And all that Bollocks

Well I thought I had better do one, if anything to stop me from being bored, and to tell you all, what my New Year promises are going to be.

Tonight I am at the moment, waiting for food. I do not know what I am going to have but am waiting until the crowds from the city centre depart and it is safe for me to weave my way through the streets before they once again swell with pissed up dicks who feel that saying goodbye to one year and hello to another is a good enough reason to become more drunk than any other time in the year.

I have decided to stay at home and do nothing. I feel that I may be in bed before the big event happens, and if watching the firework’s in Honk Kong and Auckland are anything to go by… Then I wish for my shake that I am not awake to witness the appalling display of the Roman Candles and odd Catherine Wheel that will be ignited in our London City when Big Ben get Struck.

So here’s a toast, with a cup of tea in hand to a New Year, and lets hope I will be able to fulfil all my resolutions this time round. With only six hours to go I still have three of my five resolutions to try to complete and being that I will be spending those six hours on my own, and not working and the banks are closed then I can guarantee that I will not be completing the five resolutions I made last year. The two that can be ticked off, are to pass my driving test and buy a car.

I feel maybe I will make them not so ambitious, so my five this year, are to

1. Wash up

2. Put washing on

3. Carry on running

4. Go on holiday

5. Become 30

I am pretty confident about all of them. Especially keeping the fifth one.

Right I’m off to select some box sets, and look at some take out menus and curl up on the sofa and spend a nice night in by myself, and come tomorrow I will join in the rest of the Human Race promising to stop drinking and loose weight and become a better person.

Whatever you’re up to, or if you have already arrived into 2011 then Happy although it be belated or not New Year, for some reason my friends feel that I want to know about it, as for the afternoon I have been reading texts telling me that my mates will be to pissed to inform me that it’s the New Year, as If I wouldn’t know. My plan is off course not to know as I will be asleep but I am sure those friends will still text as they will be to drunk to remember that they already sent the token message.

This truly most be the strangest evening in the year.

Why should Santa get all the Secrets, Big Hats and Resolutions

Well 2 days till the big event. Are we all excited? No! well from the person who bought you I hate Christmas, now brings you a new and exciting game for the New Year….

So what is this game? who is it designed for? Well it’s for anyone who can’t make New Years Resolutions. It works a little bit like those people who are to cheap to buy all there friends or Family presents so come up with this notion of Secret Santa. Yap that’s right people its, Secret Resolutions. Except they’re not secret. So how do you play.

Well the rules are simple. You get a big hat… as you always need a big hat and you write down a resolution, and so do your friends. You chuck them all in and take turns to pull out a bit of paper, and see what your fate is for the New Year. Now I know some of you are going to say ‘what happens if it doesn’t apply to me?
Like if James Corden had written down to loose weight, and Kate Moss had been the recipient of the paper. Well it obvious! you just do the opposite, so Kate would have to put weight on, like wise if you pulled out give up smoking, or stop being a bitch, or a moody fucker…you would have to spend 2011 being a Moody smoking bitch, if you weren’t already.

It’s a really fun game, and I hope it will take off. I don’t think there are any more rules, except you have to put in a resolution you would do. So no cheating because you are playing with your girlfriend who you hate and has a nut allergy and you see this has a good opportunity to bump her off.

Have a good New Year Eve what ever you are doing, I will be going to bed at ten, and sleeping through, as I can’t be bothered with it this year but that’s just me. Don’t let me stop you from going out to your local pub, who feels it is acceptable to charge you £7.50 in just because they have booked Spike the DJ from Gorton, who also does weddings and Bar Mitzvah

Please feel free to tell me, if you have done this crazy idea, and we will see how it works out for 2011. Lets face it people can’t stick to there own, so the chances that your friends will make you stick to there’s is unlikely. I would also like to point out that you should select who you choose wisely as you don’t want to kick start 2011 chasing the Dragon and come October find you’re in drug re-hab as you played with a group of people in a hostel and pulled out ‘Give up Smack’, unless you were already half baked on the gear and well done to you for over coming your demons and trying to give up heroin.

Anyway I’m of in search of foods, and to buy a Big Hat for my friends, and think of what resolution I was to have. See you in the New Year, unless I get bored and write a blog entry tomorrow.

Happy New Year people.

Tying up the fashion year

The other night on Twitter I posed a question on whether I could pull of a Bowtie. This all came about thank to Matt Smith the Dr Who actor who speaks the truth when he says ‘I wear Bowties now because there cool”
Last year I started wearing a Flap Cap and it truly suits me in my opinion, and when I was younger I pulled off a line of very dashing waistcoats.
So the question is this, where do I get a Bowtie from, and will it suit me, for everyday use. I am of course thinking one like Dr Who…. A Nice tweed one not one like my other hero Dr Carter from Doctors. 

Putting the phone down after 16 years?

Writing this after just putting the phone down to a 191 agent at Vodafone, and to be honest I feel like putting my phone down on there service and walking away from the company after sixteen years of business, as Pay as You Go and contract.
It all started seven months ago where my paper billing was cancelled. But I need paper billing I said. I am freelance and need a paper record.
We will charge you £1.50 then.
You will do what? I don’t think so. You can take the cost of my bill down.
It doesn’t work like that Sir.
Well how does it work??? I want paper bills and do not want to pay for them, I am already paying for the service and network, surly that should cover the bills.
Eventually I won. Over the next few months the bills would pop on the door mate, and then one month, nothing. Not a single bill. I phoned and was informed that the option had been removed. I got it reinstated, only for it not to appear. They sent me copies, but the originals never arrived. I got told different things from the call advisors, eventually the issue after five months had been fixed, until Christmas Eve.
I went to log on to my account and it had been deactivated. I activated it, and it worked. Next day it had been deactivated, so I activated it, and phoned 191 to see why it had happened. So began the four days of terror, of speaking to people in Egypt (they could have been anywhere and it would have been hell) who refused to let me speak to a manger, who did not know what was happening, who said that they had reset the account and it will work. It will work for a day, but I will be phoning up again tomorrow. Sorry Sir, but you won’t. I think you’ll find I will. I even used the phase the customer is always right.
I should explain that the hell factor was mainly down to the language barrier and not just because the call centre was a country on the North East of Africa, even if it had got through to Stoke-on-Trent the past 4 days would have still been unpleasant, but bearable as they have grasp of the English Tongue, not much of a grasp more like a pinch of the language.
Anyway back to the story. I had left with saying I would be phoning back as the issue would not be fixed, with the advisor assuring me I wouldn’t need to make the call. However I did, and again, and the following day, and again. The issue is still not fixed. There seems to be no one in the UK answering calls, and if Vodafone move to sending all calls over to Egypt with there fake American Voices and the ‘Good Old USA’ way of dealing with you, then I will be choosing a different operator. (I know Egypt is not part of the US, but the call centre staff have adopted the American way)
Every single person I spoke to was like “Hello Sir” “Good Day” “ Please let me help you” “We do care as a company” Well you don’t, otherwise you would of sorted this out, and I have let you have ten minutes trying to help me, of which you have failed so let me speak to some one who knows what there doing.
If this issue does not get sorted and I hope it is, otherwise I will be trawling the websites to find a good network provider who has call centres in the UK. I don’t know why this is so important to me, but I know when I use to phone Virgin, and end up speaking to someone in India it was the language barrier that proved to be a huge hill. The person didn’t even know what the West Coast Mainline was, or what Euston was. Surly in order to have customer service people, who can delivery good service it is important they have a first hand knowledge of the place of origin. But now it is reading of a script and clicking yes or no on the screen to get to the next page of the pre-written blurb that does not place the customer first. I am also annoyed at Vodafone like HSBC who seem to be able to walk away from their tax liability. I wish I could do that.
Anyway in other news I am now running 5K in less than twenty-five minutes, my father being ever the supporter reckons I am having a laugh if I can complete the 10k in under an hour. I will be hitting the gym nice and hard this week, and will be stepping up the training program just wish the fund raising would step up a gear (hint hint)


Ba Humbug

The Story of why I dislike Christmas. Not hate, but dislike. Hate is a strong word, and I like everyone else enjoy the receiving presents, giving them a shake and a rattle to see what’s inside. But the gifts you get are the only items, or activity that is different every year, and this is why I have such a strong feeling about this time of year. Today’s blog is basically a description of the Christmas at the Scott household, some of it will be how it use to be when we all lived at home, but most of it is still true. I know that I will receive comment as my sister now read this as she puts it ‘Fiction’ so I will try not to reveal to much.
The reason why Christmas is a little bit disappointing is because I’m the youngest. I believe that the youngest in the family has the most disappointing Christmas’s. This is because the older members still receive a Christmas as they remember it as Children, because they have a responsibility not to spoil, or reveal the illusion to the youngest member. So when I was five, and they were 10 and 13 they would still have stockings, and lots of presents to open. By the time I was 13, and they were 18, and 21 it was deemed I was to old for Christmas, and therefore began the first year of a small Christmas. Not many presents ‘because Michael and Jenny don’t have many and you’re thirteen now’ Well I might be thirteen, but when Jenny was that age she got loads of gifts.
Christmas would always start the same in the household. I would wake at the start of morning a little bit like now, but it is more out of the baking heat rather than the excitement of a five year old. Once up I would open the presents left in my sack. For some reason we didn’t have stockings. Inside would be the usual presents from my sister to keep me occupied until the others have risen. Early in the Morning I would read the Dandy and Beano while munching on my first selection box of the day.
Mother would be the next to wake, and would start on the dinner, by ten, my dad would be down stairs and would have the traditional walk around the garden with a cup of tea. My Brother who was a teenager at this point would be sleeping in, and is more of a grump than me. Trying to get him up and out was a mission, but by the time he was down stairs and around the tree and ready to begin the cue for my dad to have another tea and walk around the garden which would cause my mother to pipe up ‘Come on can we do this…. I have to put the Turkey on’
The cooking of a Turkey as with any meat when it comes to my mum and dad would often result in a long debate on how long the Turkey needed. ‘It’s sixteen minutes per 4 pounds, so its 5kg’s so it needs…’ And so it went on.
By the time my dad had done another lap of the garden it was now getting into Eleven O’clock and mother was half baked on the traditional Bucks Fizz. I think this was my first every drink…. It was either that or a bottle of Hooch. Once we were all around the tree the music would be selected. A compilation of 21 Christmas tracks with ‘Wham’ being the first track. Then a debate would occur on who would play Santa. Father would step up to the challenge, and as he read out the name tags and passed the package to the relevant family member he would quickly move on to the next waiting parcel under the tree. ‘Can we see what they have’ Mother would say ‘Mike let them open it, before you hand the next one out’ I always get the impression like me and my Brother my Dad is not a large fan of the Christmas holiday and I always thought that if it up to him, he would gladly allow you to dive in and gather all your gifts around you and open them. If I’m honest… If it were up to him he would do away with the whole gifts and replace them with items from the Christmas Dinner. ‘Whats that you got there Tom? Another Brussels Sprout, to go with the other five and tree carrots and three potatoes well that’s your dinner sorted. Right here’s the next one ‘To Jenny with lots of love Mum and Dad’
At some point in the preceding’s the Santa role would be swapped several times. Mother would play here part but as she tried to move the presents into focus to read the name tag, the inpatient’s from me would grow and I would take over and engineer the dealing of gifts so I was left with several to open at the end.
Within this ritual there would be big present. We took in turns to get the ‘Big Present’ I remember one year my sister got a Television in which my dad would remark ‘That’s a nice box’ As for some reason Father was quite at home, collecting the paper and boxing it up; any gifts that came in a box you could be sure that dad had his eye on the cardboard storage facility.
During the present opening Mother would often startle as she remembered to turn things on in the kitchen always returning to the Living room to sigh ‘Are we not done yet (my mum who would be the most excited out of all of us often gets bored with the event first)…. Dinner is going to be ready at one” It never was and never is. And why we never tried to calculate having dinner at a later time, knowing that the morning events could and would over run is beyond me it has been like this for a good twenty years now, but yet no foresight into changing when Dinner will actually be served. But this is the point of the story. It’s tradition. A tradition that I would miss, but after 29 years am getting a little bored. Things have changed, 29 years on at this point I would have just finished off the second bottle of Buck’s and started on my first bottle of wine.
We would then move into having dinner, and the usual game of who can keep the paper hat on for longest. Mother would naturally loose within the first hour. There would be jokes and comments and Mother would often look at the clock and say ‘Gosh look at the time… It ‘s taken us a long time… it’s Four 0’clock. Every year without fail a comment about the amount of time we have been sat down and eating. The one time of the year when you would expect a family to sit down and enjoy the company of their love ones seems to be commented on as a bad use of time.  My job after dinner (mainly to get out of washing up) would be the responsibility of heating the Christmas pudding and whisking the cream. This is the only bit of the meal I could never get bored of. The Turkey I could leave tomorrow. The idea of having duck or Pheasant, something that is not dry and has some kind of flavour is a distant dream.
After the meal, we would play games, and I would open my fourth bottle, my sister her 18th can of cider, my Mother would be on the Bailys and Father would be on a Martini and Lemonade. I always found it odd, that he would buy himself a pack of bitter but would never actually open a can, he would either stick to the wine be it fortified or the hard stuff.  Two hours later we would start on preparing the buffet for the evening, and camp in the dinning room for the remainder of the day playing games and cards while slowly releasing the substances of the meal into the atmosphere.
I enjoy the gathering and laughing, but I find it odd, that you can set your watch to it. Even now, when the mould of presents has been reduced to a few wrapped objects under the plastic tree Mother still cries ‘Can we get a move on, I have to start the dinner’ The truth of it is we have the morning all done by Eleven now which means longer to gather up your pile that you’ve made and take it to your room, or in my case since university the bottom of the stairs.
As much as I grumble and moan about it, I love buying presents, but hate the expense. I love receiving the gifts. I like the food, and spending time with my family. With what ever happens I think I would take my family back to my parents, as the Scott’s know how to have a good time. It’s the one time of year when we are all together and all get on. It may be the same dull games and traditions like no Television, and who can wear the paper hat the longest, and who is playing Santa and at which point will Trivial Pursuit be bought down from the loft, but it’s my Christmas and my Family.
Then the whole charade is repeated without presents on Boxing day.
What ever you’re doing this year, I hope you have a good Christmas and New Year. 

The runaway train didn’t move, because of frozen water

Right this is a rant.
People, as you read this please put on your best impression of me, as it will sound better.

Yesterday I made the mistake of going down to London, thinking that being we’ve had this bad weather for some days, and the transport network is coping then Virgin would be able to get me down to London Euston in the usual time. After all there is no 3rd rail to speak off; there is no London buses that can’t cope with a little scattering of snow. There is however an incompetent useless, hopeless company that has been given the franchise, and why is it not classed as a monopoly when it is. There is no other competition to speak off. Sure I could go to Leeds, and catch the East Coast, or go to Birmingham and catch the Midland Mainline, but why add extra journey time, and cost when I can get a bloody train or in the case of yesterday a tin box on wheels that sat on two pieces of metal.

I arrived at Manchester Station, to find that the trains that had been running fine to and from London all morning were at 09:00 about to throw there toys out of the pram. For this was the time that Virgin thought Fuck it we will cancel the fifteen minutes past the hour. Well thank you very much for canceling a service that could of ran. I was luckily booked onto the 09:35, and as the swarm of people gathered on the platform to await the arrival of the 9:35 which was in fact the 9:15, everyone knew that there would be a stampede to get to a seat.

I boarded, and found my seat booking however there was a woman, who worked for Virgin sat opposite. Excuse me I said you seem to be in my colleagues seat. “No you see what they will do, is cancel the seat reservations” she reported to me. I looked up at the screen that is impossible to read and saw that they had sprung into life with the seating reservations. “Doesn’t look like they are” I smugly retorted. “Well I was supposed to be on the 9:15” came the reply. Did I care? Did I fuck! Do one I thought, you should know better.

She eventually stood to allow my friend the seat he had paid for, unlike her who was being paid to travel down, and who had not paid for the ticket being she works for the excuse of a company. The Conductor, or should I say the Train Manager was not heard, or seen for the entire trip. By Stoke on Trent, people were standing in the aisles and the heating knob must have been stuck on max, and still no communication of our late arrival into London.

Now I said before that I was on the 9:15. I know this because sitting at platform 7 was the 9.35. It was labeled up on the doors as the 9.35 and had arrived at the platform when the 9:35 should have arrived. Not sure of the point that I am making, but I wanted to point out that they still had and were running there entire rolling stock on the lines to and from London, they were just changing when they were to depart as they had what they saw as an legitimate excuse for running late. The 9.35 now became the 10.00 I’m assuming, with no passengers as they were all crammed on to my bean tin. Surly it is illegal to have customers stand???? The rant about ticket prices and seats will just have to wait for another blog but that makes my blood boil as well. I decided to tweet my comments to Virgin, and for those who want to do the same the @virgintrains and also hashtag it as Virgintrains It is really quite funny to see that 9 in 10 tweets are not complimentary about the service on offer. But anyway I tweeted, and I received a response, that did not answer my query and was basically saying we don’t care. I feel maybe we should add another train operator on the line, and see if that knocks the company’s prices and customer service into gear.

Anyway, half way down, the Virgin lady who now stood and who was not working but was in full uniform went off to the loo. She came back to inform here fellow passengers that there were seats in Coach D and E. Why had the Conductor, sorry Train Manager not informed people of this. Oh yeah that’s right, it will be because she was hanging out in first class, where there was a room to swing a cat and the business knobs had been given free drink to prevent them from complaining.

We finally got to London, and rushed to the underground. Now I know some of the under ground operates over ground, but why not just run the stuff back and forth underground??? Anyway the Victoria Line had good service. It said so on the white board, and the man said it over those speaker things. We then went through the gates and boarded the escalator, to find the Line had gone from good, to ‘Northbound having issues due to a man being taken ill on a train, and not being able to get medical help to him’, so from Oxford circus to Warren street North bound had delays. That’s fine I thought, I’m south bound. Well I was till we got to the bottom of the escalator and at Euston, it’s not a long one, but by the time we had gotten of the moving stairs the Victoria Line in both directions had been suspended???? You are joking me?

Anyway I got to the Hotel, had my dinner and spoke to some people, then headed into town for some more drinks. Better look at the train times I thought. All on the hour’s had been cancelled, out next train was the 20:40. We arrived at Euston, looked at the score board, and found a very rare treat that the train was boarding on platform 14. So of we went. We sat down, and at 20:50 it left with the following announcement: “this is the delayed 19:40 to Manchester”

Yes that is right they had allowed the 7.40 to pull into the platform for all those people wanting to board the 8.40, as that was delayed. The train we were on was actually the 7.40 and was not calling at Stockport, to my fellow passengers upset. We were then informed to expect long delays. As the guard, sorry the Train Manager came through the coaches; some one asked what time we would arrive in Stafford. “How long is a piece of string” came the reply. “Not sure” the man who had forked out over £66, said. “Exactly” said the guard. Sorry Train Manager “don’t know because of this extreme conditions.

Extreme conditions are you taking the piss. It was cold, and there was some snow and ice about. Why does Britain now stop? Russia, Iceland, Greenland, Germany, Poland don’t bloody stop, only if it’s 10ft of snow, and to cold to start the engines. Surly some one wearing the uniform should have responded with, “I can’t give an exact time, only an estimation which I will keep you informed with” Instead he hid away and did not inform us of how late we were running and expected arrival times. The only time we heard from him, was when we stopped at a station and he said “Is there a doctor on board, if so can you come to coach G” my first response was ‘were at a station, unload them at the platform and phone for an ambulance and get this train moving again.

I eventually arrived back in Manchester four hours later and un-boarded the boiling hot carriage. With Virgin it is either to hot or cold, and I was always led to believe that Virgins always arrived early. To be fair Virgins don’t always know what they are doing, and in the case of this company the latter is very true.

The story of how I broke my back

To say I broke my back is a little of an exaggeration, but it is almost true and in terms of my life then it is true.
You see the two back injuries that I managed to receive when I was a kid comes back to haunt me every couple of months. Sometimes it will be bending down to the sock draw or lifting a set of ladders either way the back and often the lower back, will just click out of action and seize up.
I should at this point add that I am waiting this entry on the iPod touch that I’m loving so much and not finding an every growing list on why I should keep with Blackberry on my next upgrade, but thats besides the point. I am writing this during a show at work where I decided to lay down on the floor in the green room in the interval and the result led to the idea of explaining to my twitter followers why I am in so much pain at the moment. So I do apologise for the more than usual bad spelling and use of the English tongue. I hope no one is using this to learn this beautiful colourful language.
Anyway back to my two back stories, and thinking of it that should have been the name of this entry “back 2 back”
Anyway I digress again, I stated writing this because I vomited a list of expletives as I went to lay down and then again as I tried to get up which proved to be more problematic than it should have been. So what caused this honor of back complaint that I had bestowed on me; well the first story was when Macclesfield was having a good season and about to be promoted out of the then Vauxhall conference, a couple of weeks before I went to my bedroom which was shared with my older brother. I retired into the top bunk, and fell into a deep sleep. Now my dreams are quite active and extremely vivid, I often wake thinking I have had a conversation with some one, or my dream will involve noises or activity around me. Things like having a dream then a hearing a phone ring, only to wake as your boss is calling you to see what excuse you are going to string together on why you’re running late. Anyway this particular night I was dreaming about walking over a bridge and out of no where a train appeared. unlike the scene from ‘Stand by Me’ and this might of been why I was having this particular dream as I tend to recreate events in my dreams be them real or fictional any way unlike the boys I didn’t have the foresight to run instead my child’s brain decided to launch my body off the bridge and rather than landing into water I found myself looking at my chest, as somehow my face was bent round touching the front of my body. If that was not bad enough within this journey my face must of raced a crossed the carpet as my entire forehead had been scrapped of by the carpet. It of course meant several days off school, laid up in bed and not being able to move, only to make my first public appearance as the Elephant Man’s double when Macclesfield paraded through the streets towards the town hall showing off the trophy. That triumph would not last long as they were regulated the following season.
The next incident was while I was in my den. Otherwise known as the loft. As I was climbing the ladder, something attracted my attention and I went to look around the ladder to see what it was. This was before the times when I knew about ladders and health and safety, and the main lesson I now know is not to lean around or out from a ladder. As if you do you fall 8ft, and twist your back. This episode meant a whole year off from games which I enjoyed greatly as I hated games. Loved exercise but hated football and all the other evil sports you would be forced to participate in. So having the excuse partly due to being on crunches for six months not to be active in these lessons, and for the other 3 months I kept up the pretense that I was not ready to do sport, so my mother kept writing the notes. The funny thing was, after I was discharged from A&E, and returned to school, It was on one day that I was puled out of a lesson to see the Head Teacher, only to find my mother and father waiting for me. Apparently the hospital had called and said they had re-checked the X-rays and I could be walking around with a fracture or broken bone in my back. The short of it was that the new x-rays were fine. 
The overall point is that al this happened as i was growing up, so my bones and disc’s grew around these injuries, and as i said before any little thing can set it off.
So what has this got to do with my run, or theatre. Well when I woke this morning and my back killed me, I couldn’t go to the gym or do a run. In fact the walk to and from work was painful and even at the end, when I left the building and stopped to see a mate I dropped my coat and the sheer pain was diverted by the friend bending down to reunite the item of clothing with the owner.
With those little flash back of my life, I am now going to include this blog to appear other items from my past, and seeing as my back does not look like it will improve in the next couple of days, means that any gym action can be completely ruled out for a while.
See you all soon, and hoped you enjoyed that little look into my past.