Category: Blogging

The Arsenal Way

My last two visits to the Emirates have been through the good fortune of winning competitions. Most recently on Saturday 15th September 2012, thanks to the wonderful ArseBlog (which I still ready daily and listen to both ArseCast and ArseCast Extra on a weekly basis while in the gym).

The time before this was the Christmas four years early for (at the time I would like to add) the top four clash against Liverpool. I have not been able to attend in recently years and although did try to get tickets for the Newcastle match in early December, the allocation reserved for Red Members sold out within minutes. I have made it my personal mission to get to the ground (for a match day) before the season is out.

My last trip to Islington was the day after we won the FA Cup in May. A gloriously sunny Sunday we watched the open bus parade through the streets of North London on the outskirts of the ground. We arrived a little too late to get to the prime spot in-front of the Armoury but caught glimpses of the team on the bus as it drove from the Town Hall back to the Emirates. While I taken my fully charged camera, in advertedly left in my sisters Golf at Wycombe Slough station, so had to make do with a few images from my Samsung Galaxy SIII. While my photos on my work phone automatically back up via wireless internet connection to my Google+ account, it is only this evening I have found the time to upload them to a FlickR set.

FA Cup ParadeFA Cup Parade

To be honest, I did not have high expectations of a self guided audio tour. I went to the cash desk, handed over my voucher and was told to just head over to the entrance. Before doing so I entered my name into the touchscreen to ensure I had my personalised certificate as evidence of my attendance of the tour. I was then asked which language I would like. As you can expect, Hindi was not available, so I selected English. I was given some brand new earphones. They were to be my ‘proof’ of purchase for the tour and I would need them later. However as you can expect they were hardly of the highest quality and I perhaps would have been better off plugin my own Sony earphones.

Following the few other people also on the tour, I was in the car parka and heading towards a lift but opted to actually take the stars and start taking the first of almost two hundred photos.

For the first time, in what feels like an age, I have uploaded all 184 photos into the cloud, sorted, organised and relabels a full set on FlickR which I have now made public for the world to see.

Emirates StadiumDirector's BoxEmirates Stadium

For full disclosure I should also mention that I won a Savile Rogue scarf from a competition on ArseBlog back in late November 2013. I enter a range of competitions set by the Irish blogger, not just exclusively to win tickets to matches, but merchadise, books, posters, you name it!

Welcome to the Future

As a young kid watching Back To The Future Part II at the UCI Wycombe Six with my family back in late 1989, the concept of 2015, seemed so far in the distance. When we are younger, are understanding of time has not quite fully developed and years and decades are difficult to comprehend. (Mainly from the fact we have experienced very few). I believe it is not until we are 13 (or 16) when we start earning that we appreciate that a certain amount of time and effort equates to a lump of sum of money landing in your bank account.

Happy New Year to one and all! Welcome to 2015. The year that promised us so much! Who knows what the future holds, but I intend to buckle up and enjoy the ride. Plenty to get done in the next three hundred and sixty four days, most of which will be documented here, along side micro blogging on Twitter, photographs on FlickR, the odd arty image uploaded and filtered on Instagram, plus anything worthy liked over on Tumblr. (I rarely post any original content on the Tumblr platform as I am far too old to be doing such things! I tend to just repost things I like but any suggestions on good sites to follow please get in touch) I have also recently joined Pinterest but not really made use of the social network just yet. I will keep you posted.

Best Wishes for the year ahead, I plan to make much more use of the blog this year, particularly with so many events in the planning already. Including tour of Emirates Stadium, weekend in Bucharest, stag weekend in Frankfurt to name just a few.

Annual Report

I should really publish my annual blog review report from JetPack each year, so you can see the most popular posts and comments on my blog. The overall summary is that after a poor six months, the second half of the year I kicked off and started to blog as often as I had when at the peak of my powers back in 2006/7.

Decembeard

Let me take you back just over three years, my first Christmas at Microsoft, I had booked off extended time over the holidays. My last day coincided with the Christmas night out in Reading, Thursday 15th December. It had just panned out that way with the Operations Team going out for a few drinks and exchanging Secret Santa gifts in Yates on Friar Street. It felt good to be working for a team that took these annual traditions seriously, even though I would have preferred the exchange to have taken place in the office. (Who wants to carry around a Christmas gift all night). In any case, it was a double celebration for me as I would not be back in the office until Monday 2nd January 2012. More than two weeks off, I was going to make the most of my time off, including New Year celebrations across the border in Edinburgh.

While trying not to give away too much information about my personal hygiene regime, I tend to shave Monday to Thursday mornings only. Allowing for a more casual rugged looked on Fridays, the dress down day in most modern offices. However, with the extended time off, I decided to stop shaving and for the first time in my life, grow a beard. The results were mixed to say the least. Some people loved it, others (including my dearest wife, not so much).

As if a long weekend break to the Scottish capital was not enough, a few days later I was off on a ski trip to Austria. I have to let you know the response received once I appeared to meet up with the extended group of friends at Gatwick Airport on the Saturday afternoon of our flight. (I had given a lift to Geoff and Foxy). Emily’s direct question to Geoff was, “Who is this tramp you have brought along with you?”. Now I can understand the reason for this negative feedback, their beard was hardly maintained to any satisfactory standard, either by myself or a barber. It had been a spontaneous decision, born out of the fact that I had no need to keep a professional appearance, I would not be at work for over two weeks. I wanted to see what it would be like to have a beard, particularly as my Dad has had a beard of various length over the years. (Quite the fashion statement in the 1970s with his signature long hair, not sure if he was modelling himself on Des O’Connor or somebody else).

The response when back in the office on 16th January was again mixed, with many of my colleagues unable to recognise me under the hairy forest. Some people said it suited me, others were not too sure, preferring the clean smooth Andrew they had grown used to for the past four months. The experiment did not last that long, after five working days in the office, the beard was removed on Sunday 22nd January and in the process, I took five years off my life. The only evidence of the beard was on my train photo pass (which I have kept as a momento) and the photographs taken by my friends on the ski trip in Mayrhofen.

Easit Pass

On Thursday last week, as it was the day of our Christmas Lunch at CA, I decided to not shave again and after seven days growth, thought it be good to take before and after photographs and let the blog reading public decide. Should not be hard, as I have about three readers in total.

Bearded Man

Clean Shaven

About two days ago, I had reached the itchy phase and was constantly scratching my face, which is not a great habit to get into, trust me. My ex-MS colleague, Harps had recommended a barbers down Wexham Road that he uses, which would be the best place to go to keep my beard trimmed and tidy. We shall see. I may decide to grow the hair again, later in the year. Although feedback has been mixed, some colleagues love it, other colleagues, friends and even my dearest wife, believe I look much better rocking the clean shaven look. Plus it does make me look younger. Having said that on Friday evening, I was requested ID by the door staff at Browns in Windsor. Now, I know I have baby face features but there is no way I look less than twenty-one, even with the stubble.

Protected: Unexpected Friendships

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Roadworks On The Doorstep

Nobody likes roadworks. Yet, they are an everyday nuisance of modern life. Living next to the First Great Western mainline route between Paddington and the West has meant we are inflicted upon by the noise of trains going by on a regular basis from 6am until midnight. Just like the planes overhead flying out and in to Heathrow, you get used to and after a month or so acclimatise to their existence. However, when we moved in over three years ago we knew little of the impact Crossrail would have on our new home. Stoke Poges Lane has a bridge, affectionately named after a local factory landmark, Horlicks Bridge. The bestowed name from the GSK building nearby which many years ago produced the nightime beverage. It is tight for two regular vehicles to cross at the same time and when lorries approach the crossing, they have to wait to ensure they are given a clear passage. Network Rail own the bridge, rather than Slough Borough Council, so therefore have been in charge of the upgrade in preparation for the electrification of the line from Reading all the way to the capital. The bridge is to be removed in November and fully replaced with full size bridge in April. Meanwhile we have had to put up with roadworks which started about two weeks ago, with three way traffic lights controlling the flow of vehicles over the bridge.

Roadworks

While driving home from Wycombe this evening, I came up to the lights and waited for them to turn green as you do. A wait of ten minutes, maybe a little more. However, as the lights turned green, a driver had taken the risk and jumped the red light on the other side. Now most cars ahead of me decided this was just not on and decided to force the driver to stop just before the signal. Being the better person I decided to let the silver Golf pass, only to have a bright blue BMW behind me toot their horn for holding them up. I was trying to let the vehicle through, so then the rest of the traffic would have clear run at the bridge. Oh the impatience of some drivers. This reall does get my goat sometimes. Why is everybody in such a hurry. I am sure there was a Honda Jazz television advert from many years ago which ended with the lines – “Aren’t We All Just Trying To Get Somewhere…!”

Momentous Milestones

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.

On Trailer

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.

The Most Sincere Form Of Flattery

Feel I have been disconnected in recent weeks until my brother-in-law Steve streamed this video on his TV this afternoon. #PatelWilliams now that is just pure genius! Well done to Ali for another fantastic performance!

WordPress Themes