This was not how I had intended to end my weekend, driving back from Nottingham to Slough. My car broke down, just off the M69 as we were approaching the A46 outside Coventry. A call to Green Flag and a forty minute wait later, we were towed over to the nearby Tesco supermarket. It was nearly 8pm at this point, the supermarket long since closed but the petrol station was open and we bought some sandwiches while we waited. The car was going to be loaded onto a trailer and driven down to Slough but we had up to a 90 minute wait. It was going to be a long night. The truck arrived within thirty minutes and we were on our way home. We did not expect to be home before 11pm.
We had been in Nottingham for the 100th Birthday celebrations of my long term family friend’s mother. It had been a wonderful but tiring day and we looking forward to getting home at 7pm to prepare for another working week. It was not to be.
My dearest friend Pav has been lucky enough to spend many a birthday in his favourite countries throughout Europe. Being born in mid January does align with the winter ski and snowboard season. Lucky boy! Being born towards the end of year, has generally meant I have never had the option to go abroad. By the time winter hits the UK, most people have long used up their holiday entitlement, me included. I recall taking a phone call on my birthday from a friend and being told it was the second worst birth month after his own of February. (Talk about making me feel better!) However this year, thanks to Michelle, I was lucky enough to spend my birthday in Spain. My wife had organised a surprise visit to the Barcelona for a weekend away in what we hoped would be some sunshine. Of course it was not the complete surprise Michelle had intended as I needed to book some time off work and make my passport available. Nevertheless a fantastic way for me to spend my 32nd birthday and totally out of bag from what I had expected.
While we live a fifteen minute drive from Heathrow, the EasyJet flights were from Gatwick so we had a mini trek across London to make it to the airport. However, as we both had the afternoon off, we made excellent time leaving at 3:40pm and making it to the check-in desk of the North Terminal by 5:45pm. Our flight was not until 8pm.
A wonderful weekend, with us able to pack in so much into a mere 48 hours. We did a little sight seeing, had a fantastic meal at the top rated restaurant in the city and were able to take a tour around the Nou Camp. I would like to add more to this blog but now, two weeks later, it is late and my memory is starting to fade. I hope I get the chance to fill everybody in on our adventures. I took almost 400 photos, so I should really make the FlickR set public. I will get around to it eventually – I promise!
It is that time of year once again. A few clues for the uninitiated.
A big thank you for all the cards, messages and love. My colleagues were treated to a selection of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. (Six dozen with a variety of choice). The most popular person in the office on a Friday. Those who decided to work from home (as many do at MS on a Friday) regret their decision.
During 2010, my wife Michelle was a fan of Glee along with me and we were watching series one at practically the same time. Although I was a few episodes ahead, on my weekly TV diet, she would watch episodes in major blocks. We watched an episode together, “Wheels”, one weekend (I think I may have already seen it) but she was catching up. The episode in question, featuring Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel performing a musical number. Where is this from, I asked! Wicked, my dearest fiancé replied. I had heard of the Broadway musical. In fact many years earlier my Mum had actually gone on a school trip with her school girls into the West End to see the show! I really enjoyed the song and it soon became a personal favourite. Of course Rachel’s version is much better because it was always written with the idea of a female vocalist. Even though in the show, Kurt fumbles his lines on purpose (not hitting the top note) to miss out on a lead role. I did want to see the show myself, Michelle had been lucky enough to see the show early into the West End run with Andy Garcia in a lead role! Would she really want to go and see it again?
My birthday was on the horizon and I asked Michelle that I would like to go for a nice meal and to see the show Wicked. She instantly agreed and went ahead with all the arrangements. I do have an amazing wife! I was looking forward to the show, I knew the plot device, an alternative back story to The Wizard Of Oz. After our meal at The Athenaeum Hotel, we rushed across to Victoria in a Hackney Carriage and made it just in time to take our seats before the show started. In fact, I even had a chance for a call of nature, but heard music being played as I made way back from the toilets to our seats. A fantastic stage, I really like the Art Deco feel of the Victoria Apollo. It was another sold out performance of the smash hit show.
Michelle (who I am sure would have wanted to whisper to me more during the performance) only prodded me moments before the climatic close to Act One and smiled. Defying Gravity is a pure pop song. I love the lyrics, the change in mood, the feeling it invokes within. It means so much and has the possibility of living a life without limits and a boundless energy! I am disappointed I did not see the show performed on the Beeb’s I’ll Do Anything. Although having said that, I have tended to avoid these Graham Norton vehicle, Andrew Lloyd Webber backed talent hunts. Maybe I should dig it up on YouTube? Now having seen the show, do I really want to dampen my memory with a low-par (apparently out of tune performance) from television?
This should be a major symbolic post, that goes on for over one thousand words but based on my recent lack of activity (less than an entry per a month in real time) I very much doubt I will be able to perform to that level. (I believe my natural peak in terms of blog output was sometime over the summer of 2006). Instead I will do my best to try and capture in a few paragraphs the journey of the last ten years.
In 2001, I was in my second year at University in the city of Leicester, living in a shared house off Narborough Road. The main hub of student existence for DMU students in the East Midlands city. The internet connection was un-metered dial up using Freeserve. I shared the cost with my house mate, final year law student Shahid, who had the room downstairs (the converted front room). We were however the poor relations to my house mate Sippy who had NTL TV and cable broadband. Life overall was good, studies were going well. I had a part time weekend job at Jacksons Stores about a minute walk from the house. The campus was about a ten minute walk from our house and I remember those cold mornings having to get up early to get over there for lectures. It is a real shame that I did not have a blog at this moment in time (I did however have an on-line presence with my personal website but it was not updated regularly and had actually fallen into a state of semi-neglect). This changed in early 2002, when I focused on securing a placement for my year out in industry. I set up a new professional website on my DMU Computer Science account (c00at) with help of my house mate Sippy. This website has evolved over time and I now host my professional website over at Andrew Tegala dot Net
In my hunt for an internship, I took on the responsibility myself and wrote directly to all the big players. I used my University Placement Service sparingly but in the end it was two positions I applied through them that turned into interviews. All of my personal applications resulted in rejections. Blue chip rejections that my future final year house mate, Nav would comment on, many years later, on one of his now long abandoned blogs. My first interview was with the National Grid in Winnersh. I had to prepare a presentation, which if I am honest did not go very well. After the two person interview, I met up with two of the current interns and was given a very brief walk around the office. I did not endure myself to them very well, refusing an offer of a drink and then perhaps over stepping the mark by asking how other candidates had performed. I left the interview, knowing in my mind I would not be called back for the second stage of the process.
It was then I had another interview actually on campus for the placement I would eventually obtain. It felt strange dressing up in a suit and walking to campus from Cambridge Street and then going up to some random floor in the James Went building (long since demolished and replaced). However I did not want to take this placement. Although the job itself was fine, it was the commuting distance (to Bedford) which every day would be a strain! Over one hundred miles a day and six hundred a week. Over the course of a year I would clock up over twenty four thousand miles plus spend over two hours commuting every day. My Placement Office were not very helpful, if I failed to take the position I had been offered, they would refuse to help me with any further applications. While this seemed like a relevantly empty threat (eighty percent of my applications had been completed using my own initiative) it was getting late into the process. I was unlikely to find another placement. With some bitterness I accepted the role and continued with the studies of my second year.
My placement year was probably the biggest moment of my life up to that point in time. It was a test, a coming of age for me in the sense of a fresh new start. A great of events took place during my placement year, most of which I do not wish to go into but the most significant resulted in me starting this blog. Yes, believe it or not nine years have passed since I started putting all my thoughts and feelings onto the inter-web. It has been one incredible journey and I never thought I would still be posting all these years later. Now thanks to WordPress I have categorised all my Birthday entries, so you can read them in their very own category. Here’s to many more birthdays to come, all the way up to the next milestone, the big four-zero! I wonder how much my life will have changed in the next decade!
Stop the clock, there are now just a mere 31, 536, 000 seconds left of my twenties. The big 30 is fast approaching and there is very little I can do stop this collision course. I just guess I have to hang on and enjoy the ride!