Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

(thanks Michelle!)

Hmm, New Years resolutions... what shall they be...? And you guys...? Let me know!

Last post of the year, before I head off to Martin's for New Years. Hope you all have a good one!

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Well, it's been one year on from my first post in this blog (easily remembered, since some sort of sense in me considered this day a year ago would be a great time to make a start on a blog).

I'm not a Christmassy person (love the gifts though!), but I suppose being the holidays has meant that I've reflected on myself - some good and bad things. Good things, I suppose, include how I am getting along in life. I suppose that qualifies as a bad thing too! And I suppose the big topic that is on my mind is my sanity (or lack of). So that's something I'm working on, so sorry for being a crap friend (condescending, inconsiderate, attention, lack of contact, etc) to you all. I'm working on it. You'll see me write a bit more come New Year's when perhaps I'll make some resolutions - yeah right! XD

Stuff your faces full, everyone, it's one of the few times in the year where you CAN feel good about it. Eat like a pig, go on!

Have a lovely Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

A few pictures of the snow...

The snow is here in Bristol (about 2 days after the east side of the country, the weather was cold enough, so it was just a matter of time of when it would rain (i.e. snow).

Ice on the rose branch

Slush on St. Johns Road
Clifton, Bristol

Citro├źn 2CV on Saville Road
Stoke Bishop, Bristol

Monday, 21 December 2009

Woolies Indoor Market, Bristol

Something strange and interesting has happened on Whiteladies Road (actually, a number of strange things, possibly good things, have happened on the whole stretch of the A4018 in Bristol! We'll go into those in a bit.)

This week I went to look at the old Woolworths store on Blackboy Hill. They've turned it into an indoor market! Although the shopfront is deceptively boring, and the ground floor as well, for that matter, I have no doubt in believing that this is a positive contribution to the retail at the upper end of Whiteladies Road.

I spoke with the manager a little, she was a nice lady and was talking to a contractor or plumber (I assume), and she said that it had been open for about 6 weeks now. Here's a few pics of the downstairs:

Frankly, I thought it was rather bland and generic, and lacked variation as all the stalls looked too unique and temporary. The upstairs, however, were a whole lot better.

El got a vintage coat, too!:

Overall, I like it. The upstairs is wonderful, and the far end of the hall is empty, so hopefully they'll get someone in. I love the fact that the floorboards and ceiling beams are exposed rather than covered up like downstairs. The downstairs just doesn't have the cultural/industrial charm the upstairs has, and I'm not sure the window arrangement of the previous occupier is best suited, but I assume there are reasons (e.g. easier to get planning permissiong leaving as-is.)

Other changes on the A4018: (most are recent! i.e. last 2 months or so!)
- New lane arrangement at Blackboy Hill outside the bicycle/wedding dress shop. (possibly good? it definitely caters for cyclists better!)
- Borders is closing (and I managed to buy a US magazine for 90p instead of £4.50!)
- Paperchase has moved two stores along from Borders (not checked it out yet)
- Between Borders and Paperchase is the Vinegar Hill shop (previously the Alldays/Co-op/Post Office, the shop is wonderful, think Cath Kidston, but less pink and red and more white, and slightly more practical. A cross between the Guild and Cath Kidston, I s'pose)
- Slightly older, but other new businesses on the Clifton Triangle include the new office building at the top of Jacobs Wells Road, Patisserie Valerie and Waitrose opening up.

No idea what the last few months is about, but the changes seem quite frequent, can only assume the current financial climate has something to do with it (not necessarily in a bad way or a bad result!)

Thursday, 3 December 2009

My 'Annus Horibilis'...'s Latin!

I have generally come to dislike writing about personal emotion and life on this blog, but since I'm stupid-busy with coursework, I think I get my little moment of attention:

I'm knee deep in coursework, I'm not even kidding when I say I'm busy. It's a combination of not working hard enough in the previous 2 years of study (meaning my knowledge is rather lacking in some parts), events in the last few months (meaning I'm about 1-2 months behind in coursework), bored out of my brains (and easily procrastinating) and bad time management.

I've accepted my work is going to be sub-par from now on, but if I just sat there and moped about it as I have done previously, I'd get nowhere, so today I decided to be optimistic. I wrote my aims in life on a sheet of paper. It sounds silly, but I was able to work for the next few hours. Today, was the turning point where I realise I need to be much more optimistic about the way I tackle these things. This is just one of the many steps I am taking in my personal checklist (inside my mind) on things I want to work on to become a better person. (side note: a number of entries in October covers this more.) The sheet of paper is something I will remind myself with - the most important one on there, is "Successful!". I'm trying to sit there and be confident about my work, although I've only got a little more than 2 weeks, I want to make it the best work I can produce in 2 weeks. It's doable, I know what you're thinking! "that's a crap way of looking at your studies"... well, yes, perhaps. But given the circumstances I believe trying to tackle it optimistically is always going to be better than doing it pessimistically.

In the midst of all this, both my motorbikes are in shocking states of repair.

Duke (the red one) has a loose chain. I am going to assume that his gears/cogs are worn, but I've not even had time to pop open the case that goes over the chain to take a peek... I don't want to ride him much more for fear of breaking him.

Blue bike has taken a hit on Saturday after a friend got off a bit quick, whilst I'm not one to fuss about a broken indicator, I have since realised my radiator is loose, not sure if this was from before. But it needs tightening. More shocking about Blue bike, is the fact that the MOT for it was due in October, and I've just forgotten about it and not realised it was due. Blue bike is going to fail, at the moment, even if I got the broken indicator replaced. This is due to the fact that the handlebars are completely wankered. The handlebars have been like this for some time now, due to a variety of falls.

What it basically means, is that if the handlebar touches the petroltank (on a traditionally placed petrol tank on a more normal motorbike, forget about the fact I have a storage compartment in it's place for now), it's an MOT fail. I've checked online for replacements, one eBay bike-breaker doesn't have any, I'm waiting for a reply from another. eBay US only has one for $99 however has no hole to allow for the heated handgrips, three online shops which I've checked have them at £87, $149, $179. All of which I can't afford. Not right now anyway. So, what it means is that Blue bike might have to go without an MOT for a little while. And I'm contemplating on taking Duke for a proper service to have him sorted out - if I did it myself, it would take half a day, and I don't have half a day free anywhere in my schedule at all.

Maybe I'm a crap rider. Here's everything that's wrong with blue bike (and theres a lot more which is wrong and is generally more expensive to get fixed than it is with Duke, partially because it's BMW, and partially because of the model's uncommoness)
- Bent handlebars
- Left heated handgrip not working
- One of the stuffbay screw-threads is missing
- Left fairing cracked and scratched
- Left indicator broken
- 15,000 mile service well overdue (it's on 19,000+ atm)... I can't afford it.
- Bike is looking a bit grubby, so could do with a clean!
- Topbox is not properly secured as some plastic/bolts have worked themselves loose
- Engine oil low

I need to sort out Duke, because Blue bike annoys me a bit too much for daily use :( Blue bike also runs a greater risk of being damaged when in the city, and I don't like to run this risk unless I'm in London, where it's speed is needed. I dunno if I should take Duke for a proper service to have him checked out... should I?

Anyways, I'm off to sleep. Sorry this post is a bit bland and boring. Hope tomorrow is a productive day. Fingers crossed.