Monday, July 30, 2007

I'm so gutted. I lost my phone over the weekend, whilst I was out at a bar in Liverpool. Careless it may have been, but at the time I did not even notice. It was literally, one minute I had it, the next it was gone. That easy. The ever so slightly annoying thing about it is that it has all my friends and family's numbers on it, so I'm now having to retrieve them all, in some way or another. I've sent out a mass message on facebook to try and collect them all again- in the hope that next time they won't disappear on me!

I'm with the Orange network now on a cheap as chips Alcatel phone which my boyfriend bought me for £10. I've been looking at their offers however and they sound so much better than anything 02 have ever offered. Cinema tickets, 2 for the price of 1 on 'Orange Wednesdays', unlimited calls,hundreds of free texts a month depending on how much you top up...amongst the many other things.

The only problem I have now is trying to find everyone's numbers!



Thursday, July 26, 2007

Just a small post to illuminate you all.

I am back home in Widnes now. My day has been spent overturning all my paperwork under my bed and sorting old files with school work in them. A lot of which have gone now for good- and gladly so as they were starting to clutter up my living space and dare I say it, my mind. Nope...I take it from what new age therapists say...debunking your living space can do wonders for the soul. I feel cleaner already :)

...and today I found that I have a lot of money after all, in my savings account. Unbelievably- well into the triple figures now I come to think of it. Which surprised me- more so my parents.

I helped to go food shopping with my Mum this afternoon and also sorted out my registration form- signed and completed the debit card form and then sealed it with a self-addressed and stamped envelope inside...and sent that off.

I also closed down a little account I'd started ten years ago but left from there on in! haha. It only has £11 in it too, but it'll be worth it once the cheque comes in and I can add that to all of my savings.

Anyway, I don't want to say too much, you never know who might be stalking you in this day and age. Especially when it comes to money matters.

Over and out.

P.S: My Mum got back home safe and sound last Saturday night :)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

My mother is stranded in Gloucestershire! Oh the heavens! She went down to visit my brother and my sister in law and their kid for the week...and now she tried to come back, but she got stuck when she had to get off and try to get a bus to get to Birmingham New Street. But all the roads down there are flooded. So now she has to stay in a leisure centre for the night, with loads of other people :( I'm worried- I hope she'll be alright.

Bloody rain- will you ever stop pouring down?! :(

Today has been worrying all round. I was up early, then had to be in for about 8, or 8.15'ish, before I left with Claire the crime correspondent to go and interview the family of those charged with the murder of the taxi driver back in March. I was scared shitless when I got told they were gangsters and they had sent a lot of death threats to the paper when they had found out certain things had been reported on previous occasions. Our job was to go down there and diffuse the situation and try to explain to them that we were only out to print the facts and we wanted to print the defendants' side of the story, although obviously we can't print that until the case is over. So we went down to try and speak to the family...but only the Mother was in and she was saying of how she had to work over 90 hours that week alone because her sons have been in obviously they can't do their job. It felt grim to stand there and hear her talking when you know you have to try and force being friendly and pretend to have an open mind, when you're not sure either way. Oh the dilemma.

After this little incident of talking to one of the accused's Mum, I went back to the office and then went along to a council meeting about the licensing board who wanted to close a pub down in Burnsgreave for being too dangerous to the public...police found drugs, knives and heard a gun being fired nine times! Eeeep. So that went ahead and was closed down by the end.

& then...back to the office for an hour. Lunch. Then all afternoon until 4pm was spent typing up stories and printing them off so that I can produce a portfolio of stories that I've done here, to show that all of my time hasn't been wasted :) Oh and I did get something printed in the paper- in Thursday's edition actually, which I'm pleased about. I'll scan it in once I get home I think :)

Well ...that's the end of my week at my work placement. I've had a good time here, learning a lot of things about how journalists cope under pressure, how to handle and diffuse numerous difficult situations for example. But most of all I've learnt to find my inner balls. I don't know if I'd want to take on a permanent job at The Star, but I see it as an option as I reckon something like that wouldn't be a bad job really. Not at all terrible once you apply the knowledge and the skill to the practical side of reporting, although I reckon it'd take a while to get really good at the profession. As it is a fast paced job and highly sought after.

I'm coming back to Widnes tomorrow. Excited? Just a little. I've missed everyone there so much. Gary especially, it's been so hard being away from him :( I don't like the fact it's been over a week since I last saw him. But, I take solace in the fact that tomorrow, all will be back to normal again and I can resume my summer knowing that I've put the effort into doing work and improving my career- so I can take something beneficial out of this summer and know it's not been a wasted time. But, I just wish I could've taken Gary with me. Nevermind- I will have lots to tell people when I get back. Not that we haven't already spoke about stuff like that over the phone :) haha.

Anyway, over and out.

I'll update sometime soon. Pray that I don't get caught in the floods tomorrow, as I have to get the train back home and I want to get back safe and on time!

Here's hoping my Mum's alright too.

I do worry so.


P.S: The internet at the house here (Uni house) is finally working! At last!!! (after two months of dodginess).

Friday, July 20, 2007

Urgh. Today has been soo dull!
I had a feeling it was going to be when I got into the office and no one came up to me or asked me to do any work with them until about 10am! I went to Crown Court with a reporter called Amy and we went to cover a murder trial. A 14-year-old boy was on trial, (but he didn't appear in court today), for murder and suspected arson. Basically, he set his family home on fire and his brother, aged 15, died in the blaze. Pretty grim stuff to hear about. The boy was breaking down sobbing on the tape interviews and was denying every allegation the police put forward to him, to try and break through his story, which was pretty feeble. We had to listen to that for about an hour. *Sigh*.

I tried to take down as much as possible in shorthand notes. But I was soo tired after this, I just went for some lunch and tried to calm myself/revive myself somewhat.

I went back to the office and tried to write the story up. I think I did a decent enough job on it, once I'd found some background information to flesh it out a little.

I'm going to stop writing now as I feel really exhausted and if I type anymore I might just get frustrated!

Let's just say that today has been a pretty boring day and leave it at that.

Oh, I can't wait for the weekend!


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Third day done and I'm here to report on how it's been.

By no means as exciting as yesterday by any means, but I did get to cover a court case which was huge- in terms of press coverage, Hallam Fm were there and Look North. It was a murder case, about a taxi driver who was shot in his taxi as he worked, back in March. I remember it being a really big case here and everyone raving on my course about how much they wanted to cover that. Hah, typical journos.

It ate up most of the day- I went once again with the crime correspondent Claire and we were in the court room at Sheffield Magistrates from 10am right through until about 2. By which time, I wanted a well deserved lunch break before my return to the news room. The case itself- because it was so complex and the three guys being charged for the murder had 'conspired', meant that everything was adjourned until next week, when they could come to a better understanding of it all. It was interesting...I'd never been to a murder case before, but it was horrible at the same time. The defence picked a lot of holes in the case and were miles better than the prosecution- who seemed to be making a lot of mistakes, much to the three defendants' chagrin. Haha. I tried to write it up come the afternoon...but I just didn't see it as an amazing case when we can hardly report any of what we were told, thanks to the Magistrates Court Act 1981 and the reporting restrictions which prevent reporters from writing about the evidence in the case, while proceedings are active.

So the afternoon was spent finding out a little news story about a brass band from Dronfield who were going to Switzerland for a tour over the weekend and next week. I had that to write up as a NIB, but I did have to make a couple of phone calls just to make sure everything was accurate. Harder than it seems really...but, you get used to it. It's all about confidence and not being afraid to pick up the receiver and ask questions :]

I left at 5...having become bored of everything in the offices...and came here. I have some good news however. The phone line at the house is now working- woopee! They've lifted the restriction, which is great news. Oh and we also have a new router-modem, which Belkin sent out to us and we received yesterday. We tried to set the thing up...and it semi-works...I mean it worked for the first five minutes perfectly. But then we tried to set a password/make it more secure so no one else could access our network and it didn't seem to like that and from then on in we had problems with it. Meh...we're going to try and fix all of that tonight, as we don't want any ongoing problems. It's not what we need right now!!

...and whilst I had my phone switched off at court today...a lady who I inquired about a temp job with last week, called me up and told me that whilst there was not a position at MDA Works Services that would benefit my requirements since they want someone to stay on longer than September, there is a job going as a receptionist somewhere else and that she would pass on my details for me and let me know about it. Which I'm very grateful for, as the hours and pay she described sound good- and if they only want someone until September- perfect!! I'll apply now. Hehe. So that's my main good news.

I hope everyone is having a good summer whilst I'm slaving away :p

I just have faith in the knowledge that this placement will hopefully benefit me in many ways, career wise.

More to follow, tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Second day over and I'm feeling fine.

Today has been a far more varied and eclectic day than the last. For starters, I've had a lot more work to do...but, I got most of it one or two things. I've got about 4-5 stories written up and placed in the Stars' news system. I have one I need to complete and place in the system tomorrow, but as I say, that can be done again.

The main excitement of today, has been that I got to venture near City Hall and see the X-factor judges go inside the building. They each arrived separately, about ten minutes after one another, in blacked out Rolls Royces. First came Simon Cowell- oh dear lord- he is just like on television but weirder! He comes across as very arrogant- he was smoking the whole time, he was in the car, he got out...and he blew it in the press's faces before moving inside. Then there was Louis Walsh, who seems meek in comparison...and Danni Minogue...someone shouted out 'Where's your fit younger sister?' hehe...which made me laugh...she was so skull-like in the face it was horrible! She looks like she doesn't eat- yeuch. I reckon a lot of the 'thin' celebrities are like that though...skeletal in real life. Then there was Sharon Osbourne...who couldn't stop and talk to us unlike the rest because the rain was coming down so heavily, it was awful- then just as she disappeared inside it started to brighten up again. Bloody rain.

Anyway...I stopped for lunch after I'd seen all of them. I went and sat again, just outside City Hall with a sandwich and a drink. Before I went back to the Stars' offices and started my work again. I stayed from 1.30-5pm, just typing up all kinds of NIB's, finishing off the stories I'd been told to investigate all day (which had involved a lot of calling up and asking people a lot of questions), then some guy who's son was swimming around the Isle of Wight called up and gave me some information about what he would be doing this weekend- which sounded pretty interesting. So I started to write that story up just before I was leaving, but I didn't write loads (just a few first paragraphs) as I then had to leave....and I came back here. To the IC.

I'll have to check if that router has come yet once I get back to the house. I doubt it will have though. They're like that Talktalk. Yesterday, I printed off twenty-five pages of terms and conditions in small print to do with them...and I don't like some of what it has to say. Nevertheless, we're going to use it to try and get our contract cut off with them if possible and also get some compensation for all the strife they've given us, unnecessarily. They'll be the ones paying, not us...the bastards. You know if we cut the contract with them, they expect us to pay £70?! What the fuck?! It makes no sense. I mean, if the 'net works again...fine...but it's been 2 months now and I can't see why we should go with a dodgy company who've done everything but keep their promise. The shitheads.

Anyway...I'm expecting I may have something in print tomorrow in the if I do, I'll tell you about it and keep the clippings as proof :p

I'll update again tomorrow. Who knows what could be in store next...


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Well, I'm back in Sheffield. I'm writing this from that wonderful building called the Information Commons, since there is no internet working at the house at the minute. Which is grim. Oh and the phone has a fucking restriction on it- thank you Talktalk! For reasons unknown (I'm guessing the floods) but I look outside the window and all I see is sunshine- so pull the other one- we have paid the bills- give us our bloody phone back so we can call our loved ones! :( Arseholes. We have no service from them at the minute and so, we are forcing ourselves to put a brave face on it. I shouldn't be so angry- but I am. They've messed us around so much it's unbelievable. So we're definitely going to switch as they've been nothing but PATHETIC.

Anyway *sigh* that little rant over...I can get on with talking about my first day at my work placement. I got up super early (6am!) and showered, got ready etc, which took a while but I had to beat my housemate to the shower! haha before I left the house at 8.15am and walked up to the Sheffield Star's offices. I thought I'd bribe them with a packet of digestive biscuits, haha so I got some from the Spar. Then I had to find the reception- I wasn't sure where it was exactly, but I found it eventually and met up with Becky Lawly who took me upstairs and sat me down on a computer and showed me the works of the Star's office system. I was told to read the newspapers and see if there were any local stories within the nationals that could be written up- but there weren't. Much to my relief I was saved when the local crime correspondent came and told me there was an inquest into a guy who blew his brains out at 10am. Nice. I went along with her.

We got to the Coroners Court in good time and I was amazed by how much of a story was actually there- plus I got the whole thing down pretty much, in shorthand! Which goes to show how much I was concentrating, hehe. The story was tragic- an old guy who was mentally ill, blew his brains out after being released from a mental hospital too early by doctors. It was grim to hear and to see the family so upset. I mean the widow broke down crying as well as the sons. The widow was more angry to be honest though. Also we had to talk to the family at the end of it, which was really difficult- especially the part where we had to ask for a photo, they declined however. Which was to be expected I guess, but I guess we got our hopes up there- as something like that will easily make the front page news, since it's not every day someone kills themself with a rifle, in Sheffield.

The crime correspondent (forget her name now), said it would definitely be front page material- since the story is quite unique maybe I can look forward to showcasing that story sometime over the week :) I'll let you know.

I had about a 45 minute lunch break, in which time I wrote the introduction to the story up. Before I went back to the office from about 1.30-4.30pm and wrote it all into the system and saved it- I will still have the chance to edit it tomorrow and since me and the crime correspodent have worked together today, we will be finishing it off tomorrow. Then I guess I'll be working on something new. Going to Court perhaps? Or something of the like. I'll keep you posted!

Tonight, I'm going to try and finish 'Seeds of Yesterday' - the fourth book in the Dollanganger saga, which has kept me so riveted for months! and then start 'Garden of Shadows' if I have the time, since I want to try and finish all of those before Saturday when the final and brand spanking new Harry Potter book comes out! Yep siree.

Right- more to come soon.

Watch this space.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

This is the best bit- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in 'Wings of Desire', performing 'From Her to Eternity'. how I feel. I've had to take a valerium to try and calm me down. Think I might have to take another soon. It's because the time is looming...and I have to go back up to Sheffield tomorrow for my work experience next week.

But I can't stop worrying. Which isn't what I need at the minute. Still, I'll be OK. I'm taking a book or two and a few magazines to read over the weekend and in the evenings after what I suspect will be busy days in the office/out and about in the city.

It's kind of exciting in a way- I've never worked on a proper newspaper before, so I should be looking forward to it and whilst I am in a way, I'm already quaking with fear, haha. I'm sure it'll be a-ok though, after the first day of settling in and so forth.

I think I'll write a daily entry on here (if the internet is working at the house and I can get it to work on my laptop), about my work placement, day by day. Hopefully I will have plenty of interesting things to write about :) I guess I shall have to wait and see.

Hmmm...let's see what's happened since my last update. Well, the job interview went well- but I didn't get the job unfortunately as they wanted me to work a lot of evenings, which I had to be honest about and say I didn't really want to do because it would cause a lot of anxiety for me and fuck up my social situation- i.e- it would prevent me seeing my boyfriend and I'd have to walk back most likely on many an occasion. So I guess it wasn't meant to be.

I have however applied for two other jobs- one at the Hillcrest Hotel, they were looking for bar staff there (or so I got told; they're also looking for a chef) and I applied for a secretarial position with this company...but it's a very fast paced role,(but the best money I've seen for a temp job)- so if I got that, I'd be chuffed. They both have the advantages of being based in Widnes and either to be fair, would give me some valuable experience in a different area of work I have never worked in before. So there.

I watched a beautiful film this afternoon called 'Wings of Desire', an 80's german's the original storyline that was re-worked into the American film 'City of Angels' starring Nicholas Cage, in 1998. WOD is about an angel who falls in love with a trapeze artist and wishes to become mortal, so that he can be with her. It's lovely, but really sad and poignant. It makes you think a lot about the failings of humans...and it's really cool to think that there could be all these fallen angels around. As angels, they can hear every human thought and often offer support to humans in turmoil...kinda like a guardian angel figure to the needy. They can hear your every thought, but they can't be seen, they're not visible beings. They guard over the city of Berlin from a tall angel statue... it was a really beautiful and moving series of thought sequences.

I've had to buy lots of ready meals to take back with me for next week- since I actually have no idea where my next meal may be coming from once I get there...and I suspect I will be rather lazy cuisine wise, in wanting to make anything. So I've got some ready made spinach and ricotta cannelloni, a goats cheese type calazone (I had one tonight) and a veggie lasagne. Yum. I'm sure I can sort myself out for the rest, once I get back there.

My parents bought me a lot of food from Chester.. bags of dried fruit and some honey and nut cereal :) yay and cereal bars, for breakfast. Which will save me buying them.

Hopefully, the 'net will be working at the house and I can give an update before Monday about the weekend. If not, I guess I will be nipping down to the IC a hell of a lot...*sigh* either way, I'll let you know :)


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I have some good news. I've got a job interview on Friday for a temp job I've applied for- which is good because I wasn't sure if they'd even get back to me. But they did last night, so things are looking up and I may now have a job for the first time in two years :) yayyy. Which can only help me out, oh I don't know- IMMENSELY.

But I don't want to speak too soon incase it all comes crashing down around me. So I'm biting my tongue from saying too much, just so that if the whole thing backfires on me, I won't have said too much :p which is a very modest plan indeed.

Besides, it's only at the Asda. Hehe.

I've just had the most amazing meal with my parents. I drove them to Chester and back (which is the furthest I've ever drove before, so I'm feeling rather proud of myself about that) and on the way home, we stopped off at The Shrewsbury Arms. We always go there because the food they serve is just sooo delicious :) mmmm. I had a french onion soup for starters, followed by stir-fry vegetables in a plum sauce (it came with prawn crackers but I can't eat those) so my Dad ate them, haha. For dessert I had a chocolate bombé, which much to my amusement my Mum pronounced as 'chocolate bum' when she first heard the waitress saying it. Haha. Oh dear. It was just lovely. But I feel so stuffed after all of that, it's almost worrying.

So I may have to go and have a lay down.

The smoking ban came into effect from Sunday, but I haven't really noticed anything too different yet. Just that there's a lot more smokers on the streets or outside pubs now, as obviously it's illegal to smoke inside the premises. To me, I'm looking forward to going to a club now and coming home NOT smelling of smoke. Although at first I'm sure that will be a bit weird, yet no doubt something you'll get used to as the ban continues. In my opinion, it can only be a good thing.