Caroline agreed to purchase a new all-in-one laser printer – essentially similar to the existing Brother HL-2035, but with a scanner, fax and copier too – the MFC-7320. There was nothing strictly wrong with the last one, but it does mean that the inkjet fax (that I bought back in early 2002) is now finally replaced, and the scanner (which can only work with ONE short USB cable, and keeps slipping off the top of the PowerMac) can also be replaced. It also has an automatic document feeder. So, after some experimenting with scan file sizes (it comes with a CD for Windows, and another CD for Mac OS X series), I gave it a 64 page Inventory (as they call a fleet list) from RGRTA (a recent FOIL request!) in four sections, and it can scan one then another and another etc. – as well as scanning direct to PDF. In other words, something that might take me an hour or two, now takes a few minutes. While the majority of the service changes for 2009 have happened, the scanner will no doubt come in useful when it comes to digitising, and making short work of stacks of paper! It can also do dry, plain paper copies, that I can take with me without the ink running when taking it out in the rain! It’s not much more to buy the refilled carts for this one over the other one (and you get cheap drums too) – the price difference actually works as a saving, if you take into account the cost of buying inkjet carts for the old fax. Say nothing of the time I tried to refill one with black ink…!
So, after that at the end of the week, and a quiet day on Saturday, we got ready to travel to central London on Sunday morning. After I ended up withdrawing my application from another voluntary org (after some unfortunate narrow-mindedness) in late February, I was looking around for something else to add to what I’m currently doing. So, in March and April, I started looking around, and submitted an application to the London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard in mid-April 2009. Anyway, got called in for an interview (Sunday 6th September, 1415), so we decided that we’d both go to London, and have an afternoon of it.
Usual FCC train into London Kings Cross, Arriva Citaro MA15 on TfL service 73 to the stop before the Angel one-way system, so I can point out to C where I’d be going, then around the corners to have lunch at the nearby Wetherspoons, The Angel. After lunch, I got rather nervous, before walking back to the offices for an interview. It was a set of more-or-less fixed questions, and I must admit, I got very nervous. I don’t know if it was the thoughts of being rejected one more time or not, but something was. Anyway, made my apologies, but the two who were interviewing me were very kind and helpful in that regard. Afterwards, back to C in The Angel, and I thought I had a 50/50 chance.
Caroline finished her drink, and we crossed over for a Metroline TfL 43 bus (in preference to the Northern Line) to London Bridge. Once we figured out the temporary arrangements in regards to resurfacing the pavement and street furniture, two went past, but we did catch one new Enviro400 on this service to London Bridge. We went this way as Caroline wanted to go into Greenwich, and there was no DLR on this day south of Canary Wharf, and no Jubilee Line service at all. So, needless to say, the trains were all going to be busy! We got into London Bridge with a minute to go, so didn’t get that one. By the time we made it to the platform, the next SouthEastern train (10/12 mins later, 4 tph) wasn’t that far off.
We got off in Greenwich, walked up to the one-way system, and onto Greenwich Park. Now, this wasn’t a day for snapping up buses, but I did get rather interested to see this very unusual BMC bus of Travel with Hunny (a recent purchase for their ECC 392, but on the DLR rail replacement) in Greenwich.
Caroline and I then walked around Greenwich Park for a bit, although I was getting a bit tired. We stopped for a bit, before going for a Pizza Express. That seemed to re-energise us, and we went for the Thames Clippers boat service to London Waterloo, via the Thames. I did take a few pics of the pier, the boat, and more, and you can see them all here.
After that, we went via bus 148 to Victoria, quick stop here before returning to Kings Cross on another bendi 73 (albeit with a driver that kept the doors shut on stand, and was rather rude when anyone attempted to get near him!). Anyway, we got to Kings Cross with time to spare for our train back to Royston, tired but happy!
So, Monday was catching up with everything, and Tuesday was out at PFH. A very hot day didn’t help feeling a little tired, but I’ve survived! Today, Wednesday, and I’ve had a phone call from the person who arranged my interview at LLGS. I’m successful… even though I was very nervous, I did get through, and I’m starting training (one of two groups) on Saturday November 7th. Now, that is rather convenient, as the last of the Open University stuff goes in during early October. I’ve got no immediate plans to do another one, instead, hopefully, the training will go well. Of course, the Open Uni is very flexible, meaning I could put it on hold for as long as I liked, before continuing to my next course.
You’re probably wondering… well, the LLGS minimum commitment is two x three-hour shifts a month, which shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s more miles – around 46 miles by bus and train, in contrast with the 19.9 to/from PFH. However, by helpful train stopping patterns (London trains don’t stop at all stations – separate blog post to follow later in the week!), there is not much in it at all. The fast trains are under an hour, and just three stops away by bus, or about a 15 minute walk, would get me to LLGS, based on time from Royston station. When I get the train, and two buses to the PFH, it’s about 70 minutes on a good day. So, there is only a few minutes in it, all going well! It will allow me to build up my knowledge and skills, as well as getting out towards London more often. I intend to do this alongside work for the PFH, and do not intend to stop. As for health, well, it’s a good few weeks between now and starting the training course. This should give me more than enough time to get hold of the doc, and look at adjusting the pills. Now I see what they can do, might be worthwhile adjusting things.
Now, hopefully, it’s all starting to sink into place… but if not, here’s a little about the Switchboard. (Well, I did one for the PFH when I got my acceptance from them, so it’d be rude not to!)
London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard (LLGS) provides an information, support and referral service for lesbians, gay men, bisexual, trans people and anyone who needs to consider issues around their sexuality.
All volunteers identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, so you know that the person answering the telephone will have an understanding of your situation. Our volunteers won't judge you or tell you what to do; they will though provide suitable support, offer appropriate information, and discuss relevant options.
The helpline operates from 10am to 11pm, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. Our helpline number is 020 7837 7324, the recruitment hotline for volunteers is 020 7837 7606, and our text phone number is 020 7689 8501.
Our information website queery.org.uk provides 24 hour access to our database of information and resources relevant to the LGBT community.
(Other services provided can be found via this link)
Needless to say, I’m rather happy!
Now, preparing for Saturday’s Anglia Bus Forum tour!