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March 2005 Archives

March 2, 2005

Up North

As luck would have it, I’ve been offered two contracts at once. One is in Leicester and the other in Stafford. To help decide which one to choose, we decided to drive up north and take a look around the areas.

It took about 2 hours to get to Leicester. We drove around the city centre and ring road to get a feel for what accommodation may be like. We then went looking for the actual area the work would be. It turned out this was about a 30 minute drive in horrible traffic – not too enticing.

Next stop, Stafford. Stafford is a small town, with some character. We walked through the town centre / high street looking at the shops and estate agents. After a bit of looking we found a Café Nero, so we figured it couldn’t be all that bad. We decided that this was the job to take (nb location wasn’t the only reason for decision). So I sat in Café Nero and rang the agents to let them know my decision.

Afterwards we went for a wander around the rest of town and discovered a starbucks – what more could you want.

March 7, 2005

Back to Work

First day back at work. I had to go buy some new work clothes as my jobs the past few years have had informal dress codes = jeans. I also had my new fancy high heel shoes on. I travelled to Stafford last night with Pete. In the morning I found a park and figured out where the office was and Pete headed south to Birmingham.

The team I am working with is small, with plenty of issues with the system to sort out. It felt a bit strange to be back at work, but I settled in quickly and got straight to work. Lunch – starbucks.

After work I caught a train to Birmingham (33 minutes). Pete had spent the day looking around the central area to see if there were any perspective areas to live. The canal-side area is great, new apartment buildings and lots of restaurants, bars, clubs and a shopping centre. Plus the train station is a 5 minute walk. However walking around for an hour in my new shoes was killing me. The last train back to Stafford was about 9:30, so we headed back for an early night.

March 11, 2005

Fat

I’ve reached the end of my first week of contracting. At this rate I am going to get very, very fat! Starbucks, Café Nero, Mozzarella ciabattas, pub lunches, dinners out nightly – not enough healthy stuff.

I also haven’t worn my new shoes again – memory of the pain is still resident.

March 12, 2005

FA Cup 1/4 Final

We have been very slack since moving to the UK and rarely go to football (soccer) matches. The local team, Southampton Saints, are in the premier league and their stadium is a 10 minute walk from our place.

This year they have made it to the quarter final of the FA cup and would be playing Manchester United. Now normally it is very hard if not impossible to get tickets to a match against Man Utd. I sent Pete down to the stadium yesterday to see if there were any tickets left and there was about 200 single seats left. However, to purchase tickets you needed to be on their database as having bought tickets this season. Now we have been to a match this season, but someone else bought the tickets for us. So I rang a ex-colleague up at B&Q who I knew would be able to get tickets and asked him very nicely if he could please get 3 tickets for us – and he did!

So, at the match our seats were all reasonably near each other. Justin even had a spare seat next to him, so after half time Pete moved next to him and I stayed in my aisle side seat. I had the binoculars so I could check out the cute players! The game was pretty much over within the first 2 minutes when ManU managed to get a goal – the thrashing had begun. The match ended 4-0 and ManU nearly had even more goals. It was amusing to listen to the crowd chanting unintelligibly – well at least I couldn’t figure out what they were saying. Some ManU supporters even threw a flare onto the pitch. It was also very very cold – having learnt from previous matches I wore some of Pete’s thermals!

March 16, 2005

Birmingham

This week we stayed in Birmingham for 3 nights. The Travel Inn is right on the canal side. Pete spent Monday and Tuesday looking at apartments to rent, since we are thinking that Birmingham could be a nice place to live. However, after looking at 6 or more places he has only found one place that he would be happy with.

I travelled to work by train Monday and Tuesday – the train station is only a 5 minute walk from the hotel. It takes an hour from door to door + 5 minutes if I stop at Café Nero. I got to try out my new company credit card, which I received on the weekend. We used it at a nice Italian restaurant right on the edge of the canal. The area has lots of bars, clubs, and restaurants. It is also only a short walk to a big UGC multiplex cinema.

March 18, 2005

Saint Pats Day

I have nearly completed 2 weeks of my first contract here in Stafford. What better way top get to know your new work mates then to go out drinking with them. At lunchtime we went to a local pub/club. The excuse was that since I have some Irish ancestry it was valid for us to celebrate St Pats day. It turned out that they had no Guinness, so the guys could say when we left that they left the pub with no Guinness.

Stu sent out an invite for the evening. So first I dropped the car at the hotel and caught a taxi into the first pub, an Irish pub called Joxeur Bradys. There were a few people from work and then a small group of Stu’s other mates. They were already well and truly staggering having started earlier in the day and thought it great fun to start up with some Aussie jokes. They had already got themselves Guinness hats – which required 5 vouchers (you get 1 per pint of Guinness). So my goal for the night was to get a Guinness hat – preferably without having to drink any Guinness. This was to be no easy feat – the first 6 pubs we went to either weren’t running the promotion or had run out of hats.

Next stop for the night was a pub called the Crown and Thorn. They weren’t celebrating St Pats as it was there one-year anniversary of moving into the pub. They had some free food out, like sausage rolls and sandwiches. We had some food. A couple of drinks and played a 6 round robin of pool between Stu, Tom and myself. At this stage we were the only ones. Stu’s other mates had moved on to the next pub. Tom’s mate from Stone phoned up and Tom talked him into heading into Stafford. So now there were 4 of us.

We headed to The Bear. The barmaids couldn’t quite do the clovers in the froth on top of the Guinness so Tom showed them how. Five minutes later they came over and pointed out we hadn’t actually paid for our drinks. Next stop, The Swan. They had no gin left – how could this be possible? Had to resort to a couple of Southern’s and coke instead. Next onto Wetherspoons – this one was in an old theatre – huge, pretty cool. Then across the road to the Litten Tree.

At the Litten Tree they had screens up that you could send texts to, including song requests. Whilst at Wetherspoons we had tried to convince Stu that he should ask the 2 blondes nearby to sign a contract giving themselves to him. So now it seemed sensible to send a text to the screens saying ‘Sign your body over to Stu’. I’m not sure what Stu replied with, but he apparently got a text saying he was banned from texting the screen.

Last stop of the night, Chicago’s, and yes they had HATS – woohoo. By this stage we had 6 vouchers, as pubs had been slack with giving them out. So to get 2 hats, we needed another 4 vouchers. 4 people = 4 pints = 4 vouchers. So we got our 2 hats and by this stage I’d drunk enough so that my pint of Guinness seemed to taste ok. Of course I looked very sexy in my new hat! I had fun playing with the Guinness giving myself moustaches with the froth. But then I got too much Guinness froth on my face and figured it might make good face moisturiser. Stu was ready to go home, so he gave Rob his hat. We followed not far behind.

Next morning – I was the first to get into work with the others an hour or more behind!

March 19, 2005

Spring

Spring is here. It may be 2 days until the Spring equinox, but it has decided to come early. It is that delightful time of year where it reaches an amazing 15+ degrees and it seems oh so warm – well at least that is what my brain now says having been acclimatised to English weather. Friday lunchtime as I walked in to town to post my invoice off, I found myself heating up quickly. It showed great promise for the weekend.

Good weather means there is no excuse for staying indoors. So today since I was back down South for the weekend, we decided to head to Salisbury for a walk. Of course I had caught up on a little sleep, so our first stop had to be the pub for lunch. Pete had consulted his pub guide and gave us 2 choices. We opted for the pub with the beer garden, so we could sit outside in the sun. We strolled through Salisbury, wandering why we hadn’t come to this town before now. It is only a 30 minute drive to Salisbury, I guess we have driven through it a number of times on the way to Stonehenge.

So, 2 pubs , 1 chosen, and guess what – Pete managed to take us to the wrong one. He of course came up with some feeble excuse, blaming it on the book or something like that, but we just paid him out. We then headed to the correct pub.

Grub in our tumtums, we headed through town to the side of the River Avon. On the way we passed a pub called ‘The Mill’ with outside seating near the river – Pete decided we would have to visit that later. The plan was to follow a path alongside the river to Old Sarum. Old Sarum was the original site of Salisbury where there was a castle and a church. Somewhere along the way they decided it was no good because of lack of water supply and thus moved down the hill beside the river and built a new cathedral – the Salisbury Cathedral – and thus New Sarum (Salisbury) was born.

The walk along the river was lovely in the sun. On the way we saw lots of baby ducks – they were so cute. There was also an abundance of swans, which appeared to be tagged. We then diverted from the river, crossing it where people were paddling and a dog was fetching a stick in the river, and headed up the hill. The path was overgrown in one bit and I got a great shot of Pete’s backside as he crawled through the brush. At the top of the hill were the ruins of Old Sarum an English Heritage site. The views from the top of the hill were spectacular – unfortunately it was a little hazy. Our shadows on the hillside amused us.

As the visitor season doesn’t start until April, or in the case of this year, Easter – we arrived just as the main site was closing. We headed back into Salisbury to the cathedral. Once again we were unlucky – we made it in time but it was closed for a concert. So we walked around the outside, took some photos and listened to the music seeping out. So now we have 2 things to come back to Salisbury for.

We went back to the pub we’d seen earlier. I did want to go to the tearooms, but they were closed. It took ages to get served in the pub. The barmaid was searching everywhere for a pen until I pointed out that she had on stuck in her hair. It started to turn chilly so we downed our drinks and headed home.

March 20, 2005

Frisbee & Cooking?

What’s the best way to get Pete to cook? Bribery! Today there was more nice weather, although not as good as yesterday. We headed to Willow’s for a BLT for brunch. Then back home to get some chores done before taking off up north again. As the end of the day was approaching, Pete started going on about wanting to go down to the park to play Frisbee. So I agreed that we would, on the condition that he made dinner. He agreed – which shows how desperately he wanted to play Frisbee.

We headed across to the park, and got an hour of Frisbee in before it started getting dark and chilly. I managed to hit my head with the Frisbee – it’s a bit sore. Justin decided he should do a left hand throw and his first attempt was a really good throw. His second (and last) attempt well um, it went out of the park over the hedges onto the edge of the road. Yes, Justin is the first one to have managed to chuck the Frisbee out of the park.

I fear there is no going back now – Pete will want to play Frisbee at every possible chance. We headed home and yes Pete did make dinner.

About March 2005

This page contains all entries posted to Boring Old Mrs Williams in March 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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