31st May

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Like a Night Club in the morning, you’re the bitter end
Like a recently disinfected shit-house, you’re clean round the bend

I watched a program today about the great poet John Cooper Clarke. It was on BBC 4 last night but I didn’t get a chance to watch it so I caught it on iplayer. I first saw him back in 1979 at Newcastle University when he was first starting to really make a name for himself. It was so difficult to get into the uni in those days if you weren’t a student and we no doubt stood outside for a while asking people to sign us in! It also went on very late and by the time we would have had to leave to catch the last train home he still hadn’t come on stage. I remember I found a payphone and rang my mum to ask if my dad could come and get us after the gig but she said he was too tired so said she’d leave a £5 note just inside the door for us to pay for a taxi!! While i was on the phone to her JCC walked past me heading towards the stage. “Got to go mum he’s just coming on!”

Like a death a birthday party,you ruin all the fun
Like a sucked and spat our smartie,you’re no use to anyone

I was actually quite surprised to find out I’d seen him 4 times in all instead of the two I could remember. The next time I saw him was just after I went to uni and was probably amongst the slew of tickets I bought on my first day in Manchester. It was at the Apollo with Pauline Murray supporting. The other time I do remember seeing him was at Rafters, an underground club on Oxford Road (I remember because of the line in one of his poems “I was walking down the Oxford Road, dressed in what they call the mode!” (the poem also mentions the Ritz where I would see New Order a few months later!). the final time I saw him was listed as being at Dingwalls – I’ve no idea where that even was – could have been Newcastle or Manchester as it was in May 1983 just as I finished Uni.

What kind of creature bore you, was is some kind of bat
They can’t find a good word for you, but I can…TWAT

Talking of which that stupid lodger has reared her head again – this time she managed to con a PCSO into coming round and delivering a letter to us. I’m not sure what the PCSO did was actually legal but Sarah showed her the carpet and told her what a pain in the arse she was and got some level of agreement. I don’t suppose the PCSO will be able to talk any sense into the arrogant woman but we can always hope.

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30th May

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Lissi’s 16th Birthday today so there was lots of silliness! Becky made her some fruit friends (idea from her favourite TV show Miranda!). Which she put out on the table along with some llama badges I had made. I’ve mentioned her obsession with llamas before when we went on holiday and took her to see a llama farm. The badges had slogans like “Don’t be a-llama-ed, I’m 16 today” and “Have a Llamatastic birthday”

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A few months back she had gone round and stuck pictures of funny animals inside all the cupboard doors in the kitchen and on the walls of the loo and utility room. So we made lots of little speech bubbles to stick on them. We also added our own silly llama picture on the kitchen door.

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Once she had opened all of the things we had left out for her we sent her off to school. her exam wasn’t till the afternoon but she was going to go and get breakfast at McDonalds and then go into school to show off! She left wearing all 4 llama badges plus another 16th birthday badge. We all waited as she opened the front door and waited for the inevitable squeal when she saw this attached to the inside of the outer door!

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29th May

Today is the first anniversary of the death of my Gran, a few days after her 100th birthday. I’ve been trying to find the right words to express my feelings all day but have failed miserably. These are the only one’s that I could think of to sum up her life…..

And our village is where I was born and it’s where I will die
And I’ll never be able to leave it whatever I try
The ebb and the flow of the forces of life pass me by
Which is all that I’ll know from my birth to my last gasping sigh 

It was with a cruel irony that the developers in Sunderland chose today to knock the last bit of the Mayfair down finally removing the last of my memories of growing up in Sunderland. One year after my last relative in Sunderland went my memories went too.

And it’s whispered that soon if we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason
And a new day will dawn for those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for
and she’s buying a stairway to heaven

RIP The Mecca 1964-2012

Photographs by Linda Roy

Advertising awards ceremony tonight – been doing this one since it started 14 years ago. Advertising had really changed in that time, back then there were 3 main mediums – print, poster and TV. Then slowly websites started to appear until now there are so many categories it takes hours to get through them all – advertainment, experiential, guerilla, viral and other digital categories. It sometimes seems that in the last few years the measure of a good advertising campaign has changed too – once it was about how many units they sold, now it seems to be about how many hits or likes it garnered!

28th May

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On Friday I found myself thinking that I’d never been on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR). Then this morning I had to go to a meeting at Canary Wharf and discovered that the quickest way to get there was to get off the train at Woolwich Arsenal and catch the DLR – weird coincidence huh?

I enjoyed the elevated journey through the old docks where there is still, despite years of development a startling contrast between the new high tech office blocks and the functional brick built warehouses, the swish of the financial service sector set against the bump and grind of manual industry.

I was heading for a meeting in one of the tower blocks that dominate the skyline of the wharf. In fact our meeting turned out to be on the 40th floor reached by an elevator that ran non stop from the ground causing your ears to pop on the way! I reached my destination and was looking for my colleague. Unable to see her I stepped into the shadow cast by the building so I could see the screen on my mobile to call her. I was instantly pounced upon by a security man who told me to move on. When I explained that I was there for a meeting he ordered me inside. If that’s their welcome it’s a good job I don’t owe them any money……oh hang on a minute I do!

27th May

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Bara Brith!

Another beautiful sunny day today, hard to believe that on this weekend a year ago I was enjoying the sunshine in the garden when I got a phonecall to say that my Gran had just died.

This is our new kitten (above) that we are going to be picking up in a week or so. After much deliberation a name that we all like has finally been agreed on – cookie. The cat below is our old mog who is almost 16 years old now lying on the shed roof enjoying the sunshine this afternoon.

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26th May

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Sitting in the garden this morning and this strange insect landed on the table and stared at me!

Went to fill the car with petrol, go to the cashpoint, and get my haircut. Arrived at Tesco to find the petrol station packed. I’m guessing that the 5p voucher was attracting everyone and the fact no one was using pay at pump was slowing everything down. The design of the petrol station doesn’t help. I gave up and went to the cashpoint. By the time I left the queue had got even worse – you’d have thought they were giving it away!

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So I went to get my haircut and thankfully there wasn’t too much of queue. I was a bit worried when the usual lady wasn’t there and there was a new lady I’d not seen before. I was even more worried when the owner picked the new lady up on the fact she hadn’t finished the guy in front of me’s hair off properly but in the end it turned out ok. I popped into B&Q where it turned out they were having a 2 for 1 plant sale so I spent a whole £1.48 on a Jalapeño plant and hence got a pepper plant free!  (I also managed to find a care tag for the other chilli plant I’d bought a few weeks ago!) I just had time to go home and re-pot them into the two big pots I’d cleared out that morning before I had to go and pick up Sarah from her tutorial!

In the afternoon we went to Sarah’s mum’s house picking up her nan on the way. It was her Nan’s 92nd birthday so we took her cards and presents. It was lovely to see Ben playing cards with his Great Nan having had to give up on the idea of teaching her how to do picto-chat on his and his mum’s DS! Sarah and I had to attack her mum’s garden as it had become very overgrown. I had to clear if off with the strimmer before mowing the grass twice! At least now you can see the path and overall (apart from the hedges needing cutting) it ended up looking quite nice!

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Lissi had made her Great Nan some cakes so we stuck a candle in one and sang Happy Birthday to her!

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25th May

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Had to go and meet up with a client today at his offices in Putney, only when I got there the receptionist told me he no longer had offices there. I was just starting to panic when she remembered that he had booked the meeting room so I went in and set up my mac to be ready to run through his slides for next weeks awards.

I’ve been doing this job since it started 14 years ago and have great respect for the client but he does have the tendency to go from being a really nice bloke to being a pain in the arse and back again in a very short space of time. We were however quite qucik at going through his slides so when we’d finished I went off to find something to eat before heading home early on a sunny Friday afternoon!