Sunday, January 27, 2008

The long, long road

This is my 250th post! Wowzers! Yay me!

I start my new job tomorrow and I am a little apprehensive. I did the journey run for the first time on Friday morning and took a lil look around my new 'patch'. Despite it being a little bit more 'inner city' than where I've been used to working, there is definitely an insular village feel to the area. In fact I been told by someone who lives around there that it is now known as Hackney Village.

This past month I've not been able to go out as my cash flow is lower than I've ever known it. I've not one penny in my bank (I lie really - I actually have 17 pennies!), my credit card is totally maxed out, so no leaning on it as I have been in recent months. I've actually squeaked through so far this month by spending my Christmas and birthday money, but even that's all gone now! I'm gonna have to go bowl in hand to somebody....

Also in both good and bad news, giving up my job has meant giving up my car which is good because I wouldn't even be able to put petrol in the bugger right now, also having no car helps to keep me 'hermit-fied' and conserve money over the next 6 months whilst I build a pipeline in my new job which will hopefully translate into an improved pay packet come June. The downside of having no car means I'm now 'hermit-fied'!! (with no money to boot!). The internet and my PS3 are likely to become my new best friends.

the space my car used to go in

I recently bought 2 Hedkandi albums seeing as I've now gotta do all my raving indoors; Hedkandi - The Mix:2008 (I've got Axwell's, I Found You, on constant repeat (choonage!)) then when I need the chill-out room and some mellow vibes I slap on Hedkandi - Kandi Lounge.


Last night I was out for my and fellow colleague Neil's leaving drink. He arranged it all so I can't really claim it to be mine, its just that any leaving drink I would of arranged, would of been on the same night and featured the same people. We went for dinner in the fish restaurant 'Ark' in South Woodford. I had a tasty bit of salmon. We finished of the night in Switch bar, formerly Jets. I'd never been either before but Switch is defiantly worth going to again. I lost my wallet last night and had to walk home (no money) but luckily I had left in someone car and I have it back now. I was worried for a bit there and couldn't sleep soundly.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The end of an era...

3 weeks ago I quit my job....

...and today was my very last day with my current employer. Although, it didn't blooming feel like my last day. The phone still rang just as much, the problems still spewing out of the earpiece with their everyday regularity. Seriously you would not believe the amount of ways buying a property can go, and does go wrong. The slogan 'Same shit, different day' really does apply in my job. Most folks will move twice, maybe 3 times in their lives, so every problem they encounter during a sale becomes very real and a mini disaster as the experience is either new to them or long forgotten since the last time. However, with me selling 8 properties a month on average, and with the gestation period for an agreed sale being 3-4 months, it can mean that I could be problem-solving for some 30 odd transactions at varying stages, all with vendors and purchasers with little or no experience in the conveyancing process but seem to feel they know more than me just because its their property that's involved. All whilst I'm trying to sell my next 8 properties!! Being an estate agent is more like being a counselor!

It was also with a very heavy heart that I had to say 'goodbye' to my car. And I'm not sad because I no longer have a car and will have to take public transport, but because I got attached to my little car. My little Corsa that I'd had since new last March. I'm gonna miss the little tike!

I start my new job on Monday, and its more of the same! I'll be working for a much smaller company, but in a more upmarket area so I will sell less, but with property prices being higher, I can make more per unit. Put it this way, moneywise, 1 sale in my new office is equivalent to 7 sales in my old office!!

So 'goodbye' and 'thanks' to the five years with my old company and 'hello' to my new job and new challenges.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Birthday, Birthday

As has become standard in the last few years I combined my birthday celebration efforts with my, slightly better looking baby sister, as her birthday falls 2 days before mine. I know I probably said this on my blog last year but its always worth saying; my birthday is part of what is a modern day Holy Trinity. In the Bible you have the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but now you have Christmas Day (Jesus' birthday (allegedly)), New Years Day (the year's birthday)and capping it all off, my birthday (naturally the most important of the 3!)

Some months ago Sarah had told me that she didn't want to do anything special for her birthday, a quiet drink with a few friend would suit her: and at the time I wanted to go to School Disco which has moved from Hammersmith to Kentish Town (I will still wanna go too!), but after Paris and Christmas wiped out my finances I had to scale my ideas back. At which point Sarah wanted now to make something of her birthday and set about organizing a night out.

In fact Sarah got fed up with the planning, as every planners nightmare kicked in, trying to please everyone, and eventually dumped than plans on my lap the day we were going out! I table an idea which became our night out. Start off in the George in Wanstead then onto O'Neils in Leytonstone. That move also drew Greg (Pimp Daddy Blanc) out for the night whom I hadn't seen in ages and ages.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

2k7 to 2k8 (aka NYE)

Now that all is said and done I can come clean on how much I spend on my New Years Eve ticket; £111.50 (including p+p and booking fee!). I did miss out on the £40 tickets by virtue of wanting as much money left available for the Paris trip. Who knew the NYE tickets would sell out so fast! Nevertheless, it was worth the money; Hedkandi, in the Indigo down at the O2 Arena. It was a bit of a no-brainer when Melissa came up with the suggestion early November. The Hedkandi Ibiza weekender we went on earlier in the year was my single most enjoyable moment and any way to relive those 2 1/2 days would get my vote.

Sadly Dani missed out on the tickets too but either, she didn't have pockets as deep as mine, or, she wasn't as dumb as me (delete as necessary), and Gemma wanted to spend the night just with her boyfriend. The rest of the bunch made it though and for this adventure Cat came along too.

Dumb ole me, left my camera at home that night. I thought it a wise move seeing as I intended to get good and drunk and didn't fancy minding a £250 camera, plus I'd just taken delivery of my new phone; Sony Erricson K850i, a 5 megapixel camera phone. I thought that would do a good enough job for the occasion. Boy was I wrong. The bloody thing is rubbish in night situations and New Years Eve celebrations happen at night. D'oh!

The night started off in the Val, then moved onto the Dome. The Indigo was not what I was expecting, a basic theatre hall design, not the open hall I was expecting, with tiered upper level and seatless stalls area, which was the dancefloor for the night. Our first mission upon getting there was getting a drink. The mission of the night! Each visit to the bar cost at least 30 minutes. I was actually 1am before I'd got my first drink! The tunes were banging though! Only one tune sucked and that was that Faithless rubbish!

Light shows, indoor fireworks, dancers; Hedkandi is all about the performance of the night and I sorely missed my camera to capture the experience. Oh well there is always next year!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Christmas with Squish

Now I know I said this once before in an earlier post but I'll say it again, 'Christmas not only sucks, it blows too.' Over commercialized and full of fakeness! I guess I'm the only one, but I usually eat less over the festive season, not more. I'm not a big fan of the Christmas menu and can never wait to tuck back into my usual foods.

Now you might say, 'Boo! Bah humbug, you Grinch!', but you'd be wrong, because I love the giving part. I love knowing that I've got someone something that is needed and wanted. Plus I aways treat myself to a present, and this year it was my.... PLAYSTATION 3. Yeah baby!

As usual all my Christmas presents where bought just days before Christmas Day out of my December pay packet, and it was a successful shopping trip, gathering all the presents (bar mine) in one day!

My new nephew Tai, decided that he wanted to spend his 1st Christmas at home opening all his presents so went visiting on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day me and my Dad went round my brother's house for drinks and present opening. His partner's immediate family had made the trip too as had now become tradition. The rest of the day was spent getting to grips with my Playstation, now more of an entertainment system than a games console; what with a 40GB hard drive capable of storing any media I like, photos, music (burned off my CDs), movies etc. CD, DVD, and Blueray playback, and an internet browser (which obviously means downloadable possibilities). It was a good few hours before I actually popped in a game!

My next day out of the house was after Boxing Day when I went shopping with my lil sis, Sarah as she sought out an outfit for NYE and a new phone. Friday afternoon I had to go into work, only for a few hours. My next day out after that was on New Years Eve where I met up with Dan (Dan H not Dan B who came to Paris) and Gregg. We went to the Turner Prize Retrospective and then had lunch in Covent Garden at a pizza restaurant with a twist; toppings influenced by world cuisine. I had a crispy duck topping!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Squish's Birthday

Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday to me.
Happy Birthday dear Squishman!
Happy Birthday to me!

As usual I took the day off today. I consider it tantamount to blasphemy to toil on the day I began to exist. In fact, I was thinking today, (and 'no' it didn't hurt); technically we existed from the day of conception. So that means we should celebrate our day of inception. Only problem is we then have to ask our parents on which day they did the deed. Ah...... on second thought, lets just stick to the day we sprung forth!

Also, mucho thanks for all the birthday texts and Facebook messages today. Much love back to you all. Mwah!

New Faces; same good times.

It's a little known fact, but today is my BIRTHDAY. Yep. tha Squishmiester is a year younger! Yay me, but more on that later.

First. I need to continue my mission to catch up......

Saturday 22 December.

Bless Charlene. She tried so hard to arrange a night out with over one month's notice but it still didn't happen. Her plan was for everyone to travel to Bas-Vegas (Basildon Festival Leisure Park), for eats and a night of merriment in Jumpin Jaks. In hindsight it think that plan failed because the 'eats' was to be on the fly rather than a restaurant meal. In the end I think only Charlene and Kirsty ended up there.

The alternative night was no easier to arrange with some going for an early dinner in Romford and others going to the face lifted Faces nightclub; that team being me, Catherine, Melissa, Dani and Jon. It was may first visit to Faces in months and the first since the reopening. I have to say I do not know what they spent the 4 million pounds on exactly, but that ain't stopped the play being popular. It definitely thinks of itself as a West End club.

I drove as I needed all my spare cash for the Xmas presents I was getting the next day, and went to get Catherine. She was not ready, needing have a few drinks before leaving. We met the others in the Val(entine), and it was the first time I had seen Dani since Ibiza. It was good to see her, and her outfit was way cool too!

It was a good night. Although I don't think we found a 'spot' and flitted between both rooms. The girls spotted the celebs that night; James Alexandrou (Eastenders' Martin Fowler) and Jade Goodey.

Ther rest of the photos are Facebooked here

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Survivor. Estate Agent stylee

Two weeks before Christmas I had a bombshell dropped on me at work. A chain of events were put in motion which could of cost me my job! Our Ilford office is a hulking great Georgian building over 3 floors, which at one time was utilised fully, but now 3/4 of the building lies unused; but the company still had to pay rent on the whole thing. A cost which has, from a business sense, ceased to make sense. So on 21st December that office closed its doors and transferred itself wholesale to our Barking office. The situation of 2 office Managers was resolved conveniently by the Barking Manager resigning in November (for an unrelated reason).

The new Barking/Ilford office only needed 2 sales consultants, however; Barking had one (me), and Ilford had 2. So in mid December we 3 were told that one of us would be made redundant, immediately, in a process that would review our last 6 months performance and discard the worse performing consultant. For a whole week we 3 worried whether we would have a job come Christmas, and it was not a nice feeling wishing ill on one your co-workers just so you could keep your job. Ultimately the axe never swung because elsewhere in our region someone took a career sideways step, decreasing the headcount by one and effectively taking the pot off the boil.

I got to keep my job, as did the other two, and now we are all working out of the improved Barking office(/Ilford). Yay!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New year salutations/ Paris, France (days 5, 6)

Well hello to 2008! I hope the transition from one year to the next went well for you all. A quick look at the newspapers would show that not everybody made it through, so lets count our blessings.

I'm about to embark on the final chapter of my France trip, just so I can crack on and tell you about my Crimbo!


The cab was booked to take us to the Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp, a 30 minute drive away. Gregg was irked by two situations; the 1st being that the chapel was only open for two, 2 hour windows a day, meaning he would not have as much time to take in the building as he had planned. He had intended to use sight, touch, hearing and smell to not only look at the building and walk away, but 'bathe' in its design and build and inception, almost to promote an emotional reaction. The 2nd irksome matter was the fact that the cab driver would wait, and take us back to Belfort: but only for one hour. Gregg was so downhearted. His intended all-day exploration had been boiled down to a concise hour.

We all had our hotel breakfast before leaving, and had also to pack all our belongings because check-out time was at 12pm, just about the time we hoped to be back from the chapel. As it was, we did get back in time to fetch our bags and check out, only to place our bags into storage so we could go and explore the fort!

Gregg had ventured out at the crack of dawn to investigate the fort, as his midnight effort had bore little fruit, his camera had died on him. He was sporting a brand new digital SLR camera and every photo was experimental! The fort itself was at the top of a hill and a path meandered its way to the castle structure at the top, circling the building, on its way, at least once. If I remember rightly, our return train to Paris was leaving at 2.30 and at 1.45 we were atop the fort. A mile from the station, with about an hour walk back to the hotel (if we went back the way we came). Thankfully we had noticed a quick way back. Dan still got quite itchy, hating, having to rush around.

We safely boarded the train and were soon being whisked back to Paris. Our apartment owner pal had responded to our missed call from the day before and was more than able to provide us with a place to stay that night. Once but in town we wasted no time dumping off our bags and heading back out. And to the Buddha Bar, an ultra trendy bar/restaurant in the West End for a couple of drinks (at €10 a pop), then back to République, feeling that it had much more to offer than on our first trip there. We found a quaint Italian eatery that had a live jazz band at one end of the small diner. Of course, it was all in French, as was the menu and my beef dish turned out to be smoked beef (raw in my eyes) and I found it unpalatable. Still I ate about half of it. The late nights and early mornings had started to take there toll on me and my head was pounding. Once back in 'our' neck of the woods, Pigalle, I took an early bath (at 1 am!) while Gregg and Dan stayed out at a local bar.

Thursday, our last day!

Breakfast; juice, hot chocolate and a croissant. Next stop, our missed stop from Monday; Ville Savoye. We got a good hour and a half there, but we were still harried out the closing door. We had lunch in Poissy before Paris again, this time 'shopping'. Time to get some goodies for the folks back home. We hit the Champs-Élysées looking for some stuff, Dan lucked out but me and Gregg were still empty handed so we crossed over to Montmartre, the part of town on the lower hill below the Sacré-Cœur. Lots of boutique shops round there, still, time ran out on us and we had to get our bag and head on over to Gard du Nord. It was time for us to come home....