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So, here is the A-Z of the main points of my last month or so. Pictures for most are to follow!

Cut for stuff that might be triggering! )
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I thought of a new way to update the diary, and a twist on the posting style of Busto aka [livejournal.com profile] thebustocrookes ...

 

… so, instead of a ten point random post, here’s what has happened to me over the last few weeks, in an A-Z format. It incorporates previous postings, and if you like it, I will do one as often as I can! I tried making it transport free, but there are a few posts to fill things up! Don’t forget, you can always see my latest transport pictures at http://pics.suzyscott.com and click on “Last” in the bottom-right hand corner. Tell me how you liked that, and I might manage to make it to 26 posts one day!


A is for Addenbrooke’s Hospital, who have cancelled one of C’s appointments for later in the year now twice, in each case moving further down the calendar. The same department also have ran into problems when I tried to change one of my appointments. I tried to change the date, after our plans for August had changed. So, I called, tried twice, eventually got given someone else’s direct number. I called, and got through on 2nd occasion. With a very “how did you get this number” note in her voice, she promised to call me back. As you’ll see under C, it’s already been overtaken by a request to see a dietician – but, being in Hertfordshire, we have the unique situation of being referred to a consultant at Addenbrooke’s, and a dietician who works around from Lister Hospital

 

B is for Barclays Cycle Hire, as TfL insist we call it. I liked Boris’s comments when it was launched – although these were not included in the press release! He said “I'm so thrilled to be announcing that Barclays Bank, after years of taking extortionate charges from me, is doing an amazing and wonderful thing,” he said. “I think there could not be a better sign of Barclays' commitment to this city, to the environment and to a wonderful means of transport.”

 

C is for Coeliac Disease. I’m slowly getting used to this being the resolution that I have sought for so long, and am getting used to everything involved. We went to a “Newly Diagnosed” event in Stevington, Bedford, on Thursday evening, which was well worth the time. I’ve got a dieticians appointment coming up later this month.

 

D is for Depression. I did get really down a few weeks back, but it’s forgotten, because I’ve been fine since.

 

E is for [livejournal.com profile] elaine4queen. We went into London yesterday (see P entry below). After lunch, we went out to Bethnal Green, meeting up with Elaine for the first time – and of course, her dog Poppet. We talked, and then we went out with dorg on a walk through Hackney City Farm and adjacent parks, before walking along the Regents Canal path to Cambridge Heath. From there, back to hers briefly, before going home – tired but happy. See all Saturday’s pictures here – including one of the Dundee Arms pub! (I did leave my memory card in the computer, thus meaning a few were taken on the cameras internal memory, and the rest on the Blackberry, which have came out well!)

 

F is for funding. Got a letter the other day… you remember I went to Charing Cross for one day last Summer, after waiting months and getting two appointments within days of each other? Well… I wanted to use it to get some follow-up assistance, and screenings, etc. They wanted to see the funding before seeing me – not from me, but from the relevant NHS trust. After all, I’d had the policy documents (obtained via Freedom of Information) that said they would… but these letters, for whatever reason, do not include the discussion. Sometimes I just wish they'd get on with it...!

 

H is for Helpline. Wednesday 30th June was the last day of the current arrangement with the Ormiston Children & Families Trust’s tenure on the helpline – the only one of the original seven from the start on 1st January 2003 – ending. The tender was lost to Partners of Prisoners (POPS) in Manchester… I wasn’t aware that the PFH brand and name cannot be transferred, so, it’s now going to be the Offenders Families Helpline… anyway, we had a fantastic “last Supper” evening, in the adjacent Milton Country Park. We were all given thank-you letters to show appreciation from our own boss, as well as one of the Ormiston directors. I took a few pictures, and you can see those here.

 

I is for iPod. Well, I had an iPod touch, and shortly after the original warranty expired, it started having problems with syncing and charing. Well, it was like the internal circuits had gone. Tried to get this replaced by the bank, under the extended warranty that comes with such. £25 excess seemed not too bad, so I tried taking it into the Apple Store at Cambridge’s Grand Arcade. I say tried, but it was the day after the launch of iPhone 4 (when everyone finds the bugs)… After waiting for 20 minutes to see someone, I explained what was wrong. He cut over me three times, trying to second-guess the problem (which doesn’t do much for my confidence!) So, I was then told to book an appointment… from the TV screens, the next one was another 3hours 20mins away, all to book a repair. Decided against waiting, and we stopped in a 2nd hand store in Cambridge, buying a replacement (non-Touch) for little more than the excess, and a lot less than brand new. Well, it didn’t work, and we were about to take it back, when C got it to work on the MacMini... Apple have gone down in my estimation, certainly in their UK Retail business.

 

N is for National Express. I did have a run-in with a 787 driver on Wednesday after work. He took offence that I tried to pay for a £13.90 fare… with two tenners. I had no more change, I took that straight out the cashpoint. I’d planned to be home earlier, but I was working on some BSOG stuff. Anyway, we'll see what happens.

 

P is for Pride. As you will see from E above, we went into London yesterday, Saturday. This was the occasion of London Pride 2010, and we helped to set up the LLGS stall. Did a few hours there, then we went for lunch… then see under E for the rest of the day! . (I did leave my memory card in the computer, thus meaning a few were taken on the cameras internal memory, and the rest on the Blackberry, which have came out well!)
 

S is for syrups. After finding some Monin coffee syrups on holiday, bought a mixed case load via Udal Supplies… Well recommended, and all gluten free!

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Tuesday 23rd March was a day out on an Explorer! Taking Richmond's market day Service 23 from Royston to Hitchin, driver was excited as it was the 2nd ticket he'd sold that week! From there, Stagecoach Bedford Service M2 to Bedford, then the same back to Hitchin, Arriva 97 to Letchworth, and Centrebus 91 to Royston. See all the pictures here.

A few notables - bought several items in Hitchin Market, mostly card and a largeish craft items store box (flat packed!) Beford Borough Council's timetable book has been reissued from Februrary in a slightly revisevised style - new front, and upright A5 pages. Around the same time, Central Beds reissued their Biggleswade guide in current style. Speaking of books, there is a new bookstore in Letchworth, called Buy The Book - wasn't that the bookstore in Ellen's sitcom?

Today, Wednesday 24th March was at home, working. One interesting site, Stagecoach Cambridge brought down some timetables in their publicity van...! In the past they've stuck them in the post.

Tomorrow, who knows? Have plans, but see how I feel.
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On the evening of Friday 19th March, we went into London to see The Vagina Monologues, at The New Players Theatre (opposite Heaven nightclub off Villiers Street in the railway arches) which was a benefit performance for V-Day. Believe it or not, it was the first time I'd seen this very enjoyable, but sometimes moving, production.

 

On Saturday 20th March, went out for a day of shopping and more! We left the house, first stopping at The Factory Shop in Royston, mostly looking for a new handbag or two. Found, then down the A10 to Ware. After stopping at a new shop on me, Magika's Kitchen (deli that sells a variety of American foodstuffs alongside the usuals!), we proceeded via Hertfordshire Display (stationery shop – only spent a few quid this time!) before treating us both to lunch at The Navigator. We then went back to he car via Greggs and back to Magika's, to get some not-sold-in-the-UK-normally A&W root beer and peanut butter M&M's. Will go back there – like lots of shops, you could easily spend a fortune in there!

 

We then proceeded to Hertford, parked the car, and went out via the Bus Station (loo stop) and some of the market stalls. As the rain started to lash heavy, it was almost time for my hair appointment that I'd booked at Saks. As you will remember, I went there in October 2009 for a rather different hair style, and it's worked well. With this in mind, and the fact that C coloured it earlier in the week, I felt it did not need a restyle, but instead had it back to the same length it was when it was done 6 months ago, a couple of inches, and keep it easy to maintain. Joanne (the woman who did me last time) did well. We then left Hertford via a few things at Tesco, before heading for home.

A few pictures of me, and a few bus shots, can be seen here.

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Friday 5th March was a day working at Helpline. There is a slight glimmer of hope in a meeting being held on Monday 15th to discuss plans, but beyond that, no-one yet knows what will happen, or how, with regards the transfer of the service. Back home in the afternoon, bought a few things in Cambridge to make dinner, and then prepared for Saturday. I took a few pictures in Cambridge, and you can see them here.

Saturday 6th March was the 2010 Million Womens Rise – and Switchboard had a presence in Trafalgar Square! So, we went into London, had breakfat at Camino (near Kings Cross) before continuing. Lots of fun, although cold and a bit tired towards the end! We then continued to a Spanish resturant C liked the sound of in Portobello Road, so we went out west, but (as we went in spec) we didn't realise they were closed for a private party! So, back to town on a 23 bus, until we spotted Star Of Bombay on Westbourne Grove. Good food, although I was a little tired and didn't properly enjoy it. Cab back to Kings Cross via Edgware Road and Camden Town, before a ride back to Hertford North, for a rail replacement bus back to Royston. You can see the pictures that I took here - a mix of rally/march pics and some bus stuff!

Sunday 7th March was a day to catch up and relax!

Monday 8th March was mostly working at home for Woottens, and lots of work done on the Tiger Line page on Facebook, plus promoting the service changes from 19th April. Happy International Womens Day all!

 


 

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I've been extremly busy with many things over the last 12 days since my previous LJ post.

Wednesday 17th February was quiet at home.

Thursday 18th February was an afternoon out. Caroline had the afternoon off work, for an evening social with LLGS Womens Group. So, we travelled into London, dropped off a package for Malc, before continuing to the West End to get some new jeans at Evans for me (as well as some shoes!), partially following Tesco no longer stocking the sizes that they used to (except online). From there, we had dinner at Pizza Express, before continuing to Elephant & Castle by taxi (a gap in the 148's in lashing rain!). While the rain deterred some, we had coffee before browsing an exhibition "Another Side Of The Rainbow", placed in the shopping centre for LGBT History Month. We then continued by Tube to Angel, before going for a couple in The Castle (pub in Islington), back to Kings Cross, then home by train.

Friday 19th February was in Cambridge, doing a day on the PFH, before back home via The Grafton.

Saturday 20th February, first of all, was subject to railway engineering work between Hitchin and Stevenage, so I decided to avoid this by getting C to drop me off at Whittlesford Parkway, taking the National Express East Anglia Cambridge – London Liverpool Street line. Bonus – a new route for me! On the outward journey, I took the train to Tottenham Hale, before changing there onto the Victoria tube line. I was heading to a building near Victoria, for an away day organised by the Womens Group of LLGS. It wasn't work, it wasn't a social, but a mix of both. Additionally, I am now one of the four co-ordinators (below the two co-chairs) of the group, voted in on the day. From there, a couple in an adjacent pub, before I took bus 11 home from Westminster to Liverpool Street, changing there for a train to Whittlesford Parkway.

Sunday 21st February was a day at home.

Monday 22nd February was an essential day out. However, a couple of snags before I got the chance to get out the door! Snow had fallen, quite a bit of it, which naturally needed attention. Secondly, the weekend railway engineering work on the First Capital Connect Great Northern line had over-ran, so my plan of getting an early morning train to Stevenage turned into a train to Hitchin, then a coach belonging to Hamilton's of Uxbridge to Stevenage railway station. The coach was nice enough, but naturally extended the journey time somewhat, before joining slow traffic on the M1, and (minimal) roadworks through Coreys Mill to Stevenage. From there, the journey plan started to slip. I had intended to change there to the 635/634 uno bus to Hemel Hempstead fast, but no. Took Enviro 3550 on the Arriva SB8 to the Bus Station, had breakfast before going for 3562 on the 301. We started losing more time, and were told to turn short at St Albans, instead of continuing to Hemel. However, it got worse before it got better. The virtually new bus was struggling in the snow, up and down hills, and with other slow moving traffic. We were 41 minutes late at Welwyn Garden City bus station, 69 minutes late at Hatfield railway station, but by then the roads were starting to improve, and less hills to negotiate, so we ended up 62 minutes late at St Albans. The first bus that was taking me close to my plan was a 321 to Watford, so piled on Mercedes Citaro 3562 for a good run to Watford Town Centre. From there, early lunch (!!!) before continuing on Tiger A12 WTN of Woottens/Tiger Line on the T2 to Hemel via Cassiobury Estate and Kings Langley, Arriva Dart 3500 on the 550 back to Watford Junction via Nash Mils and Cassio Campus, Arriva green Solo 2492 on the W30 to Watford town centre, then Woottens/Tiger Line A15 WTN on the T1 back to Hemel via Cassiobury and KL again, before taking uno Scania 352 fast back to Stevenage via the M10, Hatfield and A1[M] on the 634, which continues as a 635 to Stevenage railway station. Train back was also delayed, but only by around 20 minutes. The one day where I had to go out... anyway, you can see the pictures here.

Tuesday 23rd and Wednesday 24th February at home.

Thursday 25th February was an evening out working at Switchboard. So, a quiet day in, before travelling into London against-the-peak-flow and having a few hours on the phones before coming home. Made the last train before the engineering work rendered everything turning back (from both directions) at Hitchin.

Friday 26th February I felt a little tired and under-the-weather, so stayed in.

Saturday 27th February was a day out and about, with shopping. Feeling a little better (but very tired at the end), we went from home to Stevenage via the A10 and A602 for lunch at Toby, before stopping for some items of clothing on special at Sainsbury's. continuing back up the A1, A505 and then onto the A10 north as far as Shepreth, picking our way through Haslingfield to Barton. Couldn't find any shoes suitable in a wide-ranging store, but we were planning to go into Cambridge retail park anyway. Found a few things in Evans (but less than purchased in Sainsbury's) before back home via Staples. 100 miles done in the car in the day, and tired but happy at the end!

Sunday 28th February is a quiet day, catching up. It is also our 35 month anniversary today (another reason for going out y'day!) We always celebrate it somehow, but now we are at the 35 month mark of our relationship, 31st March sees three years, or 36 months, together. We'll see what happens that day!

Additionally, on my last post, I made a closing reference to some extra good news. With a bit of luck, I'll be able to tell all this coming week.

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I had a part-of-the-afternoon shift on Switchboard, and wanted to attend a meeting in the evening. So, left Royston mid-morning and headed for London. I intended on a little travel before, and after arriving in London, took a 59 bus heading south to Waterloo.

After browsing two bookstores and walking through the railway station, I headed down the drain! For those who did not get the suggestion via Facebook, it's a nickname for the Waterloo & City tube line. From Waterloo, all stations to Bank via Bank, the next station is Bank – you get the idea. I wasn't going above ground at Bank though, merely using it to change to the Central Line tube, heading to Liverpool Street.

When I got to Liverpool Street, I was a bit ahead of schedule/ I'd planned to be arriving by 1320, but arrived about 20-30 minutes in advance. From here, quick drink and sit down before continuing to St Pancras station on the 214 – again to kill a bit of time, before getting the same bus back again to work.

After work, had some time to kill before Caroline was due to arrive in London, so took the 205 bus through to Marylebone, before getting the same back to Kings Cross.

While waiting for Caroline to arrive, I checked my email via my mobile phone, and got some news with regards to the tender for provision of the Prisoners Families Helpline – the contract has been lost. More on this is in this separate posting.

After Caroline arrived, we went for a bite to eat, before continuing onto Gays The Word bookstore, for the monthly TransLondon meeting. This month's event was a presentation and talk from [livejournal.com profile] the_local_echo , with assistance from [livejournal.com profile] auntysarah. The en-massed standing crowd were duly impressed by the content, as well as Sylvia's delivery.

As ever, it's over to a rather packed pub over the road. We stayed for one, before leaving to walk around to Woburn Place, for a 59 or 91 bus back to Kings Cross. The latter arrived, and we went for the 2215 Kings Lynn train home to Royston.

So, my full list of travels was -

First Capital Connect train Royston – London Kings Cross

Arriva London South bus DW68 59 Kings Cross at Camden Town Hall – Waterloo, Waterloo Road

Waterloo & City Line tube train Waterloo – Bank

Central Line tube train Bank – Liverpool Street

Metroline bus DLD703 214 Liverpool Street – St Pancras, St Pancras Road

Metroline bus DLD130 214 St Pancras, Midland Road – Islington

East London bus 15118 205 Islington – Marylebone

East London bus 15121 205 Marylebone – Kings Cross

walk to Gays The Word

Metroline bus TE914 91 Woburn Place – Kings Cross

First Capital Connect train London Kings Cross – Royston

Only the three pictures from yesterday (left the card in the laptop!) but those will follow in time, as I can't transfer them easily onto the card.

Today, more gremlins! I've been browsing the Stagecoach Fife service changes (more about those in a separate post), and the printer doesn't seem to respond. I've only just clicked that this machine was still set up for the colour machine we sold last year, even though I installed the drivers the other day. Never mind, now sorted!

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On Tuesday 28th, we went out to Stevenage, initially to return my defective mobile phone to the o2 store, for repair. “Not paying attention” award perhaps, as despite having my name and address printed on the original receipt, she my name on the repair computer as Miss God! From there, back via lunch at Toby Carvery, before returning home.

On Wednesday 29th, we had a quiet day in. See what we’re doing, going out day about where possible? 

On Wednesday 30th, we both went to London. It was my first (listening) shift with my personal trainer at LLGS. We both travelled into Kings Cross by train, where I went to work (First Volvo VNL2323 on the 476), and C went off to the Apple Store, in the west end. I seem to be doing well, and have taken calls already. After work, we travelled from Islington by East London Scania 15121 on the 205 to Paddington (further First Great Western timetables - see review of the book here). The person behind the counter had never sold more than one in a shot, so had to go and find some more! They had to go through the till one at a time, as they are numbered etc. Anyway, after that, we were going to stop at Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland, but C decided against it (it was raining off and on, and she was getting tired), so we continued onto Victoria on London Central bendibus MAL42 on the 436. From there, I posted a few things, including the forms back to the OU, before we had an early dinner at Pizza Express - club vouchers FTW! As seems to happen quite often, we arrived when it was almost empty, but it went to people queuing up at the door to get in, as we left! From there, back to Victoria, then Kings Cross by equally bendi MA51 on the 73, then back home. When we got home, a package of three T-shirts from Little Ms Tees had arrived – an army green Cooler Than Shane, a black My Ex-Girlfriends etc., and a light blue Chapstick Lesbian. If you don’t get the latter, it comes from a certain song!

This brings me up to today – Thursday 31st December 2009, Hogmanay, New Year’s Eve, or simply the last day of year. Happy New Year for 2010, and enjoy whatever you get up to tonight, wherever you are.

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So, it started with Friday. Caroline stayed to work from home, and I was out to Milton via Cambridge, for an afternoon on the (Prisoners Families) Helpline. This was made more difficult by several rather large gaps in service on the citi2 bus! Before leaving central Cambridge, did manage a snap of one of the new Whippet Volvo/Plaxton buses, intended for the Guided Busway. (There is a metal support on the left, although the sun was glaring straight on, so missing it would have meant full-on sun!)

I came home, and a few things had arrived (several boxes within boxes from Staples, and more), but the items C had ordered from Morgan (including a netbook intended for my Christmas) had still not arrived. What is it with our run of bad luck with some online and phone shopping? So, we eventually agreed to go out on Saturday afternoon, and we’d have a look around Central London. I did warn Caroline in advance that there were two protests scheduled for central London, a rather large crane closing New Oxford Street, as well as the Very Important Pedestrians day in London’s west end, where all buses are diverted away from Oxford Street and Regent Street.

As the day of the assessment at (London Lesbian & Gay) Switchboard started an hour later than the last four weeks (1200 not 1100) I decided to leave home earlier, and do a little bit of travelling along the other end of the 205 route – not a long-standing one, but one of the new routes introduced (to replace the top half of the SL1/SL2 accessible circular) when congestion charging started. When I go for a bus from Kings Cross or back again, there is the choice of the 30, 73, 205, 214 and 476, but for some reason 205’s always show up – except when they were subjected to industrial action. Anyway, after breakfast, from Kings Cross to Paddington for a few photographs before purchasing the new First Great Western timetable book, which is highly recommended – more on timetable books etc. later) then to Marylebone then to Euston then to Angel for lunch, before starting work. We had a “dress rehearsal” before going for the assessment, and we all passed! So we live to fight another day, and will return the following week at the same time, for our formal induction.

So, from this, back into Kings Cross, and I was meeting C off the train. We walked through the new northern tube Ticket Hall at Kings Cross St Pancras, before continuing by tube to the west end the long way! (We went via the Northern Line to Bank and then the Central Line – I was intending to change at Euston then go via the Northern Line, Charing Cross branch, but went to the wrong platforms!) then onto Tottenham Court Road. Having looked at a few shops, we stopped at Micro Anvika where C purchased my Christmas gift (a small netbook laptop pc, alongside a new Mac power supply for her MacBookPro and a few other bits and pieces!). So, after that, the closest eating place was Burger King, before heading for the tube. However, crowd control was being used at TCR station (remember several buses were diverted away, and passengers were being pointed to the tube instead, as well as the rest!). By a quick look at the monitors and the crowd in the ticket hall, I estimated a 1-2 hour wait before we could get something, so we bailed out to First Out for a coffee instead.

I was getting tired, so after finding a cashpoint, we took a taxi back to Kings Cross, as we had to call it a day around 1915. We were going for the 1945 Kings Lynn train (non-stop to Royston) but the train coming in was delayed, so we went for the 1952 Cambridge semi-fast train instead, for sake of getting something. We got home soon after, only four minutes late into Royston, despite the rain.

It’s nice to feel wanted, in so many ways. You can see all the pictures from Friday & Saturday here.
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...my Lizzy The Lezzy book has just turned up - munch recommended ;-)

Moggies

Nov. 13th, 2009 08:03 pm
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Well, after a journey out to Hitchin (for Papa John’s pizza – and better than the expected 40%, we ended up with not one, but two (for the price of one) rather big pizza’s, that barely fitted on my lap in the car passenger seat!) and home, but while I was waiting for C to pick me up, I was flicking through vids on The Onion. Now, one of which I’ve grabbed this screenshot from – look at the ticker along the bottom (or on the video at 0:09). Well, we did!

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How Chinese men searching for “village of hot lesbians” broke the Internet in Sweden

By joop on October 9, 2009

It all started when a news agency Xinhua reported (made up) the existence of a city in the northern Swedish woods with 25,000 inhabitants, all hot women living together to satisfy their Scandinavian sexual desires. The city, called Chako Paul was founded in 1820 by a rich widow and is guarded by two blonde guards that will strike men down that try to enter the city of Nordic lesbian love.

Sadly, as you would probably expect, the city doesn’t exist. But the Chinese, being so “inquisitive” have crippled Swedish ISP’s with searches for “Chako Paul”. According toValleywag, “Chinese men have “swamped… Swedish tourism bodies” with such burning questions in recent days, millions of them. EDIT: News is that now the Japanese are curious about the Swedish Lesbians too.

The myth, created by the Chinese media reached Sweden has left the local tourist office of Ulmeå reporting to the register that they are fairly certain that no such city excised in Sweden, based on the fact that that a city like that would be the biggest city in all of northern Sweden!

It seems that no Swedish entrepreneur has set up a website to accommodate these Chinese men on a search for the ‘lost women of Chako Paul’. If you are into web development… Time to buy Chakopaul.com and run some ads!

EDIT: Shanghaiist.com dug around and translated the Chinese article as follows:

“In Sweden, there is a place that is respectful of women’s love, but with a rule that men cannot enter. This is Chako Paul City. The town holds around 25,000 women, all from around Europe. If men transgress into the forbidden city, they will be beaten half to death. The citizens of Chako Paul are mostly engaged in the forest industry, because of such many of the women wear thick belts full of woodworking equipment. Some go into nearby cities to work and return to Chako Paul by night. Chako Paul’s tourism industry is increasingly prosperous, with hotels and restaurants everywhere that cater specifically to women around the world.”

Furthermore, Shanghaiist mentions that Harbin News posted up a story of a Chinese girl studying in Sweden, being lured into lesbian temptations of Chako Paul. Spoiler alert: in the end, she get’s back with her Swedish boyfriend again.

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Yesterday was a day out with a bit of everything. After hearing that there was new stock at the booksale we frequent in Cambridge, drove there first, although there was nothing for us this time. From there, it was back down the A10, but not home, and onto the A505 towards Stevenage. (C is starting to get a taste for lunch/dinner at Toby!)

From there, stopped at the adjacent Tesco - no C5 (aka 9"x6") envelopes but did find a new kettle that we needed. The other one has a habit of turning itself back on, and it was bought from Woolworths in the last month, so warranty swapping is not going to be an option!), before continuing to a small village called Woolmer Green. It’s just south of Knebworth, and I passed through foe the first tie in ages on the 300/301 service last Monday. However, I spotted a chocolate factory that I’d not seen before. Advanced Googling later showed it was Lessiters, and their factory shop was open all week, including Saturdays. We left after just over £20 of purchases, including a cup of chocolate and hazelnut bits for the forthcoming journey, rest for later.

So, that done, back in the car, and drove to Hatfield, where we took the train (one-day all inclusive super off peak travelcard, with usual 34% railcard and 20-25% extra promotional weekend discount, meant travel from this point to London, plus unlimited in London, just £8.25 each, versus the usual £15 or so!).

We took the train into London, bus to Tottenham Court Road/Centrepoint, before stopping at Morgans (new copyholder for me, less than £4, and slightly better than the Staples ones that seem to break when the curtain blows, plus two new leather iPhone/iPod Touch cases for £2.99 each). From there, Caroline wanted a stop for drinks, and we wanted to touch on the British Museum, although we wouldn’t have time to do the whole day there this time. So, we stopped there for drinks and a quick snack, before leaving to return another time. We then continued down to the Charing Cross Road bookstores (purchased a copy of TubeWhizzard at Foyles), before returning to St Giles High Street for an early dinner at First Out. The building is now the last one in the street, before the vast gap which has been demolished to make way for Crossrail.

Tube back via Holburn to Kings Cross, onto a Peterborough stopping train (faster than those ending at Welywn or Stevenage) back to the car at Hatfield. From there, back to Royston (stopping at another Tesco on the way!) before arriving home. We enjoyed a variety of different things, and you can see all the pictures here.
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Well, it’s been a fairly busy time of it, and I’ve had to be Mystic Suzy, again. Before I explain what happened on Sunday past, I’d like to bring you up to speed on a couple of other things.

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!)



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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.
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(Other services provided can be found via this link)
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Needless to say, I’m rather happy!

Now, preparing for Saturday’s Anglia Bus Forum tour!




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September 2010

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