Saturday, 25 February 2012

One on the road

As I write this, I'm writing on my phone while sat in Preston train station. Why am I doing this? Well, I'm a bit insane. I was at PCW tonight (Friday 24th) and since I've got a Theatre Day at Leeds Uni tomorrow morning, I couldn't go home. And since there are no trains to Leeds, I'm stranded. It's certainly an experience. There are no people apart from staff and some guys doing repair work. Just me on a bench listening to podcasts. I've got a train at about 3.50 to Manchester, then one to Leeds. If all goes to plan, I can be home by 7am...and then sleep for 2 hours before Theatre. Yaaaaaay!

Anyway, I've had a few very good days. I sent my application off to adrivo Sportpresse for my year abroad on Wednesday afternoon...and within about an hour and a half, I had an interview sorted for Thursday. So even from that, I was pleased to have an interview...that could have been enough for me.

The interview went really well though. They were really impressed with my CV/cover letter and I think seem very keen to take me for a placement. Already, that's fantastic enough for me. But I've got some translations to do with some potential to do a bit of part-time work with them before starting a placement in summer.

Oh, there's a train. Freight train. A lot of empty hollowed carriages attached though. Aaaaand it's gone again. Back to the silence.

Cricket took an improvement too during the week. I think I've finally cracked the problem with my bowling which is useful. It's all about the run up, or so it seems. I was much better than last week, and the accuracy seems to be getting there. I picked up a few wickets. Yay! Still plenty of work needed with the bat though.

So all in all, things have been good. Theatre might destroy me during the day. We'll see. I won't be getting much sleep. I'm not sleeping in the station, but I'll (hopefully) get a bit on the train.

That's all from me. My hand's gone numb from cold. I assume I'll be posting this. I can't see why not.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Lumps and bruises will make me a man

Maybe this is turning into a fortnightly blog. Maybe that's just how long it takes for me to realise that I've not updated it and I ought to scribble something else down. I'm not overly sure...but it has been two weeks since the last entry, and I would be willing to place a bet that the next entry will be in two weeks. Then again, maybe not. The next week looks busy so I'll have stuff to write about. As a spoiler, look out for a potentially amusing story about me falling asleep in Preston or Manchester train station and shenanigans occurring.

What's good people? Are we enjoying February? The weather's certainly picked up after a week or two of rather chilly weather and snow. It worked out quite nicely though. It snowed on Saturday and by the time uni rolled around on Monday, most of the roads and pavements were clear and relatively ice-free to allow a trip-free journey to uni. Sadly, I didn't get to enjoy the snow as I spent the time working. But I did watch the snow falling out of the window.

I'll start off where I finished last time around. I was writing about how I had the first nets session with a new team coming up, and of course, that's now been and gone (in fact, we've had two sessions)...and they've been really good productive sessions. I know that I'm not a great cricketer, but I think I've got the potential to be a good player and not be a disgrace to any team who has me in their side. First of all, the Yorkshire facilities are marvellous. They really are. Secondly, this team are pretty good. Thirdly (am I just making up words now?), I'm slowly feeling some improvement. After getting some advice from a couple of the players regarding both my bowling and batting, I've got a better idea of where I'm going wrong and should hopefully be able to put these words into action. With a bit of luck and plenty of graft from me, I'll become a better player.

I've taken a fair few knocks though...and they hurt. We had nets on Wednesday. It's now Sunday. My thigh still has a cricket ball shaped mark (including a bit of the seam!) and my right leg has a lovely purple patch on it. That one baffled me. It didn't hurt at the time, but when my leg came up with a nice lump on Wednesday night, something wasn't quite right. Still, I'll be back for more punishment on Wednesday. Bring it on!

The German Theatre is ticking along nicely. We're less than four weeks away from show time...and thinking about it, that's a bit scary. It's time to play the music, light the lights and get things started on the Muppet Show Leeds German Theatre Project. Learning lines is fun...and a bit tricky. I realised that having a memory as terrible as mine is probably counter-productive when it comes to trying to learn a script. It's getting there though, thanks in part to some helpful words of wisdom on Twitter (if you read this, thanks Jeremy!) with techniques.

On Thursday, I went and indulged in some pirate metal at The Well with Hessie when we saw Alestorm. I hadn't ever really heard of Alestorm before my sister showed me one of their songs last year, and I thought they were pretty cool. As you'd expect, it's a different style to the norm as it brings the lovely combination of pirate themes and lovely loud music. In short, it was a cracking gig. The support acts were pretty good too which is always good, and included an Australian band called Claim the Throne who were cracking jokes inbetween songs. I don't think I've ever heard a white guy with such a deep and gravel-like voice before!

Just remember, pirates are better than Vikings. And they're certainly better than ninjas.

We did make a slight mistake in not going dressed as pirates though. Quite a few people had done that and there was definitely a hint of regret that we hadn't fully embraced the pirate theme as much as we could have, but it was still a cracking night. Live music at The Well is always something of a guarantee to be fun entertainment.

The Year Abroad application stuff should take a gigantic leap forward this week. Well, it will. I can't afford it not to. Then afterwards, I get to play the waiting game and hope that the lovely people at Adrivo decide they want to give me a job.

There's something strange with the weather recently. It's still a bit chilly, but the sun is still throwing out some impressive heat. When I've been sat at my desk working over the weekend (which has been quite a large portion of the daytime), the sun has been on my back virtually the entire time. That's one of the things I love most about my room: I get sunlight all day and it's...well, it's bloody good.

Once again, the sound of the PA system from Headingley Carnegie is an audio accompaniment to my working day. Leeds Rhino were playing on Friday to become the best in the world, and they did it. Of course they did. They're Leeds flippin' Rhinos. There's something awesome about hearing 20,000 rugby fans cheering and celebrating on a Friday night right outside your bedroom window. Once we come back from the Easter break, the cricket season will burst into life. I'll be spending as much time there as I can, especially since I'll only have until July to do so!

The clock is ticking. It never stops.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Catching up and looking forward

It's been a while since I last wrote a proper blog entry...and since we're now into the second month of the year, I figured it was about time I change that and write something down on here. Maybe it's just me, but it seems crazy that we're already one month into the year and staring down the barrels of February and the joys that it brings. So far, it's cold weather and snow...but that suits me.

Maybe what freaks me out the most is the fact that with each passing week and month, it means that I'm getting gradually closer to heading out into the big wide world of Europe (well, German speaking Europe) for the year abroad. That's a little bit scary, but it's a great type of scary and I'm really looking forward to it. I mean, I've got nothing against the UK or life here at the moment...but I can't help but think that there's something missing from my life at the moment. And taking a year to go away, spend that time in a different country, work and meet some new people might help to give me the kick up the arse I need.

There's an action in life that we're afraid to take. We have to find that action and take it. It's something that came from a podcast I was listening to the other day which, in among all of the amusing discussion and weird conversation, was something that I thought was pretty deep and meaningful. So here's the link to that video, it's a couple of minutes long and it's audio based...I do recommend it as a listen, and then you can always continue reading while you listen!

Life isn't a disaster though. There are some good things going on and the next few weeks are shaping up to be pretty fun. Even then, it's crazy to think that our Easter break is about 6 weeks away. SIX weeks...that's nothing. But in that time, there's so much stuff going on. We've got the German Theatre Project going on at uni which I'm now starting to appreciate and fully get into. I'll admit to being quite sceptical at first since I'm not an actor in any way, shape or form...but now we've got the final edited version of the script and are fully into practice for it, things are going well and I'm starting to actually enjoy it more than I thought I would.

Admittedly, I was asking myself why I'd offered to be involved if my excitement levels for it were barely registering, but now I see why. It's a good laugh, I'm getting a chance to improve my German (at least, in theory I am), and it'll be an excuse to dress up and pretend I'm a late 19th Century man.

There are a few gigs and shows that I've got coming up as well. After a tip off from my sister a few weeks ago, I'm off to see Alestorm in just under two weeks at The Well. I quite like that venue, and the last time I was there was for Fozzy in November, so it'll be fun to get back there and see some live music. The weekend after that, I'm headed to Preston for PCW's Blood, Sweat and Tears show. Once again, that'll be an awesome show. PCW are probably one of the fastest growing wrestling companies in the UK and they've put on some ridiculously good shows so far. As things stand, I see no reason why the show at the end of the month should be any different. Plus it's a chance to hang out with Crawley and Andrew for the night and watch anarchy unfold. The actual venue that's used is a nightclub...and it really works for me.

I'm hoping to get away during the Easter break as well. It may may not. We'll have to wait and see what happens regarding that and where things stand, but it'd definitely be fun. If it doesn't happen, then it should give me more leeway for getting over to Germany in summer for the Grand Prix. I figured that if I want to go to a race, I may as well combine it with spending some time abroad and see some more of Germany. Andrew wants to come with me which will be interesting since his German is near-minimal. I'm not sure how much English is spoken in Baden-W├╝rttemberg, but I suspect it isn't a great amount!

I'll end it with some cricket talk. It's getting closer to cricket season again which is great news for me. I had a first nets session last weekend with Foy which was pretty productive. It felt good to get back into bowling for the first time since last summer, and having a first REAL chance at batting properly was good. I got some good tips and suggestions to help me out, and they'll give me something to build on for future weeks. With a bit of luck, I'll get a few games this season. I might make some runs and if we're really struggling, I might get a chance to bowl and get knocked around the park a bit. I'm going to be continuing pre-season nets in Leeds with a team up here too since I can't be home every weekend. So I have to thank Yorkshire Cricket Club's Twitter feed (@Yorkshireccc) for helping me find a team who will let me come to nets to keep working on the bowling and batting, and maybe even get in some fielding work so I can be sharp for that. The great news about this is that the team have their indoor nets at Yorkshire Cricket School which is just over the road from me, and these are the same nets that many an international star has used. That's a great opportunity, and this team looks REALLY good so I might learn a thing or two!!

Until next time, take care!