Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tired and ill but Xmas was good

I am being a typical man and am suffering from man-flu, as all men know this is a severe disease that is life threatening to the point of having an adrenaline shot by my side just in case.

Women are some how immunce to this problem and it merely manifests as a cold. Strange eh?

Well even though the hunt for sympathy continues I did manage to stay awake at Christmas around the folks with the help of the Guitar tab for 'Death Magnetic' as well as a Rubik's cube (which I managed to complete in the small hours of 27th Dec - yay me!). This of course was to distract me from the tat that passes as Xmas TV i.e. the tears and trauma on Eastenders, Corrie etc. as well as laughing at my Dad squirm as some guy swings around a girl with her head just missing the floor in 'Dancing on ice'.

Of course Xmas in the Rowley house-hold is full rich food that I am still trying to get through (Mom always sends us with a care package that can last a normal person about 6 months), so I will get back to watching quality TV (Beauty and the Geek) and thinking how to tackle the food mountain in the fridge.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Decembeard - more!

Okay, as work have a policy where you cannot access anything approaching fun or interesting (with the exception of and more specifically Facebook/Blogs and other such stuff which makes publishing stuff on the internet easy, so I have created a website for Decembeard with the photos of the guys who are taking part on.

So... go to and take a look!

And while you are there follow the link to to make a donation (or nab one of us if you see us and give us cash!).

Spencer's Birthday Party

Spencer's birthday celebrations kicked off with a Satsumo reunion from one of the (many) line ups. This was the 'Rich on guitar, Matt on bass, Dave on Drums, Spencer Guitar and Vocals' era.

You may be wondering what we are wearing - probably best not to - but at least the beard looks cool :-)

Then later on in the evening... Eclectic Blue;

Yes, for some reason the drummer goes barefoot.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


After much thought I finally decided to get involved with a charity event at work, I am now two weeks in to 'Decembeard' which long story short is an a charity thing to grow a beard during December (See the beautiful pic above!).

This might sound easy - but I can assure you its not. The act is easy, i.e. don't shave, but I can say that I have had more insults thrown at me in the last two weeks than at any point in my life!

In saying that I had one person say that it suits me (thanks Rob) and one person say they like it, and they like beards (thanks Jan). I have also had my boss give me some Frontline (stuff for cats with Fleas etc. - Cheers Dave).

So please donate...

Monday, November 24, 2008


Just wondering, recently, fuel has become cheaper - I'm looking at 91.9p.

This is a good thing, yes? Then why is it that every person is not at the pumps panic filling their vehicles to the brim?

Why is it then, when the fuel prices sky-rocket - and everyone is told 'There is no issue with supply, it's just the cost going up', that people insist on panic buying? like 'Oh my God, Fuel is 20p more expensive I've got to buy as much as possible'.

On reflection, I think that this logic should apply to other items that the government don't want people to buy. So lets reduce the price of cigarettes to 20p a pack, and a pint to 50p. People would obviously stop buying it so much and will solve all issues with Cancer and Liver disease. Genius!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gigs, Gigs and more Gigs

I've been to a lot of gigs lately, so I thought I would tell you about some of them...

Queen and Paul Rodgers; Got the tickets for a bargain price of zero pounds. Cheap at half the price. Gig was pretty good, with an especially interesting way of getting the drum kit on the end of a 50 foot ego ramp while it was being played - all good.

This one was at the Academy in Birmingham - this was a very strange gig. Okay, the desk breaks down three times during the gig and what would you expect from a professional band that have been going for 15 years? You've guessed it, the didn't have a clue. The funniest thing was the fact that the PA and on stage amps were actually working, basically their in-ear monitoring was knackered. They basically stood on stage and then left... without their songs they had nothing. The drummer eventually had a bit of a go at entertaining the crowd but with the rest of the band hanging around as though they were waiting for a bus it was laughable. The fact that they were so useless was actually entertaining in itself.

Alterbridge; This gig was down at Brixton Academy, and was my first time there. It was an amazing gig and an amazing venue.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Okay, so I'm not doing fancy dress this year, or a party, so I decided to do a pumpkin instead...

You have no idea how difficult it is trying to take pictures in the dark!

Sunday, October 12, 2008


No, I'm not actually Disturbed, it was just a band I went to see on Friday

Although suprised at how good they sound live (the album style they have does not normally lend itself well to a live performance) and thinking it was a great gig, it had a very strange start and end time... I arrived at 7:45 and they were already playing... then finally they were throwing plectrums and drum sticks into the crowd by 9:20 and we were out the door by 9:30.

This isn't actually anything to do with the band, but the curfew that the Carling Academy has on it, all the same it was still a great night, and of course got to rock with Del and Christy (see the picture - I thought that she was just trying to be metal by showing the metal horns \m/ !, but I think she just wanted to show off her ring some more :-)

Friday, September 26, 2008


On several training courses at work, the subject/discussion of the use of the word 'Brainstorming' has come up and its use as it may be offense to people with Epilepsy.

Basically this has been in use since the 1930's and to be honest, until these training courses, it never crossed my mind, even for a second that this might have in anyway anything to do with seisures.

So, what did I do? Well what I normally do and that is ask someone who might know. This is a direct quote from the Email I received from Epilepsy Action -

"We are often asked about the word 'brainstorming' and whether its use is acceptable. Our view is that it depends upon the context: if the word is being used to describe a meeting where participants are suggesting ideas, then its use is not offensive to people with epilepsy. However, it should not be used to describe a seizure or the electrical activity within the brain during a seizure."
And sanity prevails....

Monday, September 22, 2008


If anyone has ever been spinning, you will know how tired I am. This is the first class I have been to since 2001 when I used to do it in Ripley (When I worked for the Derbyshire Constabulary).

I haven't quite worked out whether joining the gym was a good thing or not.....

....I think that will be an update for a few weeks time :-)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Metallica: Death Magnetic Launch Party

For those of you that don't know, I am a huge Metallica fan. Also, for those of you don't know, Metallica released a new album called 'Death Magnetic' on 12th September. Being the first release for 5 years, I was pretty excited anyway, but I also managed to get tickets to the launch party that was being held at the o2 arena (That only cost £5 each!!).

So me and Rich, along with 20,000 hardcore Metallica fans went to celebrate...

The o2 arena is actually pretty impressive, if you've don't know anything about it - it was the Millenium Dome, a much better use of it me thinks.

The stage that was used was a central stage i.e. they were surrounded by fans! - 4 front rows.

After over 2 hours of music (and 5 songs from the new album) the crowd get covered in cheezy inflatables with Metallica printed on them. Very Iron Maiden :-)

This was one awesome gig, leaving me a little over excited and 3 hours sleep before work the next day.

Interestingly enough... they didn't play Enter Sandman or Nothing Else Matters (Hardcore Metallica fans would not be bothered by this as they have seen/heard it a million times - although I think a girl behind us was upset about it)

So, if you don't have the new album, go and buy it

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's all gone quiet...


Sorry for the lack of posts in the recent present, but I have been too busy doing stuff to post stuff. So this is only a quick one to say I am still here and will be posting again soon...

...Metallica has been distracting me.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Hay-on-wye is an amazing place, they have loads of cafes, welsh sign posts, a great shop which sells fudge and stuff. Very pretty area.

Oh and it has some books there too.

Of course I went with my favorite ladies. Abi and Christy (Christy is on the right in this picture). Note Abi is not in this picture :-)

Thanks for a lovely day guys xx


For my German friends... this is how breakfast is supposed to look:

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I thought I would write a quick post to thanks and to let everyone know I am home, and the journey was okay with flights on time etc.

Thanks to everyone in Germany for making me feel welcome and looking after me for the last 9 weeks, I have had a great time in and out of the work place.

I'm now home safe and sound with a full fridge (courtesy of my Mom) and a load of stuff in my flat fixed (courtesy of my Dad) and a pile of opened post (courtesy of Abi).

My initial plan for this week is to:
a) Go and see "The Dark Knight" at the cinema
b) Unpack.

A Busy, fun filled week :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

End of days (working days at RWE Energy that is)

The last day.... Mahlzeit :-)

A few faces missing here, due to Holidays, Babys and Blood poisoning :-(

So.... have a good holiday, good luck with the Baby and get well soon!

Christiane & Wolfram

Hard at work in the office...

This actually was very hard work as I am a left hander and I am trying to putt right handed here...

I thought I should mention the first English person I met in Dortmund... Mr Taylor!

So you understand, I bought a lot of chocolate this week for everyone. I walk out the office and come back a little later and in true German spirt, the messy pile of sweets that was covering the desk was turned into this...

Just incase you are wondering... this is what schnitzel looks like.

And last, but not least, this is (for want of a better word) my handler - Karl-Heinz.

Last Night Out... at the beach

Last night I went out with Kay and Jan to a cool Bar (in the North oooooh!). It has a great look with a beach and you can even get deck chairs if it takes your fancy.

A view from the beach...

This has been Kay's default postion recently... a woman is involved of course :-)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Westfallen Park

Next door to work (and therefore 5 mins from me) is a huge and amazing park. It has loads of cafes, a cabel car (Me in one on the left) and loads of other stuff.

I must admit, this was a Sunday afternoon afair and I intentionally wanted to unwind, so I took Michel Thomas (German Language tutor) on my ipod shuffle, a copy of "Harry Potter: Und der Stein der Weisen" and some sun cream and sat out for an hour. Once the Sun was finally covered over I went for a wonder....

Another one from the cabel car....

Not exactly pretty, but a big ass tower, which you can go up...

This is the view from the top of this tower, it is pretty high and really does give you the best view of Dortmund. If you look in the picture (probably best if you enlarge to see it properly by clicking on it) you can see the RWE building (to the left of my Sun glasses). This is right by the park, also, I have drawn an orange circle around where I live!!!!

Last few days now - it's frightening how quickly this has gone by, I can't believe that 4 days from now I will be home.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Odd things to see

Okay, went to see You Don't mess with the Zohan - very odd, but very good! (This hinges on whether or not you like Adam Sandler).

But the really odd thing to see, was a Red Squirrel. I've never seen one before, and there one bumbles past my apartment window. Cool eh?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hindu Squats

A completely unintentional milestone was hit earlier this evening. I was back from a bite out when I thought "I really should do some exercise, even if it's just the skipping". So I go out and decide to up my pace a little and do 3 sets X 5 mins skipping, all good. I walk back in and I'm thinking that normally I would do some Hindu Squats. Now I have been doing 3 sets of 40 with a few to working up to a single set of 100 over time... and then something strange happened. I got to 40 and felt myself slowing down, but getting into a pace. I decided to keep going and, although it was quite difficult I got to 100 and, rather strangely, felt I could have done more.

Yay me!

Note: this isn't me, I just found a You tube clip of what a Hindu Squat looks like for those of you who don't know:

Some observations

A quick post after the mamouth session from yesterday. Very important things now... I would like to draw attention to the fact that ALDI has a different logo in Germany.

They also have pizza with peaches on (It was actually very nice). Note this is at a restaurant and not Aldi!

And despite what people might think about the stereotype of German accuracy and efficency. Look at this picture 105M to the Ubahn (walk, not by car). I mean, I bet it really is 104.5.....

Or 104,5 (very confusing, in numbers the points are commas and the commas are points so one thousand pounds and three pence would be 1.000,03)

Monday, August 11, 2008


Now, Berlin was quite an experience. To start with, I wasn't in my normal place of work - I was on the Trading floor in Essen on Friday 08/08/08. I met up with Bülent who I was going with, we then went on to Bochum and stopped off in a Cafe there, before getting on the train to Berlin.

This particular train was not exactly amazing, and to make things worse there was no food on it! We were ready to pass out by the time we hit Berlin.

Now first of all, my first experience of Berlin was the train station. Now many of you must be thinking, who cares about a train Station? Well you haven't been here - this place is massive and quite unbelieveable (see the cool pics).

From the train we were picked up by one of Bülent's good friends and straight to it.

We hit some cool bars and as a pleasant suprise this is a massive mix of culture, this photo was taken in a bar that was full of arty types (some trying to hard, but most were just cool).

As well as many bars on this evening, I also got to try my first falafel (traditional German food :-)

Due to a very long day I opted for an early night (in at 2am - Bulent carried on and turned up at 7am). I got going on Saturday and left Bulent to sleep off the excess of the night before.

On my travels, I really was taken off guard by the mix of architecture in Berlin, all of which seemed to mix with no effort.

Going from the tradtional.... don't I look hansome eh? (I really did feel like a tourist!)

And, the sheer vast array of history...

To the parliment building (Complete with cake :-). This building has a clear dome (I am later told by Bülent that this is to give a symbol of transparency).

And I decided to go for the Brandenburg Gate from a slightly different angle...

Just to give a bit of a view the other sort of architecture, here is ome of the newer stuff.... Including PWC and some luxury flats (and seesaw).

Now this is a strange area, with the sony centre and a huge Cinima (that we saw Kung fu panda at on Sunday - very good film, worth a watch).

This is probably more interesting for the ladies than anyone else... but the biggest shop in Europe. I kid you not, this place is massive (had to stop myself before going into a Douglas Adams description of infinity).... but look...

... the view from the glass elevator doors at the top!

Along with all that culture, I also thought this was quite amusing. Now this picture does depict the McDonalds that we all know and loath... but I just liked that fact that it has a brothel situated directly above this (note I do not know this from personal experience)

Saturday evening drinks with Bulent and Dogu (pronounced Doe).

I must admit, I petalled after a long day and went home by 12:30 (Bülent pulled another 7am - I don't know how he does it).

The place with the red neon in the background we actually has brunch at the next day - Vegitarian and everything!

I would also like to thank Dogu for driving us about this weekend, cheers!

... and almost forgotten about, apparently there used to be this wall thing going through Berlin... you really wouldn't know now.

Also, before we left for home (after Kung fu Panda), we went to one of the coolest bars I have ever been to. It is very, very high, you would have no chance of finding it unless you knew where it was (I really did wonder where Iwas being taken). But it is cool and has views accross the whole of Berlin - amazing!

Before travelling back to Berlin we had some time to kill so after a Burger King at the train station (classy eh?) we have a wonder around. I find myself in a store selling magazines and see a Q magazine in German with Metallica on the front cover. I automatically start swearing as it's in frikin German. Until Bülent pointed out it was an English edition (cheers Bulent). Due to the slight Embarrasment I failed to realise the cost of this mag - nearly 13 euros, thats over double cover price!!

Anyway, thanks to Bülent for providing accomadation and a personal sight seeing tour, and thanks once again to Dogu for the pick ups and drop offs, as well as just being very funny!