#oneaday, Day 84, Choose Youth

Today is the Choose Youth lobby of Parliament. Choose Youth is a coalition of over 30 organisations who want to see youth services and youth work preserved in England. I can’t attend due to work commitments, but this is really important. I went to the first Choose Youth event in Birmingham, and it was amazing to hear young people’s stories of how youth work has affected their lives.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has today produced a report showing the extent to which education spending is being cut across the country – and youth services are taking the brunt with an estimated 20% cut – much more in some places. Unite the Union estimates that 1 in 5 youth clubs will close across the country.

So today, please ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 1013 and show the minister that the government must intervene to save youth services – which he has said there is no plan to do.

#oneaday, Day 83, A sense of contentment

Recently I picked up Halo 3: ODST again as I hadn’t finished it. I had been playing it at Legendary difficulty and it was pretty tough. Eventually on about the fifth mission I had to crank the difficulty down – and in doing so lost all my progress.

The gap between legendary and heroic is pretty huge – I breezed through all the first part of the game and barely struggled with the rest I hadn’t got too yet. And so I finally unlocked some good old gamer points. About bloody time too…

#oneaday, Day 81, Spa Review

I promised you dear readers a review of my spa day when I blogged about it here.

Well, it was wonderful. I’ve not been to spas outside of Center Parcs, but there is a whole range of different rooms where you can get hot – we t hot, dry hot, smelly hot – and it feels great.

We also got some nice food – although I’m not sure that Aldo Zilli who has his cafe on site would be happy about the use of the microwave that seemed to be employed that day.

As part of the day, my wife and I got a manicure treatment. Now as I said previously, I’d never had one before – but this too was pleasant. Not perhaps for the technician who must of been in fear for her face – I have very ticklish feet – but it was a bit like getting you hair washed at the hairdressers when they did Indian and Thai shampooing – but for your feet. She also managed to get all the hard skin of my wife’s feet – no mean feat I am assured.

So, men of Britain – don’t be afraid of a little pampering – you might even like it.

#oneaday, Day 78, Customer Service

In the last week I have had to do a couple of things that involved engaging with customer service departments. The first was with my car insurance company, who had sent a renewal quote through. As seems to be the case in the last few years, this had increased massively with no changes to my details or any claims. SO I called them, to see if this was the best they could do, and they promptly knocked some money off – however, a quick visit to some price comparison websites showed I could still do cheaper, which I did.

I then had to phone and cancel the renewal, at which point it seems they were able to knock off even more. Which made it almost (but not quite) as cheap as the new offer – enough of a difference that I would have gone with it to save the hassle of switching. Why do they do it? Surely the current financial situation is such that it would be better to retain customers by offering them the best deal straight away?


The second situation was switching broadband provider. We joined up with BT when we first moved in just over a year ago, and recently discovered that O2 would give us a great deal as we are O2 mobile customers. Such a good deal, that we would still save money even paying a cancellation fee. When I called BT to cancel, they said they would be able to give us a new deal in a months time, when there would be 3 months left on our contract. What appeared to be a very good deal in fact. However, it was not available then and there.

I just don’t understand it – but then if I had my way BT would be renationalised….

#oneaday, Day 77, Last Wedding Gift

Tomorrow my wife and I are making use of our final wedding gift – a voucher for a day spa at Center Parcs which they call AquaSana.

Now I have been to a Center Parcs spa before. It is all very lovely, with big fluffy robes and towels, and several varieties on a  theme – steam rooms, hot rooms, saunas and weird and wonderful showers with different effects i.e. drizzle, rain forest, Manchester etc. WHat I have not had before, and is included in our package, is a pedicure.

Now, my wife tells me I should cut my nails more often, and since we started climbing I have been keeping them trim. However, the idea of someone I have never met spending 50 minutes doing stuff to my toe nails is a bit… weird. I shall resist any kind of polish (if this weather continues sandals my be worn).

I shall let you know how I get on…

#oneaday, Day 74, Hospitals

So today I had an appointment to see a new conultant at a new hospital as I have moved house. I picked the Bristol Royal Infirmary when I was given the choice a few motbhs ago, and it was only in the last few days I realised a few things about my impending visit:

1) I didn’t know where the hospital was.
2) I didn’t know where to park the car
3) I had no idea how much of a factor traffic would be in my journey.

Taking these things into account I read the leaflet they had sent me and set off an hour and a quarter before my appointment to try and park in the Broadmead Centre and use the free shuttle bus. My sat nav seemed to not cope well with this, and after 3 attempts I just followed some signs before finding a car park that would cost me£6.80 for the first hour, followed by one right by the hospital that was full before finding one a few minutes up the road that had both spaces and a reasonable pricing policy.

The BRI is a massive place, but the signage is pretty good, even with buikding works going on. All the staff were friendly and helpful, and I was seen promptly (having been advised there was a delay) and able to make follow up appointments easily and have blood taken without distress or repeated attempts to find a vein.

So, if you do have to go to a hospital, and it’s not an emergency, and you live not to far away, on my experience so far I’d recommend the BRI.

#oneaday, Day 73, Twitter Poem

A while back on Twitter I was trying to get myself up to 300 followers, so I announced that I would write a poem for my 300th follower, who ended up being a local councillor from Peterborough – Darren. I think he was expecting it to be a a bit different, as he sent me a link to his girlfriend’s Facebook page for inspiration. Anyway, here it is.

A Poem for @cllrdarrenfower

I thought it must be love

When Darren started following me

A fine man from Peterborough

He was my hundredth follower – times 3

And I promised him a poem

It wasn’t just a bribe

But a thank you for being 300th

Making me feel good inside.

It’s taken bloomin’ ages

To come up with these lines

His love is not for me though

As I shall now describe.

He follows 3500 people

He’s liberal through and through

His first love is for eleven men, who like to play in blue.

If they hadn’t been promoted, I don’t know what he’d do.

His real love is like a priest – in fact it is a Bishop.

A blonde called Jane who does tricks with bottles – or so it seem son Facebook.

So he asked for his poem to be for her – which was really very sweet

He thinks about you all the time – with every single tweet.



Richard Harris, July 2011