No News is Good News

No News is good News… Well I can tell you that it isn’t. What it is my friends is bloody annoying. No news often means a prolonged agonising wait to find out that you have failed or that maybe theres yet another sift to go through.

I’m sorry! Pardon! You’re lost? Oh… Right, I see… Maybe I should start from the beginning. Twenty Five days from today I would have been back on these shores for a year, a whole year since I came back from New Zealand – I should point out I was forced to return as my visa had expired and I didn’t want to risk deportation and ruin any chances of returning to that magical place I called home for a while. Never the less I landed in England with two objectives. The first was to get back to New Zealand and the way to do this was through a Bunac Visa, the second was to find a new career and get the god damn hell out of theatre.

Well the Bunac ship sailed and I wasn’t on it, the getting out of theatre is still very much work in progress but I think I may be there. I started applying for signalman roles with Network Rail and anyone in the railway will tell you recruitment like the trains take a long time, and the responses again like the trains are heavy delayed. After a year I have final landed a role (fingers crossed) This process for the role began 5 months ago (Along with other tests and assessments I’ve been invited to over 7 months)  and I still have not yet got the confirmation letter  although I was told by the line manager I was successful and he was sending relevant paper work to HR.

So as the saying goes, No News etc well, I can tell you handing in an application to have no news for two months and then an email to say its been moved on to the first test and then nothing for a moon cycle to be told you were successful but wait there’s another assessment and so it goes on starts to get you down. My good friend Kat has been there with the struggle and the process and when I got the call to say you’re in I think she may have been more relieved than I, partly as she won’t be receiving anymore ‘Whats happening’ ‘Why they not get in touch’ ‘My job profile status has changed, what you think it means’ messages, but also she understands what this means for me. However now I am back to waiting on HR… this time I know I have the job but need to receive the ‘Job Offer letter and pack’ and until I have that in my hand I am once again in limbo.

I’m like an animal, I can smell the blood of the kill I know it is close but it’s just out of reach. The exit from theatre is right in front of me yet I do not have the key to unlock it.  Believe me when I say posts on forums tell tales of people applying to putting on uniform taking over a year. So the wait is no way near over, the finish line is in sight… Just… it just happens to be obscured by several more obstacles, but as I look behind and see the ones I’ve already conquered the ones to come seem easy in comparison.

So now I move from checking my emails every day and job profile on the career site to waiting for the postman to bring that news, that Network Rail letter that contains my job offer and when it comes I’ll hold it high resembling Charlie and the Golden Ticket, for it will be my ticket out of a career I’ve fallen out of love with and onto something new and exciting with real career prospects.

So while No News is certainly not bad news, it is not good in any respect, just painful.

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Day Dreaming

Day dreaming of better things, or just some how wishing this would be my life. It’s a hard one. Recovering from the hangover that is your 30’s this week has truly been depressing, nursing the hangover from hell that could only be compared to that of the one I endured after my 6th form leavers ball I decided that I would set up camp in my bed for the day and try to stay as still as I could. I think I finally crawled from the pit around seven O’Clock to venture to the shops to feed my empty and angry stomach.

While I was in bed I reflected on the night, and while I don’t want to dwell on the evening events and my comments on a certain social network, I felt the festivities turned sour. This was due to my drunken state and letting emotions get to me, but I don’t think I enjoyed the night as much as I should have and while I want to express my thoughts I don’t think this is the right platform to air my view on the matter.

Monday morning was off to work, a job I didn’t really want to partake in as I knew what the week had in store. It was in the time spent walking to the theatre that I started thinking about my life once again. Thinking did I make the “30th Birthday” in my mind something to be big, did I make the whole turning 30 into an issue. The answers to these questions I have still not reached but I do know I am not happy in my job, or career which is a strange paradox as I enjoy the work, or working. I think what it is, is that I have not yet reached the stable position where I can say I have made it and I look around to see those younger and straight out of uni lighting shows and working on productions that are over whelming larger than the work I am picking up along with the way I have very little pension and no prospect of owing a house on the wage I manage to earn.

All of this being said, I have known for some time that if it didn’t start to improve I wanted out and for some time I have been looking at what I could put my skills to. I love steam trains, running, walking, history, castles and Wales. I have applied for jobs with the National Trust and have looked at re-training. I have even thought about moving to New Zealand.

Maybe this was where the day-dream came from. Moving to Wales, and working on a steam railway and in a castle living right in the heart of the Snowdonia National Park. It made me smile on the walk to work and has once again imbedded the idea of maybe moving. I have no ties to Manchester, friends can come and visit I can visit them. I have no house, no partner and no children to think off. Some people have said that doing a ‘Cold Move’ where you just up sticks and relocate with no plan in mind is one of the best things you can do. The question is where. I have money to see me through for several months with no work and the idea of picking a place on a map blindly and making that my new home scares the bejesus out of me, however the idea of picking a place I know and moving and trying to find a job and a life does some what appeal to me.

The true state of affairs is I will remain in Manchester running the same routes, working the same jobs. But at least I have work of sorts, except the horizon looks bleak but that comes with being self-employed in this industry of theatre. I have my running that is keeping me happy but I feel that I’m loosing motivation which is not good when I have planed on running the Manchester Marathon. I went for a run the other day I was pushing it when I got to 6 miles, I strived on to throw in the towel at the 10 mile mark. While I didn’t feel tired after the run, the whole journey was just hard work as my mind didn’t want to partake and my legs certainly didn’t want to travel anywhere. I’m hoping it was just a bad day as I managed to get my 5K PB down to just under 21 minutes the other day and my body does crave to run. As I sit and write now my brain wants a quick 5K, but after working all night and the torture I gave my legs yesterday I am resisting the urge and hoping I will have a more enjoyable and profitable jog tomorrow.

Oh well time to head off to work and grab some food.

Speak to you all soon.

Sums it up

There is some one who I follow and follows me in return on Twitter. The only other way we know one another is that he is the younger brother of one of my very good mates. We are also friends on Facebook and while tweet and click ‘Like’ on the others status’ from time to time we have only really meant once and do not know much about the other.

However I am in London now doing work and working down here for a bit. I tweeted several lines of my usual rubbish today, about how the area I am staying is nice and if I did move down then that would be the chosen location as not only is it leafy but several other friends live in the area.

The young pup was quick to tweet that “You’d never move out of Manchester” the point being that some one who does not know me as a person but only from what he reads of my social activity and what his brothers may say about me then he has me pretty summed up and it’s a fair point. I wouldn’t.

Or would I? I have now for many years been thinking about the move. I feel like I live down here when I stay and anyway I have my Oyster Card and know my way around like the back of my hand. I fit in. I’m not like some tourist or someone on business who gets the tube to go two stops and then stops to puzzle over if it is the Charring Cross or Via bank line, or to go Northbound or south where in fact the easiest and quickest route would off have been to walk round the corner. The true question is would I? I think my young follower sums it up correctly with his line ‘You’d never leave Manchester’ The trouble is I am going to have to leave at some point and if I make it as an LD the large amount of work will be in the big smoke.

So yet again another visit to our wonderful capital get me thinking of a move once again. Lets face it I do not have any ties in Manchester apart from two really good mates and a handful of other close friends who share the same interests. I can run in London, I will see trains in London I just would not be able to do any walking.

It’s a question I will have to answer soon.

A Few of my Favourite Things

Well for those who know me, then you will know that I love steam trains. If you really know me then you will also know I love old bridges and viaducts. Well would you Adam and Eve it as on Saturday these two love interests were sewn together for every geek to come and see.

I am talking about one of these steam train tours that often travel around the UK. The one on Saturday was using the Settle to Carlisle line and thus would thunder over the Ribblehead viaduct.

So off I went to North Yorkshire to the Ribble Valley. I parked up and I took a walk around the viaduct and the surrounding areas and then waited for the big event. If I am honest then the event itself was a little under par, the noise and jets of steam and billows of smoke were some what absent as it made the crossing but the engine was still a magnificent beast.

How to Spend a Saturday

Now really I should be going out for a run being that my last one was Thursday, but I am taking five on the old running lark as I am giving my legs a rest of two days. So what is there to do on the Saturday???

Well lets look at two of my passions that are not running. We have steam trains, and we have bridges and viaducts. Together they equal good old English heritage. Bring them together at the Ribblehead Viaduct with Olivier Cromwell puffing away over the top and you have me with my popcorn in the front row.

I’m sure I will write about it later tonight when I return and see it come into Victoria with picture galore.

Oh well I better leave as I am bound to get lost.

Weekend on the A46

Well this weekend was spent drinking and driving. Not together I would like to point out. I don’t even have a shandy or lemonade top when I drive, even when I have several hours between each activity. However with that aside, I carried this two past times of mine out on separate occasions. I was of visiting a very good friend down in Warwickshire.

Now before we go on, I should say that my knowledge of this area, is very limited. the Midlands seems to be a big place, with lots of towns that you’ve heard off, but would never have associated them as being placed in the middle of the country. With all that being said this area of the country seems to lack history. The inventory of the weekend was pretty empty, my hosts struggled to find activities to please my narrow mind, however we soon did find areas of interest, but due to cost I vetoed them.

This blog is all about my weekend, and what I learnt, and what my eyes saw.

The Weekend began picking up my friend who had been up visiting her Mother, and she would play the part of the sat nav. As you may know from other adventures in my car I am not the biggest fan of the M6, north and south bound, however travelling at a nice 60, to increase my MPG, keeping the rev’s under 3000 I enjoyed the drive. The M6 seemed to have disallowed any lorries or idiots on the road, and after two hours we arrived in the village where my friends had relocated to. The First night was spent drinking a box of cider followed by several cans, while watching my favourite of all past times, the wonderful act of comedy. The players were part of the Channel Four Gala, and to be fair, a lot of my comedians failed to feed my appetite for this enjoyable pastime.

With the morning I was treated to a cooked breakfast, and then it was on to decide what the day would bring. Now a lot of people would guess we would head to Warwick Castle, and we would have if it was not for the entry fee, of £36.00. We did find a castle only pass for £16.00 but even for me this was slightly too much to hand over, but we headed to Warwick anyway to have a look around the town. Now the town is very nice and there’s a rather nice church, I was trying to work out how old the church had stood for by looking at the gravestones, but all were dated after the 1800’s. There was however an interesting history with the Church, as it seemed that it use to have windows at ground level, that have now since been bricked up. This brick, looked new, but also looked worn which could suggest the windows being bricked up due the window tax which could date the church back to the 1700’s if not before.

From here, we looked at a possible wedding venue,(my friends are getting wed) which is connected to a later building I saw on my visit, but use to be an old hospital. With the castle being rejected by myself and I can understand some of the shock in reading that. Me rejecting seeing a castle, but even a lover of these buildings, the thought of entering a commercial castle, built for fun and attraction did not appeal, plus I’m a cheap skate. We did however move on to a toy shop, that had model trains at the back of the shop, and lots of discounted engines and carriages. How I wish I had room for my own train layout.

We quickly got back in the car, after I had almost orgasismed  at the train sets and off we set to Coventry. Now my friends did not want to return to this concrete town, as they found it boring with nothing there. I however wanted to experience the cathedral, and boy what a sight. The old bombed ruin stands in equal stance to the 1950’s concrete and coloured glass marvel. The rest of Coventry was nice, I think I have a thing for 50’s and 60’s architecture, especially when it is mixed in with that of Tudors or other classic designs.

Now we had already been to Coventry once today, as the first visit on the list of my friend’s place of work to see his theatre. I did joke that there really most be nothing to do, if we are sight-seeing a university, that is called Warwick, but is actually in Coventry. Luckily I don’t think they do a degree in geography.

Now while in Coventry I did spot a castle, an old style Motte and Bailey, I have included a picture of the evidence so you can all see the proof, and wonder why I got so excited by a patch of grass with nothing on it.

We then headed to the transport museum, which is really a car museum, or history of the motoring vehicle as opposed to a transport museum which I told them so on the feed back form. “Where were the trains, and canal boats” I wrote. However apart from seeing the land speed record-breaking car, and the Chopper, my first bike that I learnt to ride on… actually thinking about it I could have learnt on the Chipper??!!??, anyway apart from that there were two interesting pieces. The old style cars from the early 1900’s were good, but what was better was the old buses, and the double-decker bus test. I did not know this, but every bus is tilt tested to 28 degrees, to make sure it doesn’t fall. It’s little things like this, and my love of concrete modern towns and Castles that will help me remain single.

From Coventry we retired back to my friend’s home, and had Chinese, which took an age to get. Other people were coming into the shop, and getting their food orders quicker than us.

The next day we went to Stratford, to see a mutual good friend and their new addition to the family. There eldest had a Brio Train Set, which kept me entertained, along with the giant pop up book and touch and feel books.

We moved on to a castle, a castle that we walked around, but weren’t allowed in, even tho my friend had a sticker from when he last visited, he refused to hand it over for me to sneak in. Next time I’m going in as reading about Kenilworth its full of history, from Normans, to Tudors, through to the Civil war, and the reigns of the Georges, including the Lord who built the hospital in Warwick. It also looked immense, and extremely impressive.

After that there was just the very nice Sunday Lunch, with home-made gravy, and plenty of Coach Trip and Made in Chelsea which I feel my friend may now be hooked to as well.

The drive home was just as pleasant, a little bit rainy, but again, I did 60 m.p.h and got home in good time. In reflection it seems that Warwickshire is home to history, and a lot of Tudor houses for some reason and plenty of driving on the A46. But I didn’t go down to sight see. Well I did want some castles, canals, and trains, but I achieved the main purpose of the trip, and that was to spend time, and catch up with one of my best mates.

Driving a Steam Train

Well I must say that I have not achieved this little ambition, but with my 30th this year then any kind friends would do good to take note. I was for my birthday weekend going to take part in another love of mine and take to the water on a canal boat and explore the industrial heritage of our land as well as the usual several pints in a pub along the route.

For those who know me, and I hope I have a following of readers now, will know I love history and in particular have a strong passion for two era’s. The first being medieval and the second being the Industrial revolution, anytime from 1750 to 1850.

On Sunday I was drawn to Victoria Station which I must say is one of my favorite railway stations, I even like the inside, or at least part of it. Now I was out running on Saturday and I timed my run to end at Victoria so I could catch the wonderful sight of the steam train departing. I have already written this in a previous blog entry along with the turn out of events that shortly followed, so I won’t dampen my mood or yours and go into the nightmare that Saturday turned into. If you wish to have read then feel free to do so.

What this entry is about is my love of the period of steam. I wish I could be a small boy and stand on the bridges as the trains tunneled through, blowing their steam and smoke high into the heavens. I am about to embark on a holiday to Wales and there’s not going to be a joke about them being backwards and behind in modern living. I’m not about to offend the very people I will be staying with. In fact my holiday in Wales is going to take in sights and scenery of the age of steam and the progress of the age and I can’t wait.

Anyway on Saturday I was aware that the locomotive would once again pass through Victoria so I decided to head on down to experience the full atmosphere of what it would have been like to witness a steam locomotive pulling into an roofed station (even only 30 years ago where my dad would have seen it all the time. I’ve witnessed steam trains before but always in open stations) and by god I was peeing myself. I loved it, the noise and the heat from the engine, the constant release of steam that bulldozed out and bellowed up into the rafters hiding everything behind a white fluffy screen, the smoke that puffed angrily from the loco, it was the most thrilling experience I have had in many years.

Now I know a lot of you are saying “This man needs to be laid” (And I did seem to be the only person under 60 on the platform) but I think this wonderful sight should be experienced by everyone. The sheer science and engineering involved lay before me on the tracks, the very object that made Britain great and transformed the landscape and industry was stood proud by platform 3 and in those fifteen minutes I stood and watched I wanted to climb on board and be part of history. To think that I was thinking the same or feeling the emotions that people 200 years early had felt at the rain-hill trails, or as they had arrived at King Cross to board the Flying Scotsman. My tiny little brain could not imagine a whole station filled with these huge monsters as they geared up for their journeys as they bellowed to be fed by the men who quickly shovelled the feast of coal into their hungry bellies. To be back in time and seeing the eruption of smoke as the trains grew nearer to their departure time is an imagine I will only imagine and will never get to see.

Now I have no intention of becoming a train driver, or when I was a kid wishing to drive a train, but I do want to have a go and I would still pick the industrial age as the one era I would choose to live in. Next week I will be experiencing several railways and travelling on several steam trains, I’m wetting myself just thinking about it but railway travel is still in my heart and the age steam and watching these huge beats pump along the tracks will always make me stop in awe. Steam Trains are truly great and given any opportunity to see one, or experience there presence makes me very happy and giddy.