Heaven is a place on earth

ragnhild zeigler

 Hola. Hope you are well and had a good Easter break.

I spent a few days back in Manchester, I had a fun time, it felt a little bit like a holiday. A holiday in a place I know well, where I got to see my friends and family, where the sun shone each day and I got to eat branded cereals. In many ways what I’ve just described could be heaven.

Whilst I was back in Manchester I appeared on the Andy Crane radio show. The other guest on the show was a very interesting lady, Ragnhild Zeigler, who not only is a singer-songwriter but also plays the saw and in addition to this is a politician in her native Norway and works with deaf autistic children. She properly put this unknown comedian in the shade. You can listen to this show by following this link. (This will be up for a further 5days)

Also whilst I was I Manchester I decided to support my local independent book shop and bought the book ‘Staying Power’ The History of Black People in Britain. ‘Her With One Permanent Job’ already thinks I’m race obsessed (i’m not) so there is a chance this book could tip me over the edge. I could become a light weight Malcolm X or Martin Luther King, maybe Julian Y or Julian Luther Prince. Watch this space, although it is a big book, so it might be a while before I summon up the energy to read it, so there shouldn’t be any noticeable difference in my subject matter any time soon.

Talking of ‘HWOPJ’, she has got a new job, which I think is typical, in what I described could be“the most important 2 weeks of my life” where I was to sort out different aspects of my life, and it was actually HWOPJ who had the significant news. I think the biggest impact on me when HWOPJ moves jobs is that I’ve got to know her work colleagues and then I have to get to know a new set. I imagine it’s what it must be like if you’re a child and your single mum introduces you to a number of different ‘uncles’ and then from time to time she sits you down and explains that you won’t be seeing ‘Uncle Kevin’ so much as they’re not ‘friends’ anymore. (I must add this didn’t happen to me)

Talking of relationships, is anyone reading this excited about the Royal Wedding taking place on Fri? Feel free to let me know if you are and why. I have to admit that weddings leave me cold, so one where it involves 2 privileged people I don’t know doesn’t fill me with much excitement. I can’t help thinking the people of Scotland and Hull have got the right idea as apparently no resident of these places has applied for a licence to hold a street party for the wedding. Having said all this, I wish Wills and Kate (or Catherine) well and if I’m near a TV I will no doubt watch, after all it’s an event and I’m a sucker for an event. However If Wills is reading this and is heaving second thoughts, he could do worse than checking this out. 

And Finally…On to some good news relating to this blog. I was checking the figures for the number of hits for April and this month has received the most hits since I moved this blog to WordPress in Sept 2010. So I thank you all for clicking on this blog. As a sort of reward for your support and because I found I have duplicate CDs I thought I would do a CD give away. So if you fancy one of the following CDs just let me know via the comments button which one you would like and then email me your postal address, my email is emailjuliandaniel@yahoo.co.uk and I will send you the copy.

So the CDs are:

Nothing but the Best – Frank Sinatra

Black Holes and Revelations – Muse

The Deformation of Strickland Banks – Plan B

A grand don’t come for free – The Streets

Antidotes – Foals

Til next week, stay safe! (next week’s blog  maybe published on Tues again what with Mon being a bank hol)

In your face George Osbourne

pete digby

Hola. Hope you are well.

I’ve had a pretty good week. On last week’s blog I mentioned how these could be the most important 2 weeks of my life. Well I’m a week in and I wouldn’t say it’s quite lived up to this billing but I have managed to do a few productive things, mainly involving money.

Firstly I sorted out my tax code, as since I started working in February I’ve been on Emergency tax, I’m not exactly sure what the emergency was. So now my tax code has been altered to represent my small earnings, so much so that on this week’s payroll I noticed the tax man has paid me, albeit £1:60. It maybe on be £1:60 but I’m claiming it as a small victory, all I’d like to say at this point is “In your face George Osbourne”.

On a similar note, as well as sorting out my tax code I also I did my self assessment tax returns. The deadline to do this online is Jan 31st 2012, and normally I would leave doing it until mid January but because I know I’m owed some tax back, I was right on it in April. I know, I’m a whore.

And the third thing involving money that got sorted out was our council tax.  We’d been having a little trouble with our council tax bill, mainly because when ‘Her With One Permanent Job’ moved to London, she was living in the flat alone, so had a single person’s allowance, when I rocked up we required a new account. A couple of months ago we paid off some of our council tax bill but unbeknown to us we paid it into the single persons account and not the joint account as we intended. This meant we started getting letters saying we owed a certain amount on the joint account and if we didn’t pay it we would receive a court summons. Not once however did we get a letter saying you’ve paid too much into the single persons account, here is your money back. Bloody typical!

Last week I mentioned how ‘HWOPJ’ took me around IKEA, well this Saturday I think things evened themselves out, as she came out to the pub to watch Man City vs Man Utd in the FA Cup semi-final. At times I looked over at her and the look of boredom on her face accurately encapsulated how I felt in IKEA. At least after you watch football in a pub you don’t have to take a bit of the pub home and then assemble it to the annoyance of your neighbours (see last week’s blog post).

Talking of ‘HWOPJ’, she helped out at the London Marathon yesterday (Sun) and saw a man (Pete Digby) running with a washing machine on his back. He was the same man who ran last year’s race with a fridge on his back. It does make me wonder what will he have on his back at next year’s marathon, maybe a small caravan. She said she also saw a man who was bleeding from his testicles. That’s dedication to his charity. It did make me ask myself, which would I prefer, to run the marathon with a washing machine on my back or to run the marathon with bleeding testicles.  I’m still undecided. Feel free to let me know your thoughts, you can comment via the comments button.

I’d like to flag up the fact I will be on BBC Radio Manchester this coming Sunday, 24th April. I will be on the Andy Crane show between midday-2pm, talking about the stories making the news. I should be joined by a politician and musician. You can also receive BBC Radio Manchester, online, a Digital Radio (in M’cr) and on 95:1Fm (in M’cr).

Also next week, this blog will probably be published on Tuesday as I will be travelling back from M’cr on the Monday.

And Finally… The news the nation has been waiting for. Back on 28th February I mentioned how we had 77 fish fingers in our flat, well this Saturday, 16th April we finished the last of this batch. It’s been truly emotional. I feel like an X-Factor contestant in that I’ve been on a journey. In many ways I think we’ve all been on a journey. I think my next food based project will be to let you know how many grains of rice we have in the flat.

Til next week, stay safe!

Zen Rooney

An angry man

Hola. Hope you are well.

I’m writing this from the land of the free, not America, but free as in I’m not in work as the school is off for Easter, which is good as I have free time to do productive stuff, but bad because I only get paid when I work. I am however hoping to use my 2 weeks wisely. If I were prone to exaggeration, and I am, I would say these next two weeks could be the most important two weeks of my life. I’m not going to say I’m going to sort my life out, but I’m hoping after these two weeks I’ll be closer to sorting my life out, or at least have a better idea as to what I will do for work in the Summer. I will no doubt keep you informed as to my progress, although I’m sure we all know how this will end. I will get distracted by something tedious like whitening my teeth, whilst failing to do the things that would be beneficial.

In last weeks blog, I mentioned how ‘Her With One Permanent Job’ and I might be considered to be ‘one of those couples’, i.e. a little poncey (see last weeks post). After reading my comments HWOPJ didn’t overly agree with how I was portraying us and she vocalised this. About 30 secs later she piped up and said, “I’ve just subscribed to the Economist” which I feel somewhat lessened her point. I don’t even know why she’s bothering with the Economist. Firstly, she used to get it and then unsubscribed, secondly, when ever I flipped through it, it seemed a VERY serious magazine, if you’ve never read it, it’s the complete opposite of Nuts and Zoo. And thirdly, we already buy the Saturday Guardian and the Observer on Sundays so surely we don’t need any other intellectuals telling us what we should be thinking. Too much input can leave an unknown comedian confused.

In addition to the Economist, we also did quite a couple-ly thing as we spent yesterday (Sun) in IKEA. This was only the third time I’ve ever been there, but surprisingly the first time with HWOPJ. We started our shopping experience by having meat balls with potatoes. We went for the 15 meat ball option as opposed to the 20. Does anyone need to eat 20 meat balls? After the 15 I’d eaten I wasn’t exactly craving for another 5. Having said that after the meat balls we did share a cake.

The shopping itself was ok if a little tiring. It’s surprising how following arrows for a couple of hours and trying to prevent your other half  spending too much money can take it out of you. Overall I think we showed good discipline and just got the things we needed including a coffee table.

I mention this coffee table only because it caused us a little bother with one of our neighbours. Basically we live above the angriest man in the world, he’s so angry he makes Wayne Rooney look Zen. We had to create a hole in each table leg, so had to hammer the tip of the screw into the table leg as instructed. As soon as we began to create the first hole the angry man from downstairs, started banging on his ceiling. I’m not sure what his problem was, for starters it was only 6pm, it wasn’t as if it was late night. Secondly, the speed at which he started banging makes me think he has a contraption at hand ready for such a moment. And thirdly, if his annoyance was because of the noise, his banging was way louder than ours. As he’d chosen to blow his top during us doing the first table leg, it meant we were faced with annoying him on 3 more occasions. As it happened we’d not tightened two of the legs sufficiently, which meant we had to re-do the holes on these legs. I did fear that this may tip angry man over the edge, but thankfully I’m still here to tell the tale. Naturally if had come upstairs I would have mentioned these points to him or more likely hid and pretended I’d gone out.

And Finally… in the first week for as long as I can remember, I’ve not eaten any fish fingers, so we still have 14 in the flat.

Til next week, stay safe!

Mr Popular

Clive Dunn as Grandad

Hola. Hope you are well.

After banging on about wanting to work 4 days a week and how having Fridays off will free me up to do other things, I ended up spending most of this Friday just gone in bed with a hangover. What a wassock!

The reason I had the hangover had nothing to do with my inability to say no to that extra pint but due to the fact I have moved to London. Because what seems to happen when you live in London, is that whenever someone you know ventures to London they contact you for a meet up. This is what happened when a poet friend of mine was visiting. The odd thing about this meet up, is that I’ve known this person for a number of years and we’ve never just met up for a drink despite both of us previously living in the same city, Manchester. But now I’ve moved  over a 150 miles away, we now think it’s a good time to meet up.

I must add that I did have a good time and it’s also interesting what you find out about a person, when you sit down and chat with them for a few hours (and there’s drink involved). For example, I had no idea he was a grandad. You’d think I would know something as major as that about someone I’ve known for a few years, but no. The scariest thing about him being a grandad, is he’s only 7 years older than me and I’m nowhere near being a grandad, although I am constantly collecting stories to tell my grandchildren.

In other matters. I’ve been thinking recently, that with me currently working in a specialist school and ‘Her With One Permanent Job’ working for a charity, we appear to be one of those ‘right on’ couples. But then when you add the fact that we go on jogs together, have poet friends (me more than her) and both have poncey names (Julian and ‘Her With One Permanent Job’), we start to sound like twats. If I were reading about a couple like us in a Sunday supplement, probably in the Observer, I would take an instant dislike to them. In our defence, we are not as twattish as we sound. I might get that phrase tattooed on me as a romantic gesture, but only in Henna, and only when we go to India to discover the ‘real us’. Before you ask, we have no plans to head to India.

On last week’s blog post, I mentioned how when I went swimming with the school children and left the cubicle in just my trunks the female teacher said, “Arghh” I actually meant to write, “Aww”. Although a woman screaming, “Arghh” when you are in just your trunks would make the top 3 of things you don’t want to hear when you are semi-naked, along with laughter and pity.

And Finally… we have 14 fish fingers left.

Til next week, stay safe!