Saturday, 2 June 2012

Fifteen floors above the Cardiff pavements

For the past month I have been living in a flat in Cardiff of my very own. It is in an apartment block called Altolusso, right in the city centre. My neighbours are now a Tesco express, Cineworld, Nando's, several hotels and a bunch of bars down on Mill Lane. My brother is renting the apartment with me, he is pretty obsessive over things and made sure that we kitted the flat out brilliantly from the start, so the white leather sofa that came with the place is adorned with fluffy brown BHS cushions, there is a plant by the window and a creme coloured rocking chair kind of thing plus a 40 inch plasma tv. The flat is at the furthest end of the building and so we have a big floor to ceiling window which looks out toward Cardiff central train station and over the city to the valleys. The sunset you see every cloudless night is the kind of thing people drive for miles and hours to see. You do not know how incredibly lucky (and undeserving of this) I feel right now. Life has a funny way of coming right when you least expect it.

The job is going well, it is contract work, PPI complaints reviewing, so just temporary which could be renewed for another three months at the end of June, I get paid more for this than I have ever been paid in my life which is also a nice touch.  Thinking of studying for a certificate in financial planning as well which will kind of legitimise my last three years of employment and ensure I can keep doing what I am doing for a little longer at least.

I am going on holiday at the beginning of July as well. First off I am going to Sheffield to meet my holiday companion, a friend from America who is staying in Manchester for a month. We will be seeing Marina & The Diamonds, then staying over for the night before being on an early train to Manchester airport, flying over to Paris for three nights, one of which we will be watching Jack White play, then going to Rome for another three nights before flying back to the UK and getting messy in Cardiff. An absolute stunning plan for a week. The next month cannot fly by fast enough.

This weekend my brother has gone back to Devon for a friend's birthday. Being somewhat new to Cardiff still but mainly due to my social ineptidude I have nothing to this weekend so am just lazing about on the sofa. The TV is on the blink, someone from Comet is coming round tomorrow to pick it up and give us a replacement, so there is not even that to watch. Chippy Lane is just a few footsteps from the flat so I will head there in a bit, pick up some chicken and chips, then a night in with the internet and some cans appears to be what is left on the cards.

Until the next rare installment x

Monday, 2 April 2012

Unemployment, Employment and Housing.

After approximately five weeks it appears I am now all set up and ready to go in Cardiff. Well near enough. I now have a job lined up, starting next Tuesday, after the Easter holiday weekend. All that is left is to find somewhere to live. This morning I got up bright and early for 9am and phoned eleven of the city's finest estate agents and asked them to house both myself and my brother in a two bedroom city centre apartment. Only two obliged, we have a viewing set up tomorrow lunch time and my brother has a viewing set for Wednesday evening at 6pm. By then I will be back in Devon for Easter but if they are good enough I trust his judgement and can look another time myself. All of the others have put me down for alerts when something suitable comes up. Not a bad Monday morning's work if I may say so myself.

The past month has been pretty nail biting, after applying for several roles, initially I turned down one role in which I would be, in title, the manager of a mobile phone shop, but in practice the sole salesman in a mobile shop, then later on was offered two interviews for two more roles, both customer service, one for a nationally known gas and energy supplier, the other for an insurance company, went to both interview and assessment centres, aced the lot and was offered those, which I subsequently turned down. The job I finally took was one in PPI complaints admin, contract work initially for a period of three months with a view to being extended for a further three months, through an agency who then offer further work afterwards if you want it. Sounds pretty promising. This is a bit different to work I have done in the past and if successful could open up other things in the future, so generally seems like the right choice.

So it does seem in my first five weeks here I have accomplished quite a bit and I have certainly, in my eyes, earned a nice 6 day break in North Devon from Wednesday onwards. When I return, that is when the real stuff begins!

The sun is out again today, there are a few errands I need to run before I give myself a good blasting at the gym and can then retire home here and put my feet up in the garden for a few hours, make the most of this unemployment whilst it lasts.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Intermittent scribbling.

Cannot believe how slack I am with blogging.

Currently I am unemployed, through personal choice. Manchester was nice and all but it very much seemed like my world was down south and I was just travelling up north to work between breaks back home. This past two weeks I've been sat on my arse, back in Devon at my parents, collecting my thoughts and just enjoying a nice holiday whilst being a helpful son.

Next week I shall begin the big task of searching for a job for my move up to Cardiff, and the following Monday the move happens. Exciting! New chapters and all of that. I will be staying on my brother's floor until I find a job and a place to live.

Until the next post x

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Brand spanking new laptop.

This morning I was clicking away on my laptop as per normal, reading through social networks and various websites about music and conspiracy theories, my standard start to a Saturday, when all of a sudden I got a big blue screen flash up. "System error, your computer is now closing down" or some other similar annoying words. The computer then proceeded to close down and then start back up again. This was not the first time it has failed in the past few weeks. Not to mention the fact the screw has gone in the monitor part and the screen keeps falling down unless I hold it up, and the laptop itself being around five years old now, so even the most normal tasks like running itunes and playing facebook apps cause it to have a breakdown.

Yesterday was payday, so it made sense that I go into town and take a look at what other computers they have for sale in second hand and electronic shops and the like. After trapsing round Manchester's many Entertainment Exchange stores and having not much joy I decided to trek up to Ancoats and look for a PC World or anywhere that would do the same job. After a bit of iPhone map jiggerypokery I managed to find myself at an Argos Extra store, and after thumbing through their catalogue I eventually found, on page 752, a rather nice looking piece of kit at £399. There followed a few calls to my bank to find out my exact account balance, a few sums then took place, and eventually I parted with my cash and found myself the proud owner of this snazzy new machine.

Ok it's not overly snazzy, but it's a certain upgrade from my old laptop. Before leaving my home I found the specification of the old laptop on a website, took a photo of it, and used that to ensure my new computer would be better than it.

And here we are. All my essential programs (Spotify, iTunes, firefox, ummmm... that's it) installed, all my favourite websites bookmarked, everything running an absolute dream. I think myself and iTunes may actually be able to build some kind of friendship too, rather than me begrudgingly venturing in every 6 months or so to install an iOS update, expecting a five hour ordeal in doing so.

These kind of whim purchases are nice.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Bank Holiday Weekend in North Devon

Currently, I'm sat in the living room of my parents house in Appledore. Mum's snoozing in an armchairs, Dad's got his headphones on, listening to the radio, and there's a TV program on with Anne Widecombe looking at an old house. I like evenings like this.

The weekend has been pretty packed so far, yesterday morning I woke up at 5am, was in a taxi by 6am and on a train out of Manchester by 7. The train journey down to Devon took 5 hours, I then spent 2 hours wondering round Exeter before meeting my friend Fleur, who I haven't seen now for around 6 years, in the city centre. We went to the Cavern club to get lunch, something we used to do regularly when we were in our late teens/early 20s. Then we went for a wander round, went to an american sweetshop and then to the Cathedral where she volunteers doing conservation work each weekend, she wanted to show me a plaque on a wall with a silly name on it. Afterwards I left her at her workplace and got the train up to Barnstaple.

My parents were waiting for me there and I was home here by 6pm. By 9.30pm I was out again for drinks with Matt D in Bideford. We went to the Heavitree, Crabbies and then Ceasers. I drank too many JD and cokes and stumbled back through the front door here around 2am. I had to ring the doorbell and get Mum up as I couldn't unlock the door. I only later realised I had been trying my Manchester doorkey in the door.

Today I slept until midday, got up for two pieces of toast, then got back into bed. Spent the afternoon chatting to Fleur online, going over our old livejournals and reminiscing, this afternoon I then went out for a meal at Country Cousins in Westward Ho! with Mum and Dad, we had a carvery and for desert I had a chocolate nut brownie with cream. So right now I am currently feeling very lethargic and in need of sleep. Bedtime will come very soon.

Not looking forward to going back to Manchester tomorrow if I'm honest. Really do miss being down here so much.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The music I like.

It's always hard to define exactly what music I am into. If I was told I could only listen to one single genre for the rest of my life I would choose indie pop, but even that is a very loosely defined genre. I like lively music, that doesn't take itself too seriously or is steeped in romanticism, featuring guitars, keyboards or other electronic instrumentation and increasingly I find myself being more into bands with female vocalists.

My favourite bands are well known, successful bands such as Manic Street Preachers, Weezer, The Libertines and The Smiths. My current favourite new bands are The Heartbreaks and Pris, very independant and very unknown (for now at least), but equally I worship at the altar of Lady Gaga and Kanye West. Delve back a bit further toward the 70s and my favourite bands are all punk rock, The Clash, The Slits, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks. Jump further back to the 60s and I really couldn't give a toss about the rock'n'roll bands of the time, apart from The Beatles, I'd be more into the girl groups, The Supremes, The Shangri-La's, The Ronettes. Skip back forward again to the 80s I would be full C86, The Pastels, McCarthy, The Mighty Wah!, The Shop Assistants, Talulah Gosh. The 90s I witnessed, which was britpop mainly.

I wish I could say that it's easier for me to define the music I don't like, but again I cannot. Quite simply I don't like boring music, not at all keen on guitar bands without vocals or anything too prog rock. But there are exceptions there even, I like a lot of acoustic singer/songwriters and I actually quite like Mumford And Sons and Stornaway, their lyrics put them above the rest of the similar tosh out there.

Reading that back there is a definite thread to the music I love, I just can't define it myself. Maybe if I was musically technically minded I could, but I'm not. I just like what I like.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

My new desk

Today I bought myself a nice new desk from Argos and a nice new office chair to go with it. Actually it was the cheapest desk and chair Argos did but they suit me well. Saying that, as I'm typing this the desk is wobbling like crazy, can deal with that though, £32 the lot so can't grumble.

For the past year, since moving into this house, I've not had any kind of desk in my bedroom, when using my computer I've propped myself up against the wall, on my bed, with a pillow behind my head. Maybe this explains my hideous laziness. The past year I have in fact been stuck in some kind of weird lethargy in general, over the past two weeks I have been doing everything possible to consciously snap myself out of it. I had fallen into a junk food takeaway, self pitying, bedridden lull. To combat this I have banned myself from takeaways until the end of the month at least and no more coca cola (I was on three 500ml bottles a day, and I intentionally describe it like a drug, because it is one). I'm not banning myself from junk food in general, I'd just rather be eating captain birdseye's oven cook variety than McDonalds gunk, they have additives in that to turn you into their very own walking dead.

Also I am making myself leave the confines of my room outside of work hours, actually sitting down to watch some tv with my housemates, have a thirty minute conversation with them whilst cooking my tea, I can be an incredibly anti-social creature when I want to be, I can lie in my bed all day and even though I feel much worse after it I never learn. Until now that is.

This desk business, anyway, is supposed to encourage my writing. It already is, it's a much more pleasant experience writing sat at a desk rather than lying down on my bed. I've got this snazzy little iPhone dock as well which I'm blasting my music out from, Metronomy's The English Riviera right now, it's much better for listening to full albums on. Listening to music on my computer just encourages me to jump from track to track, make playlists and just scan through different artists. With this dock it's much easier to just put an album on and leave it playing. Plus I now have Spotify Premium subscription so I literally have access to every record under the sun.

My stomach is growling like crazy tonight. It's not a hunger thing as I've just polished off an Asda create-your-own 10" stuffed crust spicy chicken, pepperoni, ham and bacon pizza and rocky road pudding, it's some weird thing I get, right, about once a week I just get this feeling which completely overcomes me, it's like I feel drunk almost, a bit like a panic attack but it lasts for around 24 hours, and when it dies away it leaves me feeling massively thirsty and my stomach growling and churning like this. I should see a doctor about it really, but when I have the opportunity to make an appointment it never seems at it's worst and it doesn't seem like there's any need. I tend to dismiss all this stuff as psychosomatic as it probably is.

The world seems to be glued to Eurovision right now, I was too busy putting this desk and chair together to take much notice. This Metronomy album's better than Eurovision anyway. I'm going to see them in Ibiza this summer, supporting Friendly Fires. We're going over for my brother's thirtieth birthday with a bunch of his friends, staying at Ibiza Rocks hotel. I'm imagining some kind of Club 18-30 type experience, probably pretty much hell, but I'm up for giving anything a go, probably throw myself into it, sun, swimming pools and music can't be a bad thing really.

It's four minutes to midnight now so I think I'll be getting off. My stomach growls goodbye to you.