Friday, 27 April 2012

The Awkward Moment In Co-op

I've just got back from the Co-op down the end of my road after picking up a pizza, garlic bread and can of coke for dinner and I go to turn the oven on.


There was no gas. We had run out. I picked up our gas top-up card and went straight back to the Co-op.

I walked in the shop and headed straight for the queue. The lady in front of me went to the next free till and I subsequently stood still and waited.

I then noticed one of the check-out girls waving. I wondered who she was waving it. I did notice that she was waving roughly in my direction.

"Do I know her?" I wondered. I subsequently realised that I didn't because if I did then I'm sure I would have waved back and I certainly wasn't waving.

I pondered if she was waving at a member of staff to open a till or help out. I quickly scanned the area and noticed there were no other people wearing Co-op uniforms.

This was strange. Who was this girl waving at? She continued her waving and suddenly uttered the words that made me feel quite foolish.

"Next please"

She was trying to get my attention as I was next in the queue and she was waiting on the checkout. I blushed feeling quite silly.

I wandered over to the till and silently paid for the gas. Here I was standing next to a lady who clearly thought I was either slightly strange, rude or as high as a kite.

I walked home and put the gas card in the machine and cooked my pizza. Whilst eating I mused that I should always try and avoid that check-out girl again.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Good E-Mail

As I'm in the final year of my university degree, I have to submit what is basically a very large essay called a dissertation. It is 10000 words to be precise, and in my opinion that is 10000 words too many. 

Despite this week being the last of my Easter vacation, I decided to head back to university for most of the week to finish off this very large essay. One reason why I rationed that this was a sensible decision was that I'll be spending at least the next year studying a Masters at my home town university, so spending some of my precious, remaining time at university was wise. 

There was one sticking point though towards this though. My place on the Masters course wasn't guaranteed as I needed a 2:1 grade in my current undergraduate degree. At least, I thought I did. 

Once back in Reading, I got cracking on my dissertation and undertook the tasks that needed to be completed such as finishing off the writing process, editing the words, cutting out the filler and referencing. 

I had sent off an e-mail the previous day to the administrator for the Masters course asking about fees and my offer to study there. 

It was 5PM and I noticed her reply sitting in my inbox waiting to be read. I scanned the text and then noticed some key words that made me oh-so-happy, they were giving me "an unconditional offer".

I couldn't believe it. I think my heart actually stopped for a second. I was whooped in delight which is something that I don't do very often. 

I could suddenly feel the stress leave my body. No matter what my undergraduate degree result, I would be on my Masters course come September to study Journalism. 

Suddenly feeling relaxed, I halted my dissertation work and decided to watch Pointless whilst I went and brought myself a celebratory hot chocolate. 

It is only honest of me to say that life feels so much better and it is so very nice to be able to start planning for the future. 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Trip To Thorpe Park

It is a Thursday morning and I wake up worse for wear. You see, the previous night my friend and I organised a secondary school reunion event down our local pub. The turnout was surprisingly decent and as is the case with meeting people that you haven't seen in a long time, you drink a lot to avoid the awkward sober chat.

It is 8:45AM and I am due to go to Thorpe Park in about fifteen minutes. The last thing that I want to do in my hungover state is sit on roller-coasters all day.

I manage to drag myself out of bed, have a shower and then meet my friend, Alex, where we travel to Phil's house.

We arrive to see that no-one is ready to go. Phil is still trying to print out vouchers whilst his university friend, Sara, is still drinking a cup of tea. I will later learn that Sara is an avid tea fan which is so quintessentially English.

Alex and I try to help Phil print out his vouchers only to be distracted by the oh-so-brilliantly titled book The Rape of Tutankhamun. Phil has always said that this is his dad's book, but I am still convinced that it is his. I've always suspected him of having a fetish for Egyptian Pharaohs.

Whilst Phil and Alex continued to try and print out the vouchers, I joined Sara downstairs with Phil's mum where she regaled us with tales of her former career in the aviation industry. Here's a fun fact that I learnt, there used to be a helicopter service between Heathrow and Gatwick Airport. Don't let people tell you this blog isn't full of interesting facts to share down the pub.

We eventually got ready and set off to Thorpe Park. Midway through the car journey, I decided to check my e-mails.

"Oh my God! Bloc Party have just announced a new tour and tickets are on sale now!" I announced to the entire car.

I set about buying the tickets on my phone and luckily I managed to purchase them. It has been two and a half years since the last Bloc Party gig, so I was allowed to be a bit excited.

We reached Thorpe Park and met up with Phil's other friend from university, the brilliantly named James Brown. Before you start wondering, no it isn't the dead soul singer. He's dead as I just said so it'd be weird if he came back to life and befriended a twenty year old from Kingston-upon-Thames.

We went on as many rides as possible and it turns out that going on roller-coasters is very tiring. It reached 6PM and with Phil's mum due to pick us up at 6:30, we decided that there probably wasn't time to go on the new ride The Swarm due to time constraints.

We vacated the park and waited for the pick up only for Phil's mum to call at 6:30 and say that there had been a crash on the A3 and that she'd be a while.

We waited patiently and entertained ourselves. We played hop-scotch, rock-paper-scissors and had a hopping race and then finally Phil's mum called at 7:30 to say that she hadn't moved any further due to the traffic and that we should make our own way home.

Now any avid reader of this blog will know that Thursday night is quiz night and we only had an hour to make it. We decided that a taxi was the best mode of transport and luckily one drove straight towards us. We asked him the price to Berrylands and he didn't know where the place was. It was hardly like we were asking to be dropped off at the Kuiper Belt. He informed us that he could only drive locally due to the fact he was attending a wedding reception yet he decided to tease us by keeping the car right next to us by jolting forward by an inch every minute. It was quite odd.

We finally found a cab that could take us home and after a £30 journey we made it to the pub in time for the quiz. A heated moment occurred where I made a bet of a kick in the balls over a question which myself and Alex disagreed on.

Overall, I spent around £100 during the day and was as tired as an old lady but I still have yet to receive the kick in the balls so I guess the day was a resounding success.

Friday, 13 April 2012

The Card Shop

It is a Wednesday morning and I am facing a busy day where I plan to buy birthday presents and cards for my twin sisters as it is their birthday in just two days time.

I get a lift into New Malden from my Mum and I then proceed to purchase some headphones, sort out my financial accounts and then buy a sausage roll from Greggs.

I make the wise decision to visit a card shop to purchase birthday cards for my sisters. I spent a good amount of time choosing the most humorous card that I could find. 15 minutes and many cards later, I settled on the two best that I could find.

I went to the till and handed the till lady the cards to be scanned.

"£2.78, please."

Waving my debit card, I said "can I pay on card please?"

"It's a £5 limit, I'm afraid. There's a cash point next door if you want to use that?"

I decided that this was wise. Instead of spending £2.22 on pointless card shop tat, I decided that taking some cash out of the hole in the wall was sensible. It made financial sense.

I exited the shop and dashed to the ATM. As I had to queue, I had time to go through my wallet whilst looking for my debit card. I opened the coin section of my wallet and I realised what a fool I had been. Sitting in my wallet was a few pound coins and a variety of other coins. I had enough to go and buy the cards.

However, I thought about the face that could be lost and the potential for awkwardness if I returned to the store and said to the lady, "I have been a fool, I had the correct change all along and I have wasted both yours and my time".

I decided that in the face of this embarrassing situation and to avoid awkwardness, I would wait it out in the queue for the ATM and take out the smallest amount of cash possible and pay with that.

After a fair few minutes, I had completed my transaction and had a crisp £10 note in my hand. I marched into the shop and re-queued. I think this shows my Britishness, I had actively gone out of my way to queue in a queue that I had just left.

I finally reached the till and gave the lady the money.

"Sorry love, I haven't got any change. Let me serve these customers and then I'll gather together some change".

Oh great. This was becoming ridiculous.

After five more customers, she had the sense to move money over from one till to the other. I breathed a huge sense of relief. She proceeded to give me my change and my goods.

I left the shop in a passive-aggressive fury. My sisters better like their birthday cards from me.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Blog With 30 Facts About Me

It occurred to me last night, whilst laying in bed, that you don't know too much about me. Sure you can see my little profile picture, you can read the description caption whilst I give you little snippets about my life, but surely it'll be more fun for you to read my blog if you knew more about me.

So, here's a chronological list of facts about me ranging the interesting to the bizarre.

1) I live in Kingston-upon-Thames with my parents and two sisters.

2) I go to Reading University where I study Politics and International Relations.

3) I am 6ft 1" tall.

4) I am right-handed.

5) I did A Levels in Business Studies, English Literature and Sociology.

6) I watch a lot of television. My favourite shows are: Eastenders, Doctor Who and Made in Chelsea.

7) Politically, I support the Liberal Democrats... still.

8) I support Fulham FC.

9) My favourite Fulham player is Clint Dempsey.

10) I love music. My favourite bands/artists are: Bloc Party, We Are Scientists, Get People and Marina and the Diamonds.

11) I do love chart music as well. I am quite embarrassed to admit that I love this weeks #1 song, Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen.

12) I am going to study for a Masters degree in Journalism starting in September.

13) I love steak. Hence, I could never be vegetarian.

14) Coca-Cola is the greatest drink ever, in my opinion.

15) I'd love to be a writer in the future. If I could, then it'd be a dream to write Danny Wallace-style books.

16) I played Ultimate Frisbee for about 8 weeks at university. In a surprising turn of events, I found out that it's a really tough sport.

17) My favourite colour is red.

18) My favourite clothing brands are: Hollister, Topman and Superdry. You can call me a douche for that.

19) My favourite film of all time is Hotel Rwanda. I also love Cool Runnings and the Mr Bean movie.

20) I love XFM. It's a great radio station.

21) I think BBC3 is a criminally underrated TV channel.

22) I just spelt underrated wrong and had to correct it. I'm not as clever as I think.

23)  I'd love to go travelling. So far, I've only been to Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Cyprus.

24) I think a pub quiz is the greatest thing ever.

25) I really want to live in Brighton at some point in my life.

26) My mobile phone is an iPhone 4S.

27) I have a really small bedroom. It is literally about the width and length of Peter Crouch.

28) I once broke my arm in a drunken incident. I ended up requiring surgery which was a fun experience.

29) I am going to turn 21 soon. It frightens me how old I am getting.

30) I apparently can't think of any more facts about myself.

Thanks for reading and please follow/subscribe my blog. It really would mean a lot to me.

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Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Most Shocking News Story Ever

I'm writing this blog because of something shocking that I saw in The Sun on Friday.

Basically, a ten year old girl has given birth in Colombia. The girl is part of the Wayuu tribe in the country where they are allowed their own sovereignty so it is hard to really say that you can compare this to the Western world.

However, I find it absolutely shocking. At the age of ten children should be playing with toys, not looking after children of their own.

Sure, it is difficult to speculate on the culture of a tribe in South America when I am a mere middle-class male from the suburbs of London but one would assume that the parents in the tribe would responsibly look after their own children.

There is some humour to find in this story, though it's more tragic than a laugh-out-loud moment. The media in Colombia has narrowed down the list of potential fathers - it is either a 15 year old or a 30 year old.

How could you get such an age gap? Surely there is quite a distinct difference between a 15 year old and a 30 year old. Next they'll be speculating whether it's a woman who is the father...

It's just a shocking story that makes you question the world we live in sometimes.

You can read the story in full here:

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Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Chat With An Elderly Gentleman

It is time for a drink. A well earned drink, I might like to add.

You see, I have been in Reading for the past three days working on my dissertation. I managed to write 7000 words, which I think is a pretty solid effort.

I got the train back home on Wednesday evening and I met a couple of friends in the pub. A nice pint of Thatchers Gold was well deserved and thus I ordered a pint. I savoured every drop and I then went to the bar to order my next pint.

It was at the bar that I spotted something.

It was a card. However, this was not just any card. It was a card with a couple of stamps on and I quickly realised that it was one of those 'buy-5-get-one-free' incentive cards that coffee shops and the like give out to customers.

I picked up the card and observed it closer. It wasn't that fascinating but it was something to occupy my time whilst I stood at the bar waiting to be served by the adequate bar staff.

"Thought this was your lucky day, didn't you?" said an elderly man as he proceeded to take the card. As it turned out it was his card that he was collecting his stamps on in the hope of gaining that free coffee at some point in the near future.

"Oh no, I'm interested as to what it is" I replied in as convincing a manner as possible. However, it appeared like the man had brought my excuse that I had no idea what a couple of stamps on a card could be.

"It's a voucher card that I get stamped every time that I get a coffee and after five, I get a free one". I was fascinated to have learnt that he was only three coffee purchases until his long-awaited free Wetherspoons coffee.

I decided that I needed to win this man's trust. I don't like people thinking that I steal small bits of card with a couple of stamps on. That isn't a good reputation to gain.

"So it's quite a sensible idea then, isn't it?"

"Oh yes, I guess it just encourages you to buy more. However, it's so cheap that it doesn't really matter"

I pondered his point. This was true, Wetherspoons is lauded as being the cheapest pub chain. It was here that I thought of a potentially great conversation we could bond over and maybe look back on when we are best of friends in ten years time.

"Do you ever go to the Berrylands pub? It is much more expensive than here. I reckon they should have this loyalty card idea!"

"Well, you see I live in Wimbledon but I know Berrylands well. Is it the pub by the station?"

"Yes, yes it is!"

"My grandparents used to live in Berrylands so I used to go there a lot. I only really remember going to the outdoor lido. I don't think it exists anymore although there is still one in Ruislip"

The bar lady took my order and swiftly produced my drink. I paid up and said goodbye to my new friend.

I guess that I learnt a lot from this conversation. Elderly gentleman like to travel from Wimbledon to Surbiton for coffee and cheesecake and there is an outdoor lido in Ruislip. It never ceases to amaze me how much you can learn down the pub.