Holiday in Ireland

A couple of weeks ago I was on holiday in Ireland again, meeting up with mum and my niece and nephew. They’d already been there for a few days, and I set off really early on a Sunday morning to make a 9am sailing from Holyhead to Dublin, followed by a 3½ hour drive across the country to Mai & PJ’s house just outside Listowel.

The following morning – we took my mum’s hire car back to Shannon airport, with me following behind, so we could then carry on in just the one car.

We carried on northwards for a bit, before making a brief stop in County Clare’s main town, Ennis, and then carried on to the north west of the county, finally arriving at the Cliffs of Moher.

Cliffs of Moher.

They’re really stunning, and you can really sense the power of the sea crashing onto the rock a couple of hundred metres below. It was really windy, and it had been quite drizzly all morning, but it did dry up for us whilst there. It was a pretty strenuous walk up a load of steps to an old round tower overlooking the sea, and we carried on walking along the cliff top until we got to a little hut selling ice lollies (which of course we partook in!).

It was crazy seeing the amount of people who’d left the path to position themselves really precariously on the cliff edge to take a selfie – I’m not sure any photo, no matter how stunning, is worth potential death!

Afterwards we went into the visitor centre, which seems to be a giant cave inside the hill, and there were quite a few interactive things which Brandon & Chloe could have a go at. Even mum decided to try out the greenscreen selfie area, although the camera they use is really low quality and the keying wasn’t that great!

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Sore head

Happy New Year!

I had a great time celebrating last night, but I’ve been really suffering for it today! I went to a party at Steph’s house, and there were loads of people there – mostly people I know from Reach, but a few that I didn’t know.

Me, Dave and Jimmy.

Dave.

It was a really fun night – there was a bit of a buffet, and lots of beer! We all watched Big Ben chime midnight on the TV, before lots of music and dancing! To be honest, I didn’t really do any dancing – I mainly took photos and also videos on phone! Spent quite a bit of the evening chatting to Dave Bateman – now he’s in Liverpool we don’t catch up too often now, so that was cool.

Midnight!

Abhi and Chloe.

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Crazy few weeks!

It’s been a busy few weeks, but first off, me and James have been on TV these last few weeks!

I wrote a while back that we were doing all the graphics for Jo Brand’s new documentary series on Dave – ‘Jo Brand’s Big Splash‘, so back in May, we went down to London to be in the audience for the recording of the stand-up section of the series.

Well, the series started on Dave a few weeks ago, an we both make an appearance in audience cutaways at various points! And I’m pretty sure they used our laughs over the punchlines of different jokes!

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Some non-work-related stuff!

We’ve been working incredibly hard recently, pulling in some all-nighters for a couple of our jobs, but instead of going on about that, I’m going to blog about some non-work stuff I’ve done over the last few weeks!

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Most recently, this weekend I’ve been down in Bristol visiting Ali, and Helen also came down so we could have a bit of a mini uni-get-together!

I was originally planning to drive down there on Saturday morning, but I’ve been doing such long hours at work, and on Friday afternoon I was totally knackered after having had just 3 hours sleep in 3 days(!), so at the last minute I booked a train ticket down there instead!

I got into Bristol around lunchtime, and walked the short distance from Temple Meads to Ali’s house.  It’s interesting to see how much the area has changed over the years. When I first visited Ali there back in the 90s, it was a pretty run-down area, but now a lot of it’s been replaced by riverside bars and restaurants, and hotels and posh apartments – and Ali’s estate is right next to it!

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A bit about April

The heading kind of gives away the content of this post!  It’s been a busy couple of weeks, with a weekend in Tamworth, a day at the beach, catching up with old friends, and a fancy dress party!

For Easter, I went down to Tamworth for the weekend, and it was nice to spend time with Brandon and Chloe again.  I was obviously down there a few weeks earlier for their birthday party, so I think they remembered me this time round!!

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I went with mum, Vikky and the twins to the Easter Service at ECC in Lichfield – it was weird going back there since the last time I was there was when I was 18 or 19 – nearly 20 years ago!  We got there pretty early because they were having a buffet breakfast before the service, and Brandon and Chloe managed to get quite a bit of the food down their smart clothes!  I guess that’s quite normal!  I said hello to a few people there who I remembered from when I was there years ago, and also chatted with Dave Bateman’s sister Helen who goes there, and actually works for them as a student worker!

Then on Easter Monday, I was back up north, and a group of us went over to Formby to spend the day at the beach!

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I’m a geek!

Last night I was at a Geek Party at Rob & Jenny Kay’s, where you had to go dressed as something inspired by geek chic! Now it may come as real surprise (since I am a bit of a self-confessed geek) that I was really struggling with a costume for the night, but with a couple of days to go, I suddenly hit on gold!

I decided to go as the ultimate geek – Mr Dave Bateman!

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To make this dream a reality, I wondered about the best way to go about it, even Googling to find out how to make an actual 3d head(!), but finally settled on printing his face onto some card to make an oversized mask, with a couple of eyeholes punched through his actual eyes!

It wasn’t the most comfortable thing to wear for the whole evening if I’m honest, but I really enjoyed how it slightly freaked people out as they talked to me!

When Dave himself finally arrived around 10 o’clock, I think he found it pretty strange to have a bobbing-head version of him staring right back!

And the mask proved so popular that everyone wanted to wear it!

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Check out the full set of photos from the party in my Facebook photo album.

So what else? Well, going back a couple of weekends, I was down in Tamworth for Brandon and Chloe’s 2nd birthday party!

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Two very different parties!

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Me and Brandon.

It’s been a weekend of parties – but there was quite a difference between the two!

Last week was Brandon and Chloe’s first birthday – I can’t believe they’re a year old already! It’s gone so fast, but then at the same time it’s like you can’t remember what it was like before them! I went down to Tamworth on Friday to see them (their actual birthday was the Thursday), and then on the Saturday afternoon, it was time for their party!

It was a new type of party for me really – when the main guests are all under 2 years old! The twins looked really cute – Brandon had a Superman costume, and Chloe had a pink ballet tutu!

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Chloe.

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Merry Christmas!

Today’s blog entry is being brought to you from Bristol! I’m down at Ali’s for the weekend because she had a party last night which I came to… it was kind of to celebrate Christmas, to welcome her two new housemates Kate and Julie, and to be a get-together before she heads off to do some volunteer work in a Christian school in Lebanon in the new year (obviously the situation isn’t the greatest out in the Middle East at the moment, but apparently where she’s supposed to be going is quite a way from Beirut, off in the mountains!)

I got here about 5.30, and because I was a couple of hours early, I had the pleasure of helping to set everything up! We put up 2 gazebos in the garden, and decorated them with fairy lights and genuine Egyptian lanterns! I made a slight effort to look Christmassy… I had planned to wear a Santa hat, but I couldn’t find the one I used to have, so just attached some tinsel to my jeans and shoes!

Helen and Ali.

The only other person I knew here was Helen who was at uni a the same time as me and Ali, and she was here with her boyfriend Pete (boyfriend/girlfriend seem such odd words to use when you’re our age!) and he was a really nice guy. Spent a lot of the night chatting to both of them which was cool, and then they popped in this morning before heading off to Cornwall for a week’s holiday. I’m not jealous that they’ve got a relaxing week ahead of them!!

I’ve been out pretty much every night this week! After the Cannonball night on Tuesday, Wednesday night saw me head up just north of Bolton to watch a DVD with John Cieszynski, and it was a nice chilled out night. We grabbed some chips and just vegged out in front of Mission Impossible III, which I’d seen at the cinema but had kind of forgotten exactly what happened in it!

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Christmas party #2

Last night I went to my second Christmas party in a week! I guess this was probably be the last social event for me for a long while, so I’ve been making the most of these last couple!

Like last year, we had our party along with all of the Manchester United employees, and it was provided by ‘The Christmas Company’ again… the theme this time was ‘Gatecrash The Kremlin’ – so there was quite a bit of Russian music and Cossack dancing going on!

The meal was pretty good, and we didn’t have to pay for our drinks… so the night didn’t cost me anything… which was definitely a bonus (especially since my heating died on Sunday and I’ll be paying to get that fixed this week!)

They had dodgem cars there but I didn’t get to go on them because I couldn’t be bothered queuing(!), as well as a fairground stall where you had to try and hammer a lever to get a rubber frog into a container – though after about 10 failed attempts I gave up!

You can see the party photos here.

Christmas party #1

Leighton and me.

Last night I was at Airplay‘s Christmas party (I’ve done various freelance work for them over the last year) and it was a pretty good night.

They’d invited all of their freelancers along as well as the regular staff, so I knew a few people there, but there were quite a few faces I’d seen around their offices who I spoke to for the first time at the party!

Leighton even came up from Birmingham for it, and everyone seemed to enjoy the night… he was slightly the worse for wear by the end of it! There was a free bar until half midnight, and Dave Walker made the mistake of buying a drink at 12.40am… and ended up buying a single Malibu and Coke for £7.50. He was well hacked off!!

There are a load of photos from the night here.

Got my second Christmas party – the Manchester United one – on Monday evening, and that one should be really good if last year’s is anything to go by.

Christmas Party, plus Dave & Ceri’s Wedding

Well it was the MUTV Christmas Party last night, and for the first time in the years I’ve been there, I actually enjoyed it!

This year, we’d all been invited along to the main Manchester United staff Christmas party, so it took place in a massive marquee in one of Old Trafford’s car parks, which was done out in the theme of Rio (apparently!) We got a four course meal, and then there was a disco, free bar, and a mini fairground! There were loads of people there, and it was a bit weird have Sir Alex Ferguson just 3 tables away from where we were sitting! I took some photos of the night and you can see them here.

Two days earlier and it was Dave and Ceri’s wedding! It took place at Ivy Cottage in Didsbury, and it was packed!

It was a really nice service, and saw a few people I hadn’t seen for a while.

Then we headed up to Bolton for the reception, and because it’s nearly Christmas, the decorations had quite a festive feel, and was all really arty! It was a nice day, and Dave and Ceri obviously were really enjoying it!

You can check out the photos from the day here.

Catching up…

Happy Boxing Day!

Actually, I’m at work at the moment, so it really couldn’t feel less Christmassy! We’ve got a free-to-air weekend in a couple of days, and I’ve got so much to do for it that in the last couple of weeks, I’ve only had Christmas Day off – hopefully I’ll be able to get this Sunday off as well ‘cos I’m feeling a tad tired!

Just looking back at the last entry I made back in October… and the fireplace still looks the same! I’ve had a quote for a builder to complete the work on it, but I have to get someone to remove the gas fire first, so I’ll try and get it all done in a few weeks time. There’s so much I want to do to my house, but finding the time to do stuff is a major problem, as is whether I actually have the skill to do all the jobs that need doing! I’ve bought a DIY book so I can at least have a fighting chance!!

Oh, and the photos from Rhona’s Bollywood Bash back in October are now up on the site… you can see them here.

Anyway, I’d better get back to my work now to at least give me a chance of leaving today before it gets dark!!

Weddings and parties…

Not that much more to report at the moment! I’m settling into the new house pretty well – I’ve smashed out most of the massive fireplace that was in the living room, but stopped short of totally removing it when it wasn’t totally clear whether or not the wall is being supported by the bricks that I was carefully removing! So I now have a really nice looking feature as soon as you walk into the house!

Had a good day at Steve and Claire’s wedding but it was very tiring. I was shooting pretty much solidly from about 12pm until about 10pm! There are some photos that I managed to take when I wasn’t doing the video here! And a few of the shots that I took of the ceremony made it onto the end of Midlands Today the next night which was pretty cool!

Went down to Bin’s housewarming party down in London the other weekend and it was a pretty mad night! It took hours to get down there ‘cos of engineering work on the railways, so I had to do part of the journey by coach. Jon & Eve were there as well, and there were quite a few Sheffield guys who I’ve met at previous parties when I lived in Birmingham.

It was my sister Vikky’s 21st birthday on Tuesday, so I was down in Tamworth for a load of us to go out for a meal. Was quite a whirlwind trip, and drove back up to Manchester the same night – but had to pull in at a few service stations on the way just for a bit of a rest ‘cos I was so tired! It’s my birthday in a couple of weeks but I’m not looking forward to that event at all – the number is getting too big!!

I’m off to Rhona’s party down it Tottenham this weekend. It’s a Bollywood Bash, and she wants people to go in Bollywood costume! I’m kind of thinking I might conveniently forget that bit of it, and go in normal clothes! I think quite a lot of uni guys will be there as well, so that should be good catching up with everyone.

Found a house to buy!

Well, the house situation has moved on a little bit… I made an offer on a house yesterday and it’s been accepted! Scary!!! Actually, the house belongs to Jeb & Nicky (who I know from uni in Birmingham, and they now live up here), so I know the house is in good shape. The only problem I may have is that they haven’t got anywhere to move to yet, so it’s like a kind of mini-chain situation… I’ve got to hope my landlord doesn’t give me my notice too soon, otherwise I may have to find a solution for myself and all my stuff between houses.

The party at Rhona’s was cool – it was a good train journey down, much better than driving… I could just sit back, close my eyes and listen to some CDs!! It was cool catching up with people – Rhona’s off to India on Wednesday I think, and I also met Naomi’s new husband Nick for the first time. It was good seeing Bin again as well – oh have I’ve missed his little chats!!!! ;o) Also, Fiona was there as well, and I’ve not seen her for a long time, so that was good too. There are some photos of the night here.