With thanks to everyone who reads this blog and donated money to Cancer Research via my Just Giving page for taking part in the sponsored walk on Sunday November 28th. The original plan was to walk 6.5 miles along the coast from Sunderland to South Shields but due to heavy snow, this was changed. Instead, we walked 24 laps around the Royalty Theatre in Sunderland which made up the 6.5 miles. Community radio station Spark FM broadcast live from the walk and listeners rang in to sponsor us to do various laps in the style of: singing and dancing, holding hands and walking sideways, singing YMCA and one lap was done by two men dressed up as pantomime dames.
The lovely Paul in the Royalty Theatre kitchen kept spirits up with home made leek and potato soup at lunchtime in between laps and almost £5,000 was raised for Cancer Research UK. A further £1,200 was raised by my niece Claire Young for the Teenage Cancer Trust from funds raised at two charity variety nights by the youth theatre at the Royalty Theatre in Sunderland too.
A wonderful day for a wonderful cause, all arranged by my wonderful niece.
This is my niece Claire and her boyfriend Matty in a picture taken earlier this year
before Claire's cancer diagnosis.
If you haven't already sponsored me for the walk I'm doing this coming weekend, please do so here. And if you still need convincing to part with a small amount of cash to help raise funds for Cancer Research UK, read this and dig deep.
That article in The Sunderland Echo (Monday 22 November) also got its own comment column in the paper, below:
After weeks of anticipation, went to the Town and Country at Kentish Town last night. I know it's now called the HMV Forum and not Town and Country but I don't like all this rebranding rubbish and I'm in a bad mood. Why? Because last night at Kentish Town I went to see a band I admire only to walk out at the end bitterly disappointed and giving the gig a rating of Second Worst Gig of my Life.
The band was UB40, a reggae-pop band I've grown up with and loved, but have never seen live before. They were celebrating the 30 year anniversary of their first album Signing Off, relevant now more than ever with half of the public sector workforce looking set to be Signing On at some time over the next few years.
Lead singer Ali Campbell had been replaced by his brother Duncan and that was expected, so no disappointment there. He sang well, looked good. So why am I complaining?
The gig was a lot less than full so the atmosphere was lacking and the sound was appalling. I could go on, so I will. It seemed as if a big chunk of the audience had been given free tickets with their Happy Meals and just wanted a chance to try out their camera phones at their first ever gig. When one young lad put his phone up to record, I knocked his hand down. He might have been recording it for people to enjoy it later on YouTube but it meant I couldn't see.
As for the sound, it just wasn't loud enough. I couldn't feel the music in my heart, in my soul. What I could hear was other people's phone conversations as they rang their mates, I could hear other people talking to each other around me and none of it was ever, not once, drowned out by the music. After the interval, we moved within a metre of the speakers just to get some sound and noise but it didnt help a bit. And when the band struck up 'Red, Red Wine' and the bloke in front of me threw his wet, wet, beer in the air and it landed on my head, well, I was so fed up by then I really didn't care.
As I write this blog post I'm listening to Trojan ska, just to get last night's bad taste out of my head.
And so, as a gig it was crap. But it wasn't the worst gig of my life. That's another blog post for another time.
You know when you're having one of those days when you just can't seem to rise above everything going wrong around you? Well, today's one of those days. It's Thursday and I'm having The Wrong Trousers kind of a day.
First, I get up this morning to have the life sucked out of my world by the beige-ness that is Richard Madeley on the radio - playing the beig-ness that is James Blunt.
Then, I have to ring my bank who I've been with for years and have had great service from only to get Mrs Grumpy Call-Centre Woman. It's the first time ever I've had a bad experience with the bank and I took it rather personally to be honest.
But actually, what's really cheesed me off today is that I received an email from Google News saying they've dropped the Coronation Street Blog from their Google news feed for various reasons - all of them invalid. I've replied, of course, giving examples of how we fill their criteria at every point. Whether it'll do any good, who knows?
But you know, so far it's been a crapola kind of day.
It's been rainy, windy, sleety and cold. It's also been a Monday. All those things added together makes for a very grumpy me.
The weather was so bad that I didn't want to go out of the building at lunchtime but needed to stock up on womanly products (chocolate, hair lacquer, the usual stuff). So with my scarf tightly wrapped and my umbrella up, out I plodded to the shops,
And do you know, even though it was rainy, windy, sleety and cold, it was invigorating too. And I came back to the office with a runny, ruddy red nose.
I'm making a list, I'm checking it twice. I know which of my relations have been naughty or nice but by heavens, I'm in no mood for Christmas just yet.
Mind you, yesterday I bought my first Chrimbo present. And now I feel dirty for succumbing to the commercialism. Bah humbug, etc.
I love Christmas, I just hate the expense, the shopping, the chocolates you don't want, the CDs you won't play, the books you won't read, the socks you'll never wear, the bubble bath that will bring you out in a rash, the money that gets wasted each and every year.
But I love the family time, the food, the cold, snowy days with nothing to do but snuggle up by the fire, eat chocolates, crack nuts and watch old films on TV. I love the tree and all the tinsel bling. I love the two weeks off work. I just hate that it costs so much bleeding money and want to suggest a cap of a tenner on all our family gifts but they'll all call me Scrooge, I just know.