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28th June 2006

Wednesday - 10.15pm : I opened my email this morning to find I've won another competition! This time I've won a copy of Whitesnake's 'In the Still of the Night' DVD. See, it can be worth while spending a minute or two to do a competition! I do a few every now and then, and once in a while it pays off.

Lisa does a lot of digital scrapbooking. She creates some beautiful layouts and it's her birthday in a couple of days, so I wanted to surprise her by doing a scrapbook layout for her. I couldn't wait, so I showed it to her today. She likes it, so I'm happy. It's my first attempt at a digital scrapbook layout, but when you're playing aruond with graphics etc all day at work it can be difficult to try and do the same thing in the evening.

My latest DVD rental is Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. It's an Action/Thriller/Comedy film starring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, even Downey's son appears in the film. I've never seen it before, but I've read some good reviews so I'm looking forward to seeing it. I've not go much on this weekend, so I'll try to watch the DVD then.

I've still not had my blood results back, but I did get a letter from the hospital last week. I've now got a hospital appointment at the end of next month. I won't go into detail, but I'm really not looking forward to it (or the preparations I have to do for it)!

Thanks for comments go to Graeme, Cyberevolution, Poet, Nick, Andrea, Liss, Shpprgrl, Cassie, Daystar, Sissy B, Dawn, Danielle, Me, Myself & I, Katie and Mandy.

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25th June 2006

Sunday - 7.25pm : You'd think I'd learn! Apparently not. I got sunburnt yesterday. I had every intention of putting sun screen on, but got sidetracked and it was too late by the time I realised. However, that didn't stop me having a great time yesterday.

Thursday was pretty much non-stop for me. I came home from work, grabbed something to eat and then headed out again. I spent the evening doing a photo-shoot for a local band as a favour for a colleague. So I hope some of the photos will be useful to them. I also ended up shooting some video. That's something I've never really done before. Actually, I'd never really taken photos for anyone but myself before. I'm not really used to an expectation of the photos being good. (I don't have a huge amount of self-confidence).

After a lie-in on Friday, I packed a bag (I'd not had time on Thursday because I didn't get home until 11.30pm) and may my way down to Milton Keynes. After signing-in at the hotel we went for a walk around the shopping centre. I'm trying not to spend money at the moment, so I didn't buy anything other than something to eat.

In the evening we went to the cinema to see Posiedon - we were the only ones there! I've read some bad reviews about the film, but I really enjoyed watching it (especially as there was nobody else there to annoy me by making noise, kicking seats etc). I don't think it's a "remake" of the original film, it's just based around it. It started by giving us a taster of the characters who would take us through the film, then the action started. When it showed the underwater parts I found I was almost holding my breath myself! Ignore the bad reviews and give it a chance.

Yesterday I went to see Take That (again) at the Milton Keynes Bowl. The weather was perfect (apart from giving me sunburn!) and 60,000 people were packed in to see a great show. Beverley Knight was the first support act and she certainly got everyone going. I don't know many of her songs, but she puts on a good show. She's got a fantastic voice. Sugababes were the second support act and I quite enjoyed seeing them too. They're not an act I'd pay to go and see, but they did get the crowd going.

Take That were amazing and I wouldn't have expected anything less! Once again they played all their classics - Back For Good, A Million Love Songs, Pray, Everything Changes and even a Tango version of It Only Takes A Minute. There was a rain machine for Back For Good and they were soaking wet by the end of the song. The photographers and people in the middle of the front row got a soaking too. It wasn't raining on them, but the Take That lads were kicking the water off stage deliberately. So I was quite glad I was slightly to the side at the front! Beverely Knight helped kick off Relight My Fire, but the rightful female co-singer of the song soon arrived on stage. Lulu seemed right at home being back singing with Take That. They finished off with Never Forget - I think the entire 60,000 strong audience proved we never did forget!

Take That were my favourite band of the 1990s. When they split up back in 1996 I never dreamed they'd get back together again, let along put on an arena & stadium tour. The good old days are back... I'm just waiting to hear what the new album will sound like.

Click here to view some of my photos of last night's Take That concert at Milton Keynes.

Thanks for comments go out to Poet, Liss, Andrea, SNiP, Graeme, Kati, Jolynn, Mandy, Shpprgrl, Claire, G-Man, JR and Suzanne.

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20th June 2006

Tuesday - 10.25pm : It's an age old problem... People stealing pens. If you work in an office I'm sure you'll know what I mean. That pen which was sat next to your notepad before your break, has since disappeared. Now, unless it suddenly sprouted legs and ran off, it generally means that somebody needed to use a pen so they picked up yours and walked off without putting it back. It's so annoying! Anyone got a solution? Shot of chaining a pen to the desk...

I've started watching my Michael Palin travel boxset again. I've seen every episode over the years, but I can watch them time and time again. I'm currently in the middle of Pole to Pole. Palin follows the 30 degree east longitude line from North to South, through Scandanavia, the (now former) USSR and South Africa. If you're interested in travel documentaries then Palin's adventures are well worth watching. Being a Python, Palin injects his sense of humour into each episode. Interesting, infomative and funny.

I may be a bit quiet until after the weekend. I'm doing a photo shoot on Thursday evening (I'm the photographer, not the poser!). On Friday I'm heading off down to Milton Keynes, ready for Take That's concert on Saturday. The weather isn't looking too bright, but I'm really looking forward to it anyway. Then it's back home on Sunday in time to watch the F1 Canadian Grand Prix.

Talking of the Canadian Grand Prix... Jacques Villeneuve will be releasing his acoustic-rock debut single at the Grand Prix! He's also planning to release an album later on in the year. Should be interesting.

Thanks to Rashbre, Vernicious Knids, Graeme, Mark, Dawn, Catheroo, Mandy, Me, Myself & I, Andrea, Karen, Kati, Cyberevolution, Jolynn, Nick and Shpprgrl.

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18th June 2006

Sunday - 6.35pm : Dad, Happy Father's Day! I couldn't ask for a better Dad. OK, so he annoys the heck out of me in various ways, but you've got to take good with the bad!

Dad is a man who will do anything for anyone, especially for me and my brother. Here is a man who, when I was a teenager, would drive me all the way up to North Yorkshire (4 hours away) so I could spend a few days with my friend Ellie, who had moved up there when we were around 12 years old. He would also (and, on occasion, still does) drive me to and collect me from a concert. If something needs doing on my car Dad will take it to the garage to be fixed so I don't have to take time off work. He will also run various errands for me, my brother or Mum. If something needs doing, he'll do it.

A few years ago something happened to make me realise Dad may not always be here. He was diagnosed with The Big C - Bowel Cancer. He had to go to hospital to have a section of his bowel removed. Not once did he complain. Even with the following invasive tests and check-ups he didn't complain. He took it all in his stride.

Dad may be heading towards 70, but he doesn't let his age get in the way of anything. He's still got his motorbikes, he surfs the net, organises trips and is always out & about doing something. There's weekly coach trips for pensioners in this area, but Dad will never go because he doesn't want to hang around with "a bunch of old people"!

The (not so) old man helped me with my new TV this morning. He secured the bracket to the wall for me, before I set it all up. I'm quite pleased with it. It's a Toshiba 21" Widescreen LCD Flatscreen TV (which can also be used as a PC monitor if needs-be). It's also got an integrated digital tuner, so when our area finally gets a digital signal (other than digital satelite) I'll be able to view up to 32 digital channels free. It was so easy to set-up and the picture quality is great.

I watched In Her Shoes this afternoon. I quite enjoyed it. It's a bit of a chick-flick, but I still think it's one the lads may enjoy. It goes a little deeper than the average chick-flick type film. There's highs and lows, family secrets and more shoes in one wardrobe than I've ever seen in my entire life! Another film I'd recommend.

Thanks to Mar, Old Old Lady Of The Hills, Liss, Carmi, G-man, Andrea, Skye, Kati and Graeme (Well, I thought it was a fair trade - I gave them money and they gave me a TV... Seems fair enough to me!).

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17th June 2006

Saturday - 7.45pm : It's been a quiet week. I haven't done much apart from work and sleep. I haven't had my blood test results yet, but they can take anything from a few days to a few weeks.

Today my parents and I headed up to Cheshire Oaks for what they call "guilt-free" shopping. In other words... Cheshire Oaks has 140 stores of discounted goods - They have everything from clothes stores such as Animal, Diesel, Next and Warehouse, as well as jewellery, gift and home stores. Something for everyone at a discounted price.

Our first stop was at the food court for a baked potato each. An hour and a half's drive certainly makes you hungry and thirsty. After that it was straight to the shops. I nearly bought myself a couple of Animal t-shirts - I can't remember why I didn't now. I did, however, buy myself a new TV (since the old one died a couple of weeks ago). The Toshiba TV I fancied a week or so ago (but decided against buying because it was too expensive) was discounted by £120. I couldn't resist and, after having a word with my parents, I decided to buy it. We're going to set it up tomorrow as it has a fancy swivel & tilt wall bracket that will need putting up.

I haven't got any plans for tomorrow. I'm hoping for a lazy day of watching DVDs and TV. EasyCinema has sent me In Her Shoes to watch, so that's on the list. 24 is on tomorrow night, so that's a definite must. We're nearing the end of Season 5 now and I have to say I think it's the best yet.

Thanks to Liza Marie, Liss, Old Old Lady Of The Hills, Danielle, Karen, Shpprgrl, Natalie, Andrea, Cyberevolution, Jolynn, SNiP, Cassie, Claire, Graeme, Mandy, Mark, Dawn, Daystar, Miss M, G-Man and Kati.

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13th June 2006

Tuesday - 9.45pm : I had 2 more lots of blood taken today, but not until I'd argued with the receptionist over the actual time of my appointment! I walked in and she said I was very early, when, in fact, I was bang on time. I told her the time of my appointment, she looked at her computer again and told me it wasn't for another 35 minutes. So I had to go into detail about how I'd had a call to re-schedule the appointment so it was before the time the van came to collect the blood. Anyway, they took my blood, so now I've just got to wait for the results, again.

There's nothing like a blood test to kick-start your birthday...

So far I've had 7 cards, £50 in total (from my parents, grandparents and Sarah's mum) and a whole bunch of presents from Lisa, Gareth & Harley (Jack Johnson's In Between Dreams album, some rubber stamps, a Diddl letterpad and keyring, some pens and a card kit). Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

I've also bought myself a couple of presents. One of which is Bon Jovi's Crossroads (Deluxe Sound & Vision) boxset. It includes 2 CDs (Crossroads album and a collection of B Sides & Rarities) and a DVD (Live in London). I keep meaning to get Richie Sambora's albums. Not only is the guy an amazing guitar player, but he's an amazing singer too!

The other present I bought for myself was a Daisy Tag Set from The Glitter Pot. They're at set of self-clinging clear rubber stamps which can be put onto a clear acrylic block to use just like a normal rubber stamp (except you can see exactly what you're doing).

Thanks for comments go to Utenzi (You'll have to visit Wales sometime!), Karen, Andrea, Jolynn, Liza Marie (Thanks for the recommendations!), Mark, Cyberevolution and Graeme.

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11th June 2006

Sunday - 10.10pm : I'm still tired, but all signs of that rash have now disappeared. I had a decent night of sleep last night and even managed to get a lie-in without Leo waking me up.

I have a recommendation for anyone who's into rubber stamps, cardmaking and scrapbooking (and in the UK/Europe) - The Glitter Pot. I found it a few days ago while searching Froogle. They've got a wide range of items and plenty of special offers and half price products. Delivery is FREE while England are still in the World Cup! I couldn't resist and placed an order this afternoon. Another shop you may want to try is The Stamp Bug. I've ordered from them a couple of times. They have a friendly service and a vast amount of stock. They also deliver to the rest of the world, so anyone can order.

Those of you who like a drink or two may like this website - Extra Tasty! You can browse recipes or search for a recipe which includes a certain drink you have in your cupboard/fridge. The website contains hundreds of drink recipes and you can even submit your own. So take a look and you may find that perfect drink for a summer evening or party.

Since the majority of tonight's little post is about recommendations, why don't you guys recommend a website or two to me. Anything...

Thanks for commenting go to Craziequeen, Shpprgrl, Rob, Karen, Graeme, Nick, Claire, Andrea, Rampant Bicycle, SNiP and Keda.

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10th June 2006

Saturday - 9.55pm : I would say I've recovered from last weekend, but I had a sleepless night last night so I didn't feel too bright this morning. It's been nearly a week since my last entry, so I guess I'd better fill you in on the past week.

I had a blood test done on Tuesday morning. I was happily waiting for the results to come back when I received a phone call asking if I could go in for another blood test as the nurse hadn't taken enough blood (I'm sure I was supposed to have two lots taken, not one). So another appointment was arranged for me for next Tuesday, which just happens to be my birthday. The next day I get another phone call asking if I can make an earlier appointment for Tuesday as the blood man would be collecting the blood before my original appointment. This time though, the excuse for me having to go in for another blood test was that they couldn't analyse it. So I haven't the foggiest whether the nurse didn't take enough blood or if I've just got weird blood! Either way, I'll have to wait a little longer for the results.

Last Tuesday may have been the 6/6/6, but yesterday was hell for me! During the morning I developed irritable red patches on my chest/belly. Over the day the patches seemed to move and they itched like mad. By the time I got home from work my hands, arms, neck, chest and belly were itching, so after a salt water bath I plastered myself in calamine lotion in the hope it would ease. In the evening I went out for a birthday meal with my parents and grandparents. It was torture having to sit at a table and try not to scratch. It just got worse and worse, it was everywhere. When we got home I covered myself in more calamine lotion and I lay on the bed trying to get some sleep. At 1am this morning I couldn't take the itching any more and had to get up. By then I also had a lumpy red rash on the outer of both legs and two large red patches that looked like they were big blisters on the side of my belly. I woke Mum to see if she had any more ideas. I washed off the calamine lotion and put on Sudocrem (it's main use may be for nappy rash, but that stuff is magic!). I went back to laying on the bed and must have fallen asleep sometime after 3am.

I woke up at 7am this morning and most of the rashes and red patches had gone. So whatever had caused it, the Sudocrem worked a treat. We did think it may have been the heat, but I'm not sure. I just hope I never get that again!

Our original plan for today was to go to West Midland Safari Park, but after yesterday and not much sleep during the night, we decided it might be best to stay at home. While watching the F1 Qualifying for the British Grand Prix I decided I fancied going somewhere this afternoon, after all.

We ended up going up to Harlech and Coed y Brenin in North Wales. Harlech is by the sea so we couldn't resist getting an ice cream each. I went for the banana ice cream with toffee swirls and it was delicious!

"North Wales"

Harlech Castle Harlech Castle Harlech Castle Harlech Castle Coed y Brenin
Coed y Brenin Coed y Brenin Coed y Brenin Coed y Brenin Coed y Brenin

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

Thanks to Rob, Sarah, Katie-in-Seattle, Nick, Mark, Shpprgrl, Andrea, Skye, Kross-eyed Kitty, Dawn, Cassie and Me, Myself & I.

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5th June 2006

Monday - 10.55pm : Back home after my long weekend and I can't wait to crawl into bed. There's nothing better than being able to lie in your own bed, obviously being able to have a lie-in in the morning would be a bonus but that's not going to happen.

My concert ticket for yesterday didn't arrive in Friday's mail either, so I got on the phone to Ticketmaster, yet again. This time (after being put on hold for 10 minutes) I was told there had been an error printing some of the tickets and I'd have to pick my ticket up from the venue's box office. Apparently, I should have been told this days ago! I explained how I'd been chasing after Ticketmaster all week and each time I'd been told my ticket had been dispatched or it was being dispatched that evening. Hardly great customer service! Now I need to try to get my postage fees back, since that service wasn't actually provided. The ticket price was £45 and Ticketmaster added another £10 to that!

Anyway, the Bon Jovi concert was fantastic! I haven't a clue who the first support act was, but the 2nd was Nickelback. I only know a couple of their songs, but they were good. A great choice of support act.

Bon Jovi were on stage for somewhere near 3 hours! While my feet and legs protested throughout most of the concert (from standing up for so long), I enjoyed everything minute of their set. I think it has to be my favourite concert of the year or any other year so far! We were stood in the Golden Circle which was split in half by a walkway in a semi-circular shape. The walkway was right in front of us and Jon Bon Jovi was within touching distance when he was on the walkway, of course that lead to getting crushed a couple of times! My only problem was the girl right in front of me (at the barrier). She insisted on jumping up & down (almost as if she was on a pogo stick!) for every single song and she landed on my already aching feet more than once. I also had to dodge her hand (which she was waving back & forth - I didn't fancy a black eye!) and her hair. I seem to have a habit of standing near annoying people, but that's the risk when getting standing tickets because it's always so crowded and people keep shuffling forward.

Which only around 3 songs to go Becky nearly fainted and we had to get her out of the crowd. The medics gave her some water and sat her down while she recovered. I knew they wouldn't let her back in with us so I gave my stuff to Paul & Nigel and the security staff pulled me over the barrier too. We watched the last couple of songs from the side of the stage and then had the task of finding Paul & Nigel again.

I just can't fault Bon Jovi's performance, although Jon may want to pay more attention to the members of the band... Sometime during the concert, as is tradition, Jon introduced each member of the band, but this time he forgot all about David Bryan! Just how do you forget about your keyboard player & long-time permanent band member? He did rectify the matter and apologise as the band was giving their final bow.

If you ever get the chance to see Bon Jovi live, go! They just get better and better every time I see them. Brilliant!

The weekend wasn't just about Bon Jovi though. I went to Melton to visit Lisa and give Harley's birthday presents to him. I bought him a few Thomas the Tank Engine themed presents - including some books and a Lego Duplo "James" set. He's absolutely mad on anything Thomas, so he loved his presents and played with his Lego set quite a bit over the weekend. I played too (I can't resist Lego!) and looked at his books with him - I tried teaching him a few words and he tried teaching me more of the trains' names!

Anyway, I had a really good weekend. The concert was amazing, I really enjoyed spending time with Harley and it's always great to see Lisa.

A handful of the photos I took at the concert can be found in the Photography section.

Thanks to Liss, Karen, Miss M, Cassie, Andrea, Nick, Jolynn, Liza Marie, Graeme, Dawn and Melly.

Right then, I'm off to bed. I had very little sleep over the weekend and only an hour or two last night. I'm struggling to stay awake and I'm aching all over. I'll catch up with everyone's journals tomorrow. Night!

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1st June 2006

Thursday - 11.10pm : The weather has been lovely these past few days (I was begining to wonder if we'd ever see summer this year). A friend and I decided to make the most of it and went for a walk after work yesterday. I remembered to take my camera with me this time, so now I can show you some of the beautiful countryside I'm surrounded by.

"Mid Wales"

Towards the Sawmills Hills of Mid Wales Tree in a Field

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

From the Good to the Bad (ish)... I had an appointment with my Doctor this morning. It was a regular appointment, but I had to mention something that's been bothering me for a while. I won't go into details, but my bowels have been playing up lately. Dad had Bowel (Colon) Cancer, so I know that any problems arising in that area need seeing to as soon as possible, no matter how embarrassing it may seem. I got asked all the usual questions and poked & prodded before having a slightly uncomfortable test. I've got to go back in next week and have a blood test before I get sent to see the Gastro specialist at the hospital for a couple of tests. I don't mind blood tests, it's the camera going one way or the other that I'm not looking forward to! I'm not worried about it being cancer, because it doesn't look like it is and I'm pretty sure the tests are to rule certain things out.

From the Bad to the Ugly... The Bon Jovi concert is this Sunday and my ticket still hasn't arrived. Can you believe that? I've been pestering Ticketmaster all week and just get given a different story each time. My friend Paul's tickets arrived yesterday, so I expected mine to arrive today, at the very least. Even that is late, considering. So I spoke to somebody from Ticketmaster this afternoon and first of all she said all tickets had been dispatched and could she put me on hold while she checks the tracking number. I get put on hold with music that's perfect to put you to sleep (probably in the hope I'd fall asleep and not keep disturbing them). She then comes back to me and says, and I quote, "We're dispatching your ticket today and it should be with you by Saturday". WHAT?! The concert is on Sunday, what if it doesn't arrive? I told her I'm leaving early Saturday morning (since I'm going to Melton to see Liss and then go to the concert with her brother and friends) and had planned to leave well before the post is due to arrive, and, in any case, would the ticket actually arrive? So she told me to ring them if the ticket hasn't arrived by then and they'll sort something! Yeah, right.

I don't know what's going on with Ticketmaster, but they seem to have had a great deal of trouble dispatching the Golden Circle tickets for Sunday's concert. I've been following a thread on a forum and a lot of people have had the same trouble and have also been given the run around by Ticketmaster. What also annoys me is that a friend of mine is going to see Bon Jovi in Milton Keynes in a week and a half, but he had his tickets a couple of weeks ago. So why couldn't they have dispatched the Manchester tickets then?

On a positive note... A friend and I went to my local theatre tonight (and had received the tickets back in April, so no problems there!) to see Jo brand. Jo was hilarious, as expected! When we weren't laughing we all had a constant grin on our faces. Well worth going to see. Her support act was a guy called Andy Robinson. I'd never heard of him because, but he was incredibly funny and I'd definitely go to see him again.

Thanks to Karen, Cyberevolution, Liss, Andrea, Jolynn, Mark and Natalie (Technically, I've got a ticket as I paid for it back in October, I'm just waiting for Ticketmaster to actually deliver it!).

P.S. - I may be "Missing in action" until Monday, which is when I get home from Melton Mowbray/Manchester.

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