Welcome once again to my weekly ramblings. It has been an up and down sort of week and I am not sure if  have enjoyed this roller coaster or not. Well anyway here is what has happened this week.

On Tuesday I had a perfect start to the day. I left the house on time and got to the station in plenty of time. When I got on the train it wasn’t as crowded as normal and I managed to get a four seater table all to myself. This may seem trivial but when you travel by train as much as I do, getting a four seater all to yourself, even for a short journey is like winning the commuting lottery jackpot. Usually once you are seated you start looking around to see/glare at potential rivals to your small kingdom on the train. Only once the train is moving can I relax and enjoy the peace (except for my iPod) and leisurely gaze out of the window at the passing countryside. As I did this I saw two Roe deer in the countryside which was a nice sight and by the time I got to work I was in a relaxed and good mood. Later on in the week I got a four seater table for a second time. Now once is rare but twice in one week is almost unheard of. My enjoyment did not last long as on Friday night on the journey home the train was packed out so I believe balance has now been restored to the commuting world.

On Wednesday I received a lot of freebies. It started with Starbucks on the morning. Starbucks were launching a campaign where they asked your name. So when your coffee was ready instead of shouting a latte or mocha they would call your name. This is a good idea as it does save on confusion when there are lots of mocha waiting to be collected and no one knows whose is whose. For some people the idea of a coffee shop knowing your name is seen as an infringement on our human rights and why should we give our names. The thing is we have been doing this in Britain for a long time. Shops used to know the regulars by name and orders and we liked that. People complained when big companies came and drove many small business’ out and we lost this personal touch. This is an attempt by an international company to try to bring some of this service back. Personally I don’t mind and my local Starbucks have been doing it for years with me. I admit at first I was unsure but now I like it. At the end of the day we like to be nice to people and we expect that back. This goes someone in trying to bring good old-fashioned values back to society and I welcome it. Anyway I digress, as I was saying I got a free tall latte which was a nice way to start the morning. It did mean though that my regular trip to Starbucks which is usually a quiet experience ended up with me in a massive queue with other people waiting for their free Starbucks. Someone in the queue said “look at all of us cheap skates getting our free coffee”, I nearly pointed out to her that I am a regular and the amount I buy at Starbucks I am entitled to my free coffee. I didn’t though and kept quiet and left with my free latte. When I got to work I received more freebies. This time they cam from the union Unison. They were there trying to recruit new members as well as talking to existing members. I am already a member so I just got some freebies which included pens, post it notes, a mouse mat and a stress Octopus. This is now on my desk alongside the stress penguin, David Tennant, Yoda and my vibrating manatee (this is not rude I assure you). I suppose if you were cynical you would say none of these freebies were actually free. I had to give my name in exchange for my latte and I pay membership fees to Unison so that pays for these so-called freebies. Maybe this is true but at the end of the day whats not to like about a coffee and a stress octopus.

I also made a new acquisition this week. At the start of the year I said was looking for a new hobby and I was thinking about taking up astronomy. Well this week I got a telescope thanks a friend of mine. It is still early days with it and I am slowly getting used to it. It turns out it is more than just putting it up and looking through the eye piece. It involves different lenses and fine adjustments. It is still exciting and hopefully I will get better at it. although I think Brian Cox’s job is safe.

Also this week when I went into Starbucks in Durham I met the boss of Starbucks in the UK. He was in the region visiting stores. For anyone who works has worked in retail you will know of the panic that hits a store when there is the possibility of a visit from a senior boss. The poor staff in Starbucks were really on edge but it all seemed ok. He even came up to me and asked me what coffee I was having and do I visit Starbucks often and what could they do to improve things. As a customer I found this nice as it is good to express your views at a senior level, its almost like meeting coffee royalty (Ok that is going to far). I only had good stuff to say about the Durham store and my local in Darlington. I know the likely hood is he took a blind bit of notice of what I said but at least he asked. Although he didn’t offer to give me a free coffee, never mind.

This week it was a very sad day on Thursday as it was the end of an era. Now I know it is just a TV show but I do like BBC Breakfast with Bill and Sian. They have a great chemistry and are perfect for the job of Breakfast TV presenters. However this week Sian Williams left the show which is now moving to Salford. I thought it was just me who would feel quite sad about this but it turns out that many people obviously felt the same. I knew I would be at work when the show ended but I caught up with what happened online and I have to admit to the odd tear. If you missed it then you can catch it on the BBC website. I suppose I found it sad because it meant things were changing. It is always sad when people leave at work and I suppose this just reminded me of that ,minus the leaving party.

This idea of things changing has been on my mind all week. I mentioned a few weeks ago about being at a crossroads and I suppose I still am although I think I know which route to go now. This has involved me making some changes and making decisions. This is not like me. I wish I could be more adventurous and make instant decisions. Instead I like all the facts and then I spend ages weighing things up. In the film Mamma Mia the character Harry Bright is told he needs to try to be more spontaneous. I suppose I’m like him in more ways than I know (although I am certainly not Colin Firth. If I was then many things would be ok). I need to embrace new ideas and people and more importantly put myself first. I know that the changes I am in the process of making are difficult for me and maybe for others involved but I need to put myself first and start living my life.

Well that is it for another week. I hope you like the new look blog.

Top TV programme of the week : BBC Breakfast

Top song of the week: Alexandra Burke – Elephant

Book I am currently reading: Death Comes To Pemberley by P.D. James

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