Happy Birthday to me

Friday saw another year added to my age – woo! But more about that in a minute.

It’s been a full-on week with work, and there’s no sign of it slowing for the next couple of weeks at least… I’ll really appreciate some time off when it happens!

On the Thursday night after my last blog, I got back from a day’s filming in Bradford, and drove down to London with Rob so we could get to Docklands for our shoot at 9.30 on the Friday morning. Because Rob had been working late, we didn’t get to leave Manchester until about nine, and eventually got to our Travelodge at 1.30am! And then when we went to check in, we were told that they’d given away one of our rooms, so we’d have to share – so Rob had the double bed and I had the sofa! The trouble was, by now we were past our tiredness and couldn’t get to sleep so ended up talking until about four, which gave us less than four hours sleep before we had to get up!

The shoot went okay I think – it was a presenter in front of a greenscreen for a web tutorial I’m working on (although looking back at the rushes there are a few things I would probably have done a bit differently, but it’s a bit late now!) We got wrapped up by about three, but it took us about 2 hours just to get out of London and onto the motorway (although we did get to see most of the sights at the same time!) and then we didn’t get back home until about nine… so a very long couple of days! I managed to get a bit of a lie-in on the Saturday morning before heading over to James’ to finish off the cake animation we needed for Preview.

Sunday night I took a bit of a break and went out to see Rachael Kichenside perform at Oxjam which was being held at Joshua Brookes in town. I went on my own, but it was really good to hear her performing live with a full band. Was a pretty short set, but like I said, well worth hearing, and I stuck around to hear a couple of other artists as well.

Then this week, I had a final day at Leeds Bradford Airport on Monday (with a 6.30am start!), and the next couple of days saw us working again on Preview, firstly looking at the animation, and on Wednesday, after an early morning swim with James (aren’t we good!) we filmed a webcam interview which took a few attempts to get working smoothly, and then both headed over to Nottingham with Louise to interview one of the guys who’s created ‘Second Life’ – an online virtual world. We were filming in an internet / LAN-gaming cafe, and there were some real geeks in there! I’m sure most of them were fine, but there were a couple who looked like they could do with getting out a bit more! There was one guy who managed to sit right in the back of the shot for half the interview, and we had to ask him to turn around because he was just staring at the camera, and then whenever he got up or sat down, it became obvious that he really could do with a belt, because you got to see more than you really wanted to!

Then Friday was my 34th birthday. To be honest, I usually wake up with the expectation of it being another crap one, so I wasn’t really planning on celebrating it… but unknown to me at this point, that wasn’t to be the case.

I did have one slight mishap – I went into town in the afternoon for a meeting with Dave at Channel M and to pick up some tapes which was fine… however as I was coming out of the multistorey car-park’s mad helter-skelter type ramp, I was distracted for a second whilst sorting out my ticket to get out, and suddenly I heard a really bad scraping noise as I was clipping the concrete kerb on the inside of the spiral! I managed to manouvre away from the centre, but since I was coming down from the 9th floor, I still had a lot of it to get down. I didn’t check my car until I got home, fearing the worst, but luckily it looks like my wheel hub has taken all of the damage, and the paintwork seems fine! I’ll probably look at getting it replaced at some point but I guess there’s no rush to change it.

Whilst I was at Channel M in the afternoon, I got a text from James wishing me a happy birthday, and asking me if I wanted to go out for a drink in the evening. I hadn’t planned to do anything at all (as usual!) but I said yes, and he texted back to say he’d see if Jamie or Sarah were free that night as well.

Jamie and SaSo it was arranged that I’d pick up Jamie from Sarah’s, and then would go round to collect James and Helen, and then we’d decide where to go. I got to Sa’s at about quarter to nine, and she’d got a choc-chip muffin with a candle in it waiting for me – so I actually had a birthday cake! She’d also bought me a present which was a little bottle of red wine! We’d been talking recently about wine, and I was saying that the few sips that I’ve tasted in the past have always tasted like vinegar to me! So she’s decided that I need to be educated in the appreciation of wine, and this is the starting point! I will try it at some point, because it obviously must taste better than I think, otherwise no-one would drink it at all!
Helen and James
We had to wait about half an hour before Jamie was able to get over, and after picking up the Torry’s, we drove to Chorlton to a bar that was supposed to be pretty good (and smoke-free) but it was a bit busy in there, so we just had one drink before heading down to the Woodstock in Didsbury.

It was really nice hanging out with these guys – I’ve not really done that much socially with them for ages, and it made me realise a bit how much I’ve missed it. We managed to waste a few quid on a quiz machine playing ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’, ‘Pub Quiz’ and ‘Spot The Difference’…suffice to say, we didn’t win anything from it!! And the rest of the time we just chilled and had a really good time. Made a real change from my normal birthdays! There are a few photos of the night here.

Got back around 1am and managed to grab a few hours’ sleep before having to get up pretty early to be picked up for a filming job I was doing at a big meeting down at the NEC. It was a pretty long day – 12 hours including travelling, but at least I wasn’t driving! I even fell asleep on the back seat on the way back!

Too much work!

Lots of apologises are in order! It’s been over a month since I last blogged (and I had wanted to post more on here) and also I’ve got quite a few emails from people that I need to reply to that I haven’t had a chance to yet… sorry to all those people! Will reply soon!

I’m so busy at the moment it’s unbelievable. In fact, I’ve probably taken on a bit too much to be honest, but there’s nothing I can really do about that now… I’m currently working on 6 different jobs that all seem to have delivery dates within a few weeks of each other! This week is a pretty mad one… Monday I was editing a documentary on this year’s Cannonball Run for ITV1, and then yesterday I was filming for a safety video at Leeds Bradford airport – although it took us 5 hours to do the 60 mile journey!! We left Manchester at about quarter to eight, and came to a standstill on the M62 at 8.40am, and stayed parked there for over 3 hours!! There’d been an accident about a mile ahead of us, and we were stuck there until just before midday when they finally managed to clear the carriageway.

Then today I’ve been filming stuff for Preview with James – the bizarreness of this job is one day you can be filming airplanes in the fog, then the next day we’re animating vinyl stickers on a wall, and then filming the baking of a cake in James’ kitchen as a stop-frame animation to make it go from the finished cake back to it’s raw ingredients! I think it should look pretty good, though we ran out of time this afternoon because we both had to head to a meeting at Channel M, so we’ll need to shoot the filling and topping going on at some point… just not sure when yet!! Tomorrow morning I’m back up in Bradford to do some more airport filming (this time we’re leaving at 7am – woo!), and then tomorrow night I’ve got to drive down to London for a shoot in Docklands, and then I’m back in Manchester on Friday night, with a day’s work on the Cannonball waiting for me on Saturday!! And then I’m booked solid with stuff for the next few weeks! Arghhh! I suppose I should be thankful I’m getting regular work, but I really could do with a bit of a rest.

I’ve been trying to get in a couple of social things recently because my life has been so taken up with work recently. This evening I met up for a drink in town with John Cieszynski – we had planned to go to Jabez Clegg on Oxford Road, but I hadn’t realised there was internation football on tonight, so it was incredibly busy there, so we ended up at Dukes in Castlefield, which was a lot quieter. It was the first time I’ve really spoken properly to John – we’ve spoken loads on Messenger, but nothing really outside of that! It’s mad really how you can live so much of your life online!

And on Monday, Sarah came round for tea and showed my all her photos from her holiday to South Africa – and it looked totally amazing. It’s been so long since I’ve had a holiday, and I’d love to do something like that, but the opportunity never seems to materialise. Anyway, it was good to catch up, and I cooked a mean roast chicken meal and even made a sauce rather than my usual safe option of just mixing up some gravy! Not sure if I did it right – the sauce tasted okay I think… I had to get some white wine to make it, and not knowing anything about wine, I don’t know if it tasted good or not! But I liked it, and hopefully Sa did as well – or she was just far too polite to say otherwise!!

Right – I should really be getting to bed because I’ve got a looooong day tomorrow. Will try to blog more regularly once the workload’s gone down a bit!