Wednesday, 20 July 2011


Since writing my last blog, I have basically been doing my work experience, taking spontaneous trips to the Trafford Centre and, oh, just attending this thing they call Graduation.

I spent five hours traipsing round the shopping mall with mum to find a graduation/interview outfit. The previous night was devoted to a jaunt to the same place but with Rachel and Damon. I was invited for a 'ride' and the destination was unknown. We decided that, since our random drive seemed to be heading in the direction of Barton Bridge, we would go to Asda for nibbles and chat.

After battling with a self service machine and some reduced 'sugar' doughnuts, we wound up being given them for free and we took them to the doors near Debenhams. I was telling Rachel about my lack of smart clothes so we went on a hunt together. I felt a little mean on Damon but it turned out that he is quite a Gok Wan! Rachel challenged him to find me an outfit (just to occupy him whilst we browsed) and he came up trumps with a purple top which was really rather nice. Or am I just easy to please?

The following day, I went to placement and straight back to the Trafford Centre from Eccles. I bought a teal and turquoise top with button detail and a cowl neck in Debenhams. That was the easy bit. I thought it would be pretty easy to find some smart black pants but Topshop, Marks and Spencers and Next proved the opposite. Size 12 for some bizarre reason was too small but size 14's were huge =S. I think it had something to do with the wrap-around style fastenings restricting material. I chanced Monsoon with their  sale (which they need in there to make anything affordable!) and was amazed to find the right colour and size but not the length. However, when they started at £65 and went down to £25 it made shortening them a little sweeter.

Met Sarah and Rachel in town on Friday although I'm quite proud that I actually managed it. I fumbled for my phone to send the obligatory text 'on bus' and found it nowhere. I routinely searched my bag three times over. It was too late to get off so I waited til we reached Piccadilly, had a scuffle with a payphone and wandered towards Market Street. I checked HMV but no sign so I continued to Deansgate and decided that I would just have to wait at the pub alone til one of them found me. Crossing opposite Tesco Express I was amazed to spot the other Sarah on the way home from work. I knew she'd have Rachel's number but when I managed to catch her up, she told me her phone was dead. Only a minute later, Rachel emerged at the crossing next to the Ramada Hotel and I was saved. During our meal, we discussed a girls night which could yet take place in any number of places including Canal Street or Venue.

Watched Harry Potter on Saturday night at the Trafford Centre (been there too much!). It was really good, I made less book-film comparisons this time because I haven't read The Deathly Hallows since it first came out and couldn't remember much. All I know is that I could never be brave enough to jump on the back on a raving dragon!

We watched the film in 3D mainly because the 2D showings were full. 3D doesn't do a huge amount for me. I was ready to be disappointed when the adverts came on. We were sat to the far left of the theatre and, simultaneously, Mum, Tom and I were rubbing our glasses to see if the fuzzy effect on screen was due to the glasses we brought from home. At the same time, both sides of the cinema were on their feet to try and move to the front central rows. We did the same. Even then, it was still fuzzy and I heard a lady call out something about 'new glasses' but we think it was more of a technical fault because the images suddenly lined up properly.

Yesterday saw my parents and I take our last trip to Edge Hill University for a while. On the way, the clouds were looming and darkening, I asked very nicely for a ray of sun but not much came of it. I contacted both Hayley and Paul who said they were already robed up and waiting for me! We parked behind Eleanor Rathbone (my first year residence) and I caught a glimpse of my old window. My hall was at the back of campus and we had to make our way to performing arts at the front. EHU campus is luckily quite small and it doesn't take long! I met Paul, who looked very smart in his robes and he directed me to the room where I collected my own robes. A lady in the next room dressed them over me. She pinned my (extra small!) cap with clips and it felt pretty sturdy!

When I came back to Paul and our parents, the cameras were out and we posed together and with our mums and dads. I don't think I've ever had my photo taken so many times in one day. Getting up early for a hair cut was definitely worth it.

Our next stop was the Faculty of Education to register for our ceremony. This is where I fleetingly saw Hayley for the first time. I queued with Dan and Paul whilst discussing how much we felt like Harry Potter in our cloaks. We decided the next thing to do was get our professional photos done. I faffed with my hood because it had nothing to hang on to. I'd forgotten that we should have been wearing a buttoned top to secure our hoods. A lady gave me a safety pin and another got all irate about the pins they used to sort the robes showing up on photos. I removed them (even though we couldn't see them!) and my robes fell sideways. The photographer spent five minutes messing with my hat, which made it insecure, and even re-positioned my fingers on the plastic tube with the red ribbon which was supposed to resemble my degree.

To be fair, we had to move around the campus quite a bit but I didn't feel as though I waited very long for anything in particular except perhaps the ceremony itself. We had our seat numbers on the tickets we collected. I had Paul sat directly behind me and Jenny two seats down. Genna couldn't wait to get on the carpet just to make sure she didn't fall on her stiletto heels! We were sat in green lecture seats which are normally partitioned off and faced our parents. We got up in rows and queued down the stairs. When it was the turn of the person in front, they moved to the edge of the red carpet and waited for her degree title to be read out before proceeding towards the Dean and shaking his hand. We were sat in groups depending on our degree tile and I was the first alphabetically to receive a BA (Hons) in Creative Writing with English. This meant that I had my title read before my name. Nobody had their specific classification voiced but I knew some from Facebook! People who followed me in the group simply heard their names. We had to file down the line of tutors and round the back to approach our seats from the opposite side.

It seemed to take a while to get through 3 or 4 pages of names and the entire Faculty of Arts and Sciences but it was worth it in the end. We left the lecture theatre with tutors dressed in robes flanking us and clapping. All that was left to do was have more photos taken. We grouped into our course friends and smiled whilst traditionally throwing our caps. We performed in this manner at different places on the campus but mostly near the lake and outside of Health. My cap almost fell in a bin when I threw it near the LINC and Sarah's landed in a tree!

Not long after, people began to depart and we were hugging people we hoped to know for a long time as well as people it's probable that we won't see again. It's a strange sensation. I decided to end my day where it all began. Hayley and I ambled over to Eleanor Rathbone and posed outside the hall. We had to return our robes to Performing Arts. On the company website, it stated that we could buy our hats for £5, but we were told that it no longer applied - everyone bought theirs last year which left the company short of stock! Shame. We have lots of photos to remember the day by though!

On the way home, we had our tea at a pub in Haydock. I had a tuna steak with boiled potatoes as recommended by Mum. I was very impressed with the ample amount of tartar sauce, along with the tuna obviously....

When I got home, I loaded my graduation photos to Facebook as some people already had. I received a card and graduation figurine from Mum and Dad and a card from Barbara. Tom arrived soon after and he ushered me to get changed for Del's 22nd at 42's!

We met everyone at Moon for a couple of drinks so that Samantha and Amy could stay with us until their last bus. Amy was explaining the car crash she was in the night before, I was obviously concerned but tried not to get too involved with the story when it came to compensation. It's a touchy subject and can be drastically abused as a system.

We headed towards 42's in the rain and you would never know i'd paid £20 for a haircut by the time we got there! Even so, we danced, drank (only a little) and took more photos to add to the album of the day. I'm looking forward to seeing them on the internet in the next few days...!

In other news... Holiday, Friday!

See you in a week(ish)!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Return of The Mac (to 5th Avenue!)

Having only dealt with Apple Mac computers for a short while in high school, when they were multicoloured and that was all that mattered to me, it has been fun using one for knives forks and spoons press. We use iWorks to typeset our chapbooks and perfect bounds. I am getting the hang of it considering that I have used Windows exclusively since about 1999.

I am capable of producing both types of publications and now I'm heading into the PR side of things! This is the kind of work I truly anticipated to benefit my sought after career path. I maintain the website, by adding new releases and I am involved in the pull-marketing strategy, which entails using Facebook, Twitter and a Blog to promote KF&S products. I have also been involved in sourcing leads at institutions to make bulk sales to libraries in America, the United Kingdom and Belgium.

A medium which I think may benefit the Press comes in the recorded format. I like the idea of having electronic copies of the chapbooks available which you could either read as a PDF on iBooks for example, or hear as an audiobook bought from the likes of iTunes or Amazon. It could be a new avenue which poets can choose to submit readings of their works in the attachment of the email which also holds their written submissions. I have seen software which comes equipped with these possibilities but the obvious drawback for smaller businesses is the cost of it.

For my final poetry coursework, I submitted poetry on CDs which had the poems written on the discs themselves as well as recorded. To make my recordings, I simply read into my iPod microphone and emailed the clips to myself to burn to disk. It could be as simple as that. We'll see.

I am also in the process of searching out jobs and considering where else I can undertake voluntary work in the meantime. I hope to lead myself in the direction I need. I have two companies in mind who I would like to contact after doing some research on both. This will probably be my task for the dinner breaks of the next few days.

On a more social note, I have had a pretty busy weekend. On Saturday, I was informally interviewed for a potential store move with work. My ex manager met me and we chatted about hours almost immediately because he has worked with me previously on the department I requested. I doubt that the move would be worth it because they are working on the basis of shorter shifts over more days and I would rather work full days.

My shift started after the talk. It was running as normal until 4pm, when we got a little short staffed, i.e. just me. Luckily, next week I will have a co-worker until 7pm again as I just managed to get everything clean and packed up in time. An hour later, I was getting ready to go out again.

We planned a night out to Manchester over the week. I had decided that it had been too long since everyone went out together and chose our old stomping ground - 5th Avenue. Aside from a 50% increase on cloakroom charges, the prices were still in student regions. A new bar has been installed next to the cloakroom which brings the total to 3, a sound example of money going to good use - less queuing time. The clientele may have altered a little due to the closure of two clubs elsewhere in the city, but I was still ecstatic when I heard the opening bars of Green Days' 'American Idiot' and such like! The end came a little too quickly for me!

Sunday morning and I was extremely tired. Still, we found ourselves visiting Toms' grandparents and on to the Barton Aerodrome. There was an Aviation family fun day where we picnicked next to the airfield and watched the planes landing metres in front of us. This was accompanied by a fairground, air balloon rides, archery, a car boot sale and birds of prey. I am a lover and owls and took the opportunity to have my picture taken with one. I have yet to see the photograph because the battery on the camera died straight after.

It didn't end there, the next stop was the Trafford Centre. Toms' attitude was, more or less, get in to get out. This was mainly down to the fact that we were visiting his place of work, so that his parents could buy a six man tent. Tom reckons this is down to the need for extra storage when camping, I wonder if there are other ideas circulating too. The new Wetherspoons was the last port of call in there. The Mardi-Gras is equipped with many of the dramatic masks to be expected and also, to remind us where we are (just in case), there are street signs behind the bar for Deansgate, Market Street and Old Trafford. My pint of lemonade was much appreciated as we did our best to win on the interactive Pub Quiz. I am yet to prosper though Tom has won before.       

When we finally got back to my home, we were decidedly knackered. The plan had been to go to a BBQ at a friends' house but, due to the fact that it was a Sunday and buses are very awkward (especially when you plan on taking two), we were tired and it was also getting late, we decided against it. Instead, we made our own tea, hopped a lift (via Stretford) to Cadishead and effectively fell asleep. Phew.