suzyscottdotcom: (Roary&Me)

When I did the last one of these, I did not intend to make this into a monthly personal blog post, but then again, I’ve been busy. Also, the State of the Suzy posts were meant to be every month – who knows…?

 

A is for Anniversary. Yesterday was our 3 Years 4 Months anniversary. We didn’t do anything special (see under C) but we had a little celebratory meal inside the day before, in addition to the events under C.

 

B is for Busy. Yes, been busy again.

 

C is for Civil Partnership. I was at a friend’s, which was my first, yesterday. Malc and Ray got hitched in the Hotel Russell. A handful of random photo shots here, but suffice to say, we enjoyed the day.


D is for Driving Licence.
Well, I got the full “clean bill of health” from the HD Clinic earlier this year, so I decided I would apply for a driving licence. I’ve never had one before, and I did know that one day, it would be refused or revoked on medical grounds. Well, it transpires that as my meds sometimes make me sleepy, they aren’t even giving me a provisional. (They even sent me £50 application fee back, which came in handy the week before payday!)  So, Plan B was to apply for one of these travel permits (“bus pass” as they are otherwise known), or ENCTS (English National Concessionary Travel Scheme). Bear in mind that I’ve now been refused a driving licence, I now qualify, so nothing to lose! I took the application down to the council offices in Letchworth a week past Friday (22nd July), and arrived in the post yesterday (31st July)! So, yes, I now get free travel, across most of England, off-peak (or all day in London & Herts). As you can probably imagine, this may well save me some money! Before anyone reminds me that this is subsidised by the taxpayer, my income is taxed too, so I am still contributing substantially towards the cost. I knew I’d be refused a driving licence one day, the HD would see to that. However, it was a bit of a surprise, but Plan B was a good one! (Plan C was to appeal Plan B, then Plan D was to appeal Plan A). Interestingly, driving licence applications give you six months to appeal in England or Wales, or 21 days in Scotland. Why the difference?


F is for feelings. Again, doing very well.

 

G is for Girlfriend. Caroline is now working in Stevenage, following the relocation of her work, earlier this week.

 

H is for Hospital, which was under A last time (Addenbrooke’s). Well, I’ve had the dietician appointment, fine; some good points included a kilo and a half less since my referral letter! I am still waiting for the call back re the other appointment from the Gastroenterology department, so my Doctor is now chasing.

 

R is for Randomness. Now, Dougie (thebustocrookes) does an interesting thread called #randomchocolatetuesday where he takes a random chocolate, photographs it, then eats it – the posts are a lot better than this brief recap. So, if I had to do one Random thing, what should it be, and when? In previous work, when I didn’t work Fridays, I had my own personal policy of “try something new Friday” – back in the days before this blog! So, what should mine be? Transport related, GF food related, Health related, Love related, Clothing related, Shopping related, Coffee related? Thoughts would be welcome…

 

S is for Shopping. End of month means a few new things, as ever. However, I mention this as I’ve got a new wardrobe – well, got some more clothing, ordered online. MY account was clear, and it’s around this time of year that I need some stuff for both seasons. Some stuff I’d not had on in a long time… C seems to like the way the slinky vests go around my chest!

 

T is for Tigers. Well, I will try and keep transport stuff separate from these posts, but Tiger Line/Woottens are my main employer, so there may be the odd sighting or report here! In my post earlier today, I explain how things are going, with a picture of one of the repainted buses. Monday 9th August is the target date, and I’ve just got the resetting of the Wayfarer (ticket machines), setting up the electronic blinds (the traditional blinds for the new Tigers have arrived, and been fitted) and the last bit of route learning, and the launch. Duties are being issued to drivers this week, and all going well, we’re ready to roll on 9th August 2010. You can see a set of pictures here, which includes some “mid-way through” shots.

 

 

On top of all that, there are some other projects that I’m doing, behind the scenes.

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Since my last diary entry, lots has happened in June. Some work for each of my posts – the last month working locally on Helpline, the AGM of BABUS (which had a post-meeting talk by Mr Grant Palmer), some Switchboard work over the coming days and weeks, as well as work for Woottens and Tiger Line. You should be able to hear the first news of some of the work I’ve been doing soon… keep watching!

 

Huntingdon’s Disease clinic last week, and following previous hints about my weight, I have now lost half-a-stone in six months, and am feeling better than ever. My reaction time is better, and feeling good about myself means that I do not have to go back for a further nine months.

 

I had a Open Uni assessment to do, although things have been so hectic here that I was unable to put any concentration into it. I was proposing not to do any more for now, before my recent employment and health endeavours, but that kind of made it certain. Anyway, just thought I should mention it, rather than ignoring it. I may well go back and redo the unit in question in years to come - but for now, enjoying life in two new ways, that i never thought possible at the start of the year!


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Wednesday 3rd February – was a good day until I broke C's glass teapot. The problem was I was putting it down onto the worktop, and inadvertently whacked it into the side of the cooker top. She was on the phone at the time watching, so I couldn't really hide it!

Thursday 4th February – with my BABUS hat on, I was up early for a meeting into Bedford Borough Council's Local Transport Plan 3. A good first step in the compilation of the draft, and BCC were genuinely happy that we had a good turnout of people there. It was also good to put faces to names, even if I didn't get a chance to talk to everyone. So, that went well, except for one thing – my new boots tripped me up several times on the wet outside! My new boots did not have much grip on them, so I ended up slipping several times! (Since then I've got a rather large bruise under the knee, cuts and swelling to hands and fingers, as well as a sore arm and leg!) Travelled by train to Hitchin, Centrebus 80 to Hitchin town centre, Stagecoach in Bedford Mars Service M2 to Bedford (the last time I did the other route, the M1. This is where the “life on mars” quote for Facebook came from!) On the way home, M1 to Hitchin, then as I had plenty time to make my next train, as well as an Intalink Explorer ticket (10p more than a return from Hitchin to Bedford, plus it included the bus between train and bus), I stayed on the 94 through Hitchin Station to Letchworth, where I picked up my train journey to continue back to Royston.


Earlier in the week, I had a request from the editor of one of the local Archant papers, The Wisbech Standard, asking about the forthcoming bus service changes. Apparently they had seen my blog re the forthcoming Fens bus service changes (post 1 and post 2). Initally they wanted to quote from my blog, and I spoke to them on the phone, careful to stick to the facts. (I don't normally approach media in relation to transport, but they approached me!) This main article (not my photos) discusses the changes, with quotes from my posts on the forthcoming Fens service changes. Also interesting was their editorial bit (not my work either) which was highly critical – and I quote from one snippet,
“This newspaper was only alerted to changes by a reader, and our investigations into the affect of the changes proposed by Stagecoach led us on a circuitous route and only thanks to a veteran bus 'blogger' did we finally access the information we needed.” So, if you wonder why I'm popular in Wisbech, now you know! It was interesting to spot even Stagecoach management saying they can see why people would be confused by the website...

Friday 5th February – out to work on Helpline in the morning, but then back home, as I was a bit tired (and sore!) from the previous day!

Saturday 6th February – out to Beefeater at Coreys Mill (Stevenage) for a change. We went to Sainsbury's over the road afterwards, but Caroline was unusually tired. She had a nap for a few hours once we got home. As well as food, C got a new (cheap) white teapot, and I picked up a few new T-shirts, and trousers and jeans - still to try those on!

Sunday 7th February – having a quiet day. Caroline has tried her new teapot that we got in Sainsbury's – just a cheap one, but it pours better than the glass one!

 

I have uploaded some pictures from Thursday and Friday, and you can see them via the links shown.

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OK, so I’ve been running around a little this week, but I was exceptionally tired on Friday and Saturday. I had feelings before of hoping and getting out of the slump, but unfortunately not.

Highlights of the week…
* Getting 82% on TMA02 on Open Uni course M150. This was especially good, as the evening of the deadline saw a number of problems, including me inadvertently destroying the USB drive with the work on it, after I raised my knee into the edge of Caroline’s Mac PowerBook. Then, losing the pictures and formatting from within the document… anyway, as can be seen, a good recovery was made!
* Some good and bad moments. Lack of energy and pain is affecting my mood, as well as other issues. I’ve been trying not to get too badly upset.
* Appointment confirmed with the GIC in west London in little over four weeks time. It did look like it was going to be in the same week as my next genetics appointment, but the latter has been brought forward at my request (she said that they would if they had a cancellation). Thankfully not the same week, but also, it’s the same week at Caroline’s two appointments in the same morning at Addenbrooke’s, the cut-off date for the second CMA for T175, the BABUS AGM, as well as Fathers Day, which I have a gift to parcel up and send off in due course.
* Friday, oh dear. After getting the letter re the GIC appointment, was about ready to go out for the train to Cambridge. No, someone was on the track at London Kings Cross, so everything on the way out was at a standstill. So, I went for the bus… had to get cash, did so, managed to make it around, and it was a unexpected surprise, Stagecoach Trident 17078 on the 26! Took that into Cambridge, then onto work. After work, on the way home, my shoes managed to split at the top (canvas summer type that C somehow didn’t like after all…) and as a result, it came off my foot in the middle of Cambridge Emmanuel Street, with just a few minutes to go before the bus back to Royston. So, limped around to Drummer Street with one shoe on…
* Saturday, almost equal fun. After getting a forwarded election communication that Scottish Labour sent to my old address, asking locals not to vote SNP (not long after they’ve taken control of the City Council), I wondered what chance a Scottish Nationalist would stand if up for election in North Hertfordshire… not me, but just the chances of… anyway, we went out to Cambridge to the Lucky Star buffet followed by the cinema next door, C wanted to watch Angels And Demons, which she had also been reading. More shoe problems… mind you, following the previous day’s incident, purchase of a book on the history of footwear was an inspired purchase (perhaps) at the booksale earlier – along with a large Spanish dictionary, with attached USB drive. We’ll see.
* About to make lunch for the both of us – it is our 26 month anniversary today.
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Looking back on the last seven days, it’s been a busy week. OK, so I lost my phone, and that added a little bit more work to it.

To add to the items since my last diary post, I made my 1000th post on my LiveJournal, got the first draft of my new book arrived for proofing, been out to Cambridge and work a few times, done CMA41 (Computer Marked Assessment 41 – the 1st one) for T175, and I’ve got TMA02 (Tutor Marked Assessment) to have a look through in the next few days.

Further to last Saturday’s developments, I’ve got the plans in place now for the new look BABUS website – an initial one-page design seemed favourable, so it will be a few pages similar to the previous one, plus a Bulletin Board to add once it goes live. (I’m hoping the domain transfers in the coming week). We’ve had the Sky engineer turn up, and they managed to fit it all first time (unlike when they had to get Special Heights Team in for my flat in Dundee). I’ve been keeping busy, having good times. As well as doing a copy of my book, I did Caroline and myself a printed copy of the first two years, and it’s been interesting to see how far I’ve came – and we’ve came – in that time.

Now, plans for the next week and a bit mean I might be quiet, but I will be around. Somewhere. Like today, and I went out briefly to catch up with the new bus in town – but came back soon after dropping off at the post office. You see, it’s been a busy week, and it’s been just nice to relax with Caroline.
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Further to my last post alluding to a busy couple of days coming ahead, it’s happened. You see, it’s been quite a notable weekend.

Friday, and I went to Cambridge then onto Milton for work. Busy, as expected, and I offered to stay a little later to clear up the day’s administration. Having said that, one call stuck out. Not because of it being anything notable (and I can’t mention the specifics obviously), but because of what happened after it was done – the caller phoned back. To thank me for the suggestion, which resolved both of her problems. I’m not letting all this praise go to my head, but it’s maybe something new to me. I mentioned before that where I’ve worked in the past, management have passed on the complaints, but never the compliments. Oh, and no slip-ups (I didn’t fall over), but there was one problem with the train from Cambridge (the train comes from London express, that splits into two at Cambridge, one for Kings Lynn, and one goes back stopper to Kings Cross) that held me up on the way home for about ten minutes. Never mind, C was quite happy to wait for me, and we went for muchies afterwards!

So, after a long day at work, stopping for pizza, I’d barely had time to digest the days mail and web happenings, but I had to be up and out very early on Saturday morning. Out for the 0743ish train to Hitchin, before taking whichever bus that came first (in the end it was a 700 to Stevenage) into Hitchin town centre. I’d planned to get the 0840, but after arriving at Hitchin, St Mary’s Square at 0808, thought I might be able to run through to Bancroft for the 0810 – but no, never mind. Time for a quick wakeup snack before getting the M1 to Bedford, Stagecoach “Mars” Service M1, to Bedford, and Dart 34827.


There was a reason for the trip to Bedford, at early on Saturday morning. I’d been invited to a Executive Committee Meeting of the Bedford Area Bus Users Society (BABUS). I’m currently catching up with joining a number of local groups across the south and beyond, and this was one that I’d found out about via the link on the Stagecoach in Bedford local website, two years ago, when I was using the X5 every Friday from MK Coachway to Cambridge, to spend the weekend with Caroline. Anyway, I digress. This was the group that I mentioned had asked me in with a view to asking me to consider assisting with their website and bulletin board. The previous person who did the site has not been able to look after it any longer, and told the group some time ago, so the need has been somewhat urgent. After arriving at Bedford bus station, followed the directions (misread one, but got back in plenty of time!) to the Friends Meeting House.

This was a meeting of an extraordinary nature, largely as a result of my presence. Additionally, further related discussion was of the manifesto (something else that they want to go on the web), and issues with Service X5 (predominantly the stop at Parkside in Cambridge and the lack of local signage/facilities). One other person was also invited in on a similar basis to this, and we discussed a number of issues with the current service – although it was agreed the new coaches were very good, and a huge improvement on the earlier coaches (some being former Perth National Express vehicles, so they were on their last legs). There were a number of other issues re the X5 (in advance of their meeting with Stagecoach on such matters), including problems with the WiFi, and also the requirement for wheelchair users to book 48 hours in advance. I wondered why Stagecoach Scotland only require half of that time… we shall see.

I digress again. The main reason that they were there was to try and ask me to possibly look at the website and bulletin board. The chairman is one of my members, and I’d recognised the secretary from being sat in front of me earlier on the M1, I wondered when he was reading a Bus Users UK magazine, but decided not to say anything at the point. After a brief discussion, I agreed, and turned the tables around to ask what THEY wanted their website to do, and what I could do for them. The sec followed this up with “all our Christmas’s have turned up at once”. A discussion followed, and they decided to co-opt myself (and one other person) onto the Committee – in my case, with special interest and responsibilities for the website.

After all that came to an end, back to Central Bedford. Met Caroline off the Park & Ride - after a little while of not being in the right places - not helped by me leaving my phone somewhere! I defiantly had it on the M1 as I remember getting a message from Caroline to say that she had received her Gender Recognition Certificate, so I did want to congratulate her. Anyway, until I get my mobile back, no point in ringing or texting it!

We’d sat down at a Wetherspoon’s pub, but the kitchen had just been closed due to a pipe burst, so we ended up in an independent café/bar place the other side of the arcade behind the bus station. Food was nice, the place itself was okay. One more stop I think (when I spotted the former VT99 coach now repainted, and in use on the X5 – someone asked me for that the day after I was in MK last), and then back to River Street for Dart 33183 back to the Park & Ride.


After resting yesterday (a day without slip-ups, and one near thing - so very good, despite my knee still hurting quite often, and not being able to put any weight on it), caught up with paying things due (two domain renewals, hosting, etc.) plus a few other bits and pieces bought. This morning, via iTunes, purchased the National Rail app for my iPod Touch (for some reason, the free one is no longer usable, because Kizoom’s data licence has expired, just in time for National Rail to sell their own at £4.99 a time!), as well as Kelly Clarkson’s latest album. Her most recent song is stuck in my head, quite a lot of the time. However, once again for her, the lyrics matter – my life would suck, without my someone special! I also purchased one other track from quite a while ago, that I’ve heard a lot through the Magic Radio Player online at the moment – you may wonder why I’m after Neil Diamond, but have a look at the lyrics…

Where it began, I can't begin to know when
But then I know it's growing strong
Oh, wasn't the spring, whooo
And spring became the summer
Who'd believe you'd come along

Hands, touching hands, reaching out
Touching me, touching you
Oh, sweet Caroline
Good times never seem so good
I've been inclined to believe it never would

And now I, I look at the night, whooo
And it don't seem so lonely
We fill it up with only two, oh
And when I hurt
Hurting runs off my shoulder
How can I hurt when holding you

Oh, one, touching one, reaching out
Touching me, touching you
Oh, sweet Caroline
Good times never seem so good
Oh I've been inclined to believe it never would

Ohhh, sweet Caroline, good times never seem so good

She’s my Sweet Caroline, and I love her so much, for making all this in my life possible! Yes, My Life Would Suck Without You!

You can see the couple of pictures from Friday, and all the pics from Saturday, online now.

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