Essentially a pub crawl around the Black Country, by bus. The trip was organised by someone from work and most of the people there were either employees or friends of employees. The bus was half an hour late because they had to double back to avoid a low bridge. This meant we only had 10 minutes at the first pub (The Forge in Halesowen) but we were allowed to take our drinks onto the bus as long as we poured them into a plastic 'glass' first.
It was very difficult drinking on the bus, mainly due to the bumpiness of the ride. Despite that, the on board bar seemed to do good business. The next pub was the Dry Dock, in Dudley. Notable for having a bar made out of an old canal boat. The third pub was the Blue Brick, then last of all The Pie Factory in Tipton.
It was a good night out and a good way of seeing other parts of the midlands.
Update: A number of people have contacted me asking for details about booking the beer bus. Their website is www.blackcountrytours.co.uk.
Yesterday my Doctor told me I should rest for 'anywhere between a few hours and a few days'. I decided I would wait until I woke up naturally this morning and see if I felt well enough to go to work.
I always feel guilty about staying off work if I'm able to be up and about but yesterday I was too tired and work would have made me feel worse. This morning I was feeling a bit better so after a late breakfast consisting of yesterdays uneaten bacon sandwiches dunked in soup, I wandered off to the station to catch the train to work.
It doesn't hurt as much when I eat now but I think it's wise to stick to soft foods at the moment so lunch was more bread and soup, along with some cherry tomatoes and a hard boiled egg. As long as I remember to take my penicillin an hour before eating, I should be ok.
This morning I remembered to take the lift up to the 10th floor, rather than going to the old place on the 5th. Thankfully everything of mine had moved up there ahead of time and all I had to do was unpack my stuff and re-arrange everything on the desk (including my computer ornaments - a beany baby squirrel called Harry, a kinder surprise toy medieval style knight/soldier eating a chicken, and a bloodshot eye which lights up when hit, which came from the Wetherspoons Halloween beer festival. The eye started off white but the combination of sunlight and flourescent tubes has yellowed it a bit).
Sadly I no longer have a window seat so the view isn't as good as before. Also, there's a cabinet to my right which is about 1/2 inch higher than the desk surface so is positioned perfectly to do serious elbow damage. I'll have to watch out for that.
Over the weekend our office is moving from it's current location on the 5th floor, up to the 10th floor right at the top of the building. We had to pack everything in crates and label things - including chairs, phones, computers, bins and any drawer units which we moving.
While checking though one of the drawer units to see what could be thrown out, I picked up a folder and found a wide selection of condiment sachets lurking underneath (as well as salt, pepper, ketchup, salad cream etc. there was tea, coffee, hot chocolate). It was a bit whiffy because a vinegar had leaked sometime in the past. Nobody had any idea how long they had been there or who had put them there. The only thing I could find with a date was a sachet of hot chocolate which expired in March 2004.
I was sitting at my desk in work when I noticed a puff of smoke out of the window and a second later heard a bang. It turned out that a firework or rocket had been fired from the roof into the car park, narrowly missing my boss's car!
We bought a box of these sometime in December but forgot about them until recently when I found a bag full of assorted sweets, cakes and biscuits when I was tidying up the back room.
We tried one last night and were surprised by how hot and spicy they actually were - we didn't realise they actually had chilli extract in them.
The sweets went out of date yesterday but as they are individually wrapped they should still be ok. I took some to work to share amongst my colleagues. The responses ranged from 'not bad' to 'Jesus Christ!' with the sweet being hastily spat into a nearby bin!
I had only just got to work, I had only just made a cup of tea, I had only just put my cheese sandwich in the toaster when the fire alarm went off. I popped the sandwich out of the toaster and trudged down the stairs to join everyone in a 20-odd minute stand outside in the cold.
We were finally allowed back in when it was discovered that there was no fire - it was caused by someone burning toast in one of the kitchens on the first floor.
The title should really read I shouldn't have any cake. After the foodfest which is Christmas, Emma and I decided that we should probably start to eat a bit more healthily (at least once the cakes and chocolates have been finished off). At the moment we are in some kind of compromise situation where we have healthy meals but are still eating the cakes etc. which were left over from Christmas.
This would all be ok if it wasn't for the free cakes which turn up occasionally in work. So far this week this has happened 3 times (2 birthdays and 1 leaving). 3 free cakes in a 4 day week isn't bad going, but hopefully this won't continue for long.
My last day in work this year. I'm really looking forward to the week and a bit holiday. We were supposed to finish work at lunchtime tomorrow but my travel card expires today and I can't be bothered paying to come to work for half a day so I booked all of tomorrow off as a holiday.
I've had more trouble than usual doing my Christmas shopping this year, probably because by the time I've walked to the shops from work I only have about 40 minutes shopping time. It's made casual browsing a bit hard and as a result it's taken me much longer to do it this year - I've still got one present to buy tonight!
Ah well, that's nearly it for another year. The run up to Christmas has been a bit more stressful this year - partly shopping problems, partly the car dying. Hopefully the holiday itself will be a bit more relaxing.
Every friday in work, at around half past 10, the fire alarm is tested. This morning when it went off at 10:28, everyone thought they were simply 2 minutes early and stayed in the office. After about a minute the alarm was still sounding so we decided an office evacuation might be a good idea. At least it wasn't raining.
It turned out to be a problem with the alarm panel (they couldn't get the alarm to switch off) rather than a 'real' incident.
I got into the lift in work this morning and pressed the button for my floor. The button lit up when I pressed it but went off again. I pressed again - same thing happened. I didn't want to press the button for the floor above in case it stopped at both floors, which would annoy the other people in the lift and make me look foolish.
The lift started moving, reached my floor and ignored it completely. Before I could press the button for the next floor, it was past that as well. Thankfully it stopped 2 floors up where I got out and walked down the stairs.
Today, I finally received confirmation that I was now Staff rather than Agency Temp. The changeover actually happened on monday but HR didn't inform me until today.
Advantages: More money, paid holidays.
Disadvantage: Need to give 4 weeks notice if I want to leave.
I got soaked walking from the office to New St station this evening. The rain had been quite heavy for most of the afternoon. Parts of Navigation Street were flooded, the water was starting to flow onto the pavements. Some of the streets were more like rivers.
Recently, a tub of decaf coffee appeared in the kitchen in work. The following day, someone stuck a huge label on the lid announcing it to be 'DECAF'. I imagine it was to avoid a situation like the one below:
All in the space of half an hour this morning:
- I was on train, listening to the Planet Japan podcast. This is an interesting and quirky show about Japanese life and customs, by two Americans who have lived in Japan for a few years. I don't have an iPod or any other mp3 player so I was listening on minidisc.
- The bloke sitting next to me on the train was reading a book by Jeremy Clarkson and was obviously finding it very funny. He would visibly shake with laughter every now and again.
- I arrived in work, to be told that UFOs had been seen flying over Birmingham last night