for the Easter break. Got to get my project wrapped up and my report written and exam revision organised. I am glad to be back, even though I’ve not actually made a conscious decision to contact any of my friends, thus far. I will do later this week. I know, if I get in touch with them now, I will meet up with them earlier and consequently get very little work done. Better I get down to some good work. Sorry if this entry lacks some of the now regularly emotion, wit, humour and reflection. I just am not in that frame of my mind at the moment. I feel the reason for this is, my environment. I am back at home with my family. There is so much going on and so many other distractions (Sky, friends, driving) that I find it difficult to find myself and the time to actually perhaps be myself as I do, when in Leicester. For when there, I still in my room, all alone, with only my thoughts guiding the flow of my fingers on the keyboard. Right now, I do not have the time or space to take such deep reflection. I know this will fragment many of future entries, but I shall try my best to bring some depth and feeling to my blog. If I fail in this, please let me know.

I end with a quote. A quote that should be filling the minds of some 12 players at Highbury. Arsene Wenger, should be doing his utmost best to make sure that two defeats do not equate to, “down and out”. Far from it. I never pictured myself quoting an impeached President’s quote on my blog, but then I suppose stranger things have happened. Perhaps one of the few truth’s the man spoke are symbolic of not just him and his predicament, but some challenge we all face at sometime in our lives.

A man is not finished when he’s defeated; he’s finished when he quits.” – Richard Millhouse Nixon

Friday 13th February 2004

Home for the weekend. Left Leicester around 5.40pm, and got into Wycombe around 7.20pm which was quite good going, taking into account I was driving my sister’s M-Reg, Metro GTA. It is only a 1.1 injection, but still quite nippy. May go into London this Saturday to get some sightseeing done. Looking forward to the 5th Round of the FA Cup, particularly Sunday midday clash! :) Not much else to report at the moment, I’m afraid. Should be upgrading my hosting next week and have some more breathing space with regards to bandwidth.

MightyMouse has chipped his XBox and connected it up to his home network. All this, within a few days of having purchased the games console. Then there is myself, who takes months to get around going beyond the basic features of the hardware. Usual thing, I will just about work out how to make a phone call, send a text and use WAP. Then my dear friend Sippy, will come along and be customizing to the max! Happy Birthday to you old man! How does it feel? One year older, one year wiser?

Will update later, towards the end of the week, when I am can put everything into perspective, as I review events. Take care and hope you have a wonderful weekend.

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