February 2004 Archives

On death - part one

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It's funny, but for a man who has danced with Death (I think it was one of the Barbara sisters at a fancy dress party at Salome's Bar) I do not fear it. To me, death is like the last page of a book that we can never read. It is weird that we won't be able to know how our own little story ends, but one thing is for sure: it will happen one day. I'll be ready for it too (as long as Death doesn't creep up on me while I'm in bed with a lady... I can't imagine anything worse than her thinking that I was simply exhausted and start smoking a fag when she could be giving me some vital heart massage and mouth to mouth).

Years ago, I would have been happy to think that we all go on somewhere pleasant, with lots of dry ice, after we leave this world. I once ran a mobile disco and early one night, when the room of the West Kirkby British Legion was empty I started the light show, using the music from Torville and Dean (I think it's Bolero), and turned on the dry ice machine. I found myself in a curious heaven. I was sweeping around the floor in a haze of sweet music just thinking whether this was what heaven would be like. I decided to lie down in the mist and see what it was like in the white cloud tranquillity. I imagined an ever performing Torville and Dean sweeping through the skies of heaven as we all sat about and joked about what we would give them on six if they ever stopped. As I lay there, eyes open, reaching out into the cosmic fog that enveloped me I realised that I was actually caught in a kind of limbo: a purgatory. As any one who has experience of dry ice will tell you, it can make the floor very sticky. I was glued to the floor. Just as I realised my predicament, Margaret and Joan, from the committee, walked across the floor carrying the finger buffet. The dry ice must have been at least knee deep by this time. I could smell the carnation chicken paste as they closed in on me. It's at this juncture that I would like to point out that I like to point out that I was glued to the floor. I felt like that bloke from the Bostick advert. They were about to stand all over me when Joan stops Margaret and starts telling her all about what had gone on between Maurice and her at the last Garden fete. As interesting as that was I was more concerned about how I could inform them of my presence with out wanting to cause shock or, well, offence. Joan's ankle were right next to my ears and I was on a helter-skelter back to reality: I had gone from a version of Torville and Dean heaven to looking up to the Gods and seeing a middle-aged female committee member going commando and telling her friend what her Maurice had done on the "Win a gold-fish" stall.

It must have looked like the scene from Carrie when I managed to release my arm from the grip of the floor. It shot up like a starting flag at the racers. Needless to say, the two gentle women needed more than a gin and tonic and a rub down from Maurice to calm them down. Maurice, the Chair of the committee, had me out the back before I could say, "I've seen heaven" (may be not the best thing to say after my view of Joan) to tell me that was to be my last gig at the WKBL. I tried to tell him about the floor being sticky, but he wouldn't listen.

Funny, how talking about death led me to that. There'll be more entries on this topic, I am sure of that.

There is about as much chance of me being a virgin as there is of there being an eighth day in the week, but this is a great to line to use when you are with an older woman. Believe me, they want to educate. Not only that, there is nothing like keeping their expectations low before you dazzle with them with moves and thrusts not seen since Travolta won the dance off. It"s simple advice, but worth a go.

Song lines to Shirley...

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When I was slightly younger, and a little more foolish, I tried to reach the window ledge of a girl called Shirley. Just as I was about to about to leave a token of my love (after I watched her undress and dance along to a hit by The Nolan Sisters) I slipped and fell some thirty feet onto a shed roof. Landing like a belly flop onto the mossy shed-top, I slid down the roof and fell head first into some railing. I am not sure whether it was the moss, or whether it was the hair product that I was using at the time, but somehow my head became wedged between two iron railings. In the fall I had not only lost my footing and my dignity, but I also managed to lose my trousers. This was just the end of another bad day. While I knelt, half naked, knees covered in moss and my head clamped between two railings I decided to write a song. It"s dedicated to Shirley Baluga...

'The Slippery Shoes Blues' - a Country"n"Western ballad.

I"ve stood on highest branch in the highest tree

To watch you and make some memory

Of the greatest gal in the whole goddam town

My luck seemed to pass as my feet gave way

And I dropped to the floor, passin" your dad on the way

I was fallin" from greatest gal in the town

He was reading the paper as I passed by

I kinda waved as I caught his eye

And I noted the resemblance of my gal from the town

Funny how I passed your mother too

Playing with the milkman, I think you knew,

I"m sorry to break it to you...the greatest gal in the town.

They were only making cakes and covered in flour

You don"t see much travelling at fifty miles an hour

From the greatest gal in the whole goddam town

Now, I knew you were from a family of four

I wondered how I"d see your brother before I hit the floor

The greatest gal in the whole goddam town

Well, I hit the roof, the railings too and didn"t scream

I just looked to God and told Him this was mean

To keep me from my gal in the town.

Half naked, head down, with my ass all red,

As your brother shoots pellets at me from his bed

Now, I"ve met the family of the greatest gal in the town.

One day, I will finish this song. I was rescued from the fence before I had a chance to complete it. Perhaps if I meet Shirley again, I"ll have the inspiration.

Hi there :o) well it

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Hi there :o) well it could be a wee while from now until I get the chance to post another message as I won't have such easy access to a computer any more in work....I'll be training up my replacement ya see for the next 2 weeks before I finish work. But im trying to get something sorted at home so I'll try not to leave you all in the dark for too long!

Well today im really chuffed (although a little sore from all the wandering!) as I went shopping last night and bought lots of cute baby things - baby bath, changing bag, mat, Winnie The Pooh bodysuits, little mitts etc etc plus a few wee things for myself of course for all my hard work ;o) I bought a brilliant book, its called 'Rough Guide to Pregnancy & Birth' by Kaz Cooke.... its kinda like her diary (with bits added in from experts too) and gives a straightforward and honest view towards the whole thing, its very informative but also very funny, I wish I had of got it a lot sooner. It goes through everything week by week and I feel that it will prepare me very well.

Well Its all getting closer and closer now...im 7 months preggars oh my gawd! I have 2 more weeks of work then I'll be a lady of leisure for a month and a half til baby decides to pop out and say hello (or rather..wahhhhhh help where am I, I wanna go back in!) which I hope isn't too long away...I even hope that baby comes early! I have started organising my hospital bag...putting in nighties, toiletries and practical things that I never even knew existed like disposable breast pads and knickers! I'm following the 'what to put in your hospital bag' list from my book you see. I'm considering using a suitcase cos there is so much stuff I will need for me and baby while in hospital...and even for Paul! My Mum thinks it's a disgrace that we ourselves have provide all the stuff…in her day the hospital did it all!

Im getting extremely excited now (not that I wasn’t before!) and everyone else is getting excited with me...it feels like I have been waiting for the big day all my life or something..... Its like waiting for that holiday you booked ages ago....like counting done the nights as a kid until Santa comes....only tones more nerve wracking and exciting...I really don't know what to expect but they say it all fits into place naturally...I hope I'll be a good mummy :o)

I'm still trying to convince myself to go for good ole Etonox - gas 'n' air, during the birth but the more I listen to Mums, the more and more I am considering the Epidural...which after all, in one injection, would stop me feeling any pain. I'm so undecided but we'll see when the time comes I guess...the good thing is you don't have to set your plans in stone or anything just yet. Although saying that I have booked a tens machine from the hospital for the date im due.....its a little hand held device with electrodes that you stick to your back and you are in control and can press the button when you like which sends out little shocks to stop the pain messages in their tracks before they get to your brain....its a safe form of pain relieve and the only one that has no side affects so I'll give that a go to begin with then we'll see how I get on :o)

I'm getting used to all the talk about contractions and I feel a lot more educated now...thanks to my parent craft classes and decent books. Although one bit of advice I would give to 1st time expectant mothers is... don't read or worry too much, relax and enjoy your pregnancy, take each day as it comes...which I am going to do from now on :o)

Catch ya later peeps xxNikkixx

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A nice day at school.

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A nice day at school. I took the kids to a waterfall near Arusha for a field trip.

waterfall (351k image)

Tilda "The Wave Machine"

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One summer I spent in Rhyll, North Wales, will be remembered - always. Some swine robbed my wallet. This caused me an enormous amount of grief. Not only did it contain a substantial amount of money, signed pictures of a young Bonnie Tyler and a phone number of a bloke who would be able to deal with my troublesome exhaust on my original American Ford Mustang, but also my dry cleaning ticket. Never use "Treat'm'dry, keep'm'clean" in Rhyll. They still, to my knowledge, have, to this day, my specially made suit which I dropped in all those years ago. It was a lilac jumpsuit with diamante decoration, lined with pink satin and with my initials on the back. It was my Saturday night fever outfit that grabbed the attention and accentuated my moves and grooves. I described it to the owner: down to the fine detail of what colour had been used on the hem of the left leg and what I had left in the ankle pocket of the right leg (never enter a club unprepared). No matter how close in detail I went, he refused to give me my suit with out the ticket. Needless to say that I was down on my luck, so I decided to spend the afternoon in the Rhyll Sun Centre.

To the uninitiated, this may sound like some sort of solarium, or for those who think I'd visit a massage parlour (not on a Wednesday in Wales any way), some sort of den of hot hands. This was... is... a centre of aqua leisure with everything from a body board pool to an aqua slide. With my tourist pass, gifted by the local police on the loss of my wallet, I visited the centre to see what all the fuss had been about.

The main pool was a wonder. You could begin by splashing your ankles and then start to wade into the depths of the pool. As I splashed in the beach-like lip of the pool in my swimming shorts (I was one of the first to see that Speedo ballies were a huge no-no), I glanced down to the deep end to see that there was fair amount of excitement. Then, there was an announcement, "There will be waves in the main pool in one minute". It was like people had heard that John Lennon was peeing in the main pool. There were hoards of people charging in. Not one to miss out on something so new and adventurous I followed the charge. Although I felt a slight discomfort when my shorts begin to soak water like a thirsty sponge and the string tie begin to lose support I headed for the 'deep' water. There was then a huge hooter, screams of excitement and a scramble, by those whose fear got the better of them, for any buoyancy aid they could find. Thankfully, I remembered what you're meant to do in these sort of panic situations and lashed out at a number of those coming towards me. Like Ali, I varied my punches, but they all landed and I certainly won on points. For all my ability I was not prepared for an attack from behind. I felt someone throw their arms around my neck. I bobbed and weaved in the water like a bucking bronco, but to no avail. Then it started. The first of the manufactured waves came. I saw the first one, the second and the third. On the forth I was struck in the face by the parent of a panicked child I had hit earlier (he was at least 15) and the fifth I was dragged under by my attacker at the rear.

Lying naked in the shallow end of the main pool was the least I had expected of the day. What I also didn't expect was the accusation that I not only got into the pool naked, but also that I started the near riot, between two local gangs of thugs, in the deep end. As I regained consciousness I could hear people, mainly middle aged arseholes in Speedos standing behind their battleaxe wives, calling for me to be expelled and saying that I was a danger to all bathers. I coughed up some second hand chlorinated water and pointed out the facts. "Had I smoked in the pool? Had I executed a perfect bomb? Had I been involved in some heavy petting? Or had I been used as a float by some burly youths?" It didn't seem to wash with one particular battleaxe, who called for me to be castrated. This was followed, as quick as a bullet, by another shouting, "If you can find it?" Laughter rang in my ears - and in my dreams it still haunts me - as I lay naked in the cold water shallow end.

It was at this point that our eyes met. A pale skinned young women with smudged eyebrows and lots of teeth. I can remember wondering how so many teeth manage to fit into one mouth. She knelt next to me and whispered, "This is all my fault... let's get out of here." She then took off her swimming cap and placed it over my meat and two veg. The plum coloured rubber bonnet may not have been the most ideal cover, but it served a purpose. She helped me to my feet and whispered again into my ear, "You might like to thank Bernard... he resuscitated you." I turned to a large tanned, muscular man with a handle bar moustache and lime green 'Speedo Ballies' that were packed to capacity and held out my hand. He winked and I could think of nothing other than the immortal words, "No tongues, right?"

I was taken as far as the veruca pool by my woman rescuer. She told me to meet her outside near the soup-machine. I showered, dressed and used the blow-dryer as quickly as possible. I was outside trying to stir my golden vegetable soap with a milk straw when she came out of the women's changing rooms. Boy, did she turn heads.

Tilda was stunning. In my earlier state I hadn't quite taken in her beauty. She had long legs, blue eyes, blonde hair and a lovely chest. She was amazing... even in the glasses she wore. She looked over to the soap dispenser and I waved - regrettably - like a gimp trying to swot a fly with a damp tissue. She floated across the room to me. She offered her hand and introduced herself. I could see that her eyesight had been greatly improved by the glasses...she didn't look too impressed. She stood close and whispered in my ear that she was sorry for all the problems she had caused. I couldn't hear what she was saying as all I could smell was her gentle parfum. I have no idea why, perhaps it was chlorine, but I began to feel incredibly aroused. Even more worrying for me at the time was that fact that I couldn't control it. Worse still, it was packed the wrong way in my trousers, so it stood out like a golf jumper at a black-tie event. I tried to disguise it by leaning over, lifting one foot onto the chair next to me and leaning on my elbow, but it was too late. The jury was out... it was completely tasteless. And she knew it too.

Watching her disappear left me heartbroken. I had lost my wallet, my suit and my heart all in one day. I did see her again a couple of years later at a caravan park in Selby, but she didn't see me. Or at least pretended not to. The fact that I was pissed, part of the cabaret and told the audience of twelve (eleven, one had actually died through the performance) how I got a "stander" in a public pool may have put her off me. Who knows. Tilda, if you're reading this... I'm a changed man now. And a lot more in control.

Last Saturday, there was clash

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Last Saturday, there was clash of interests in the local pub, Top Hill Bar.

It was early afternoon, and the pub was packed. The chalkboard, that sits outside and advertises the day's games, had displayed Arsenal - Chelsea and Man U - Leeds. Both to be braodcast live. Usually there are slightly more Arsenal fans, but it's pretty close. Unless you were in early on a Saturday like this, you got left with a metal seat miles away from the tv.

Anyway, both of the above games were actually due to kick off simultaneously, with both shown, but on different channels.

The Arsenal - Chelsea game played for almost twenty minutes before a chap from the crowd had quite clearly had enough. He got up and changed the channel, over to the Man U game. This was not entirely well revieved. Much shouting, gesticulating and handbag style antics followed. It's definitely the closest I've seen to a brawl. And the ripple effect of a few people standing up soon led to everyone being on their feet.

Of course, a large section of the pub found all this hugely amusing and laughed through most of the experience.

Luckily, a compromise was found. Alternate between the two at twenty two and a half minute intervals. Although you can't fault the management for trying to fill the pub.

However it would have all got really messy if the power cut that plagued the later game had been earlier.

A line on a radio phone-in...

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Once I sat listening to an annoying late night phone in on a local radio near Skelmersdale. The discussion was all about flying sauces, UFOs and little green men. The listeners had to listen to a so called expert, Edward Lorringthwaite, discuss the day that he was abducted while standing on the railway station platform at St Helens Central. This is such a ridiculous story as, and everyone knows this, the only abduction that has taken place at a rail way station in the area was in Prescott. It was a good friend of mine, Rocky Thomas, who claimed to have been abducted by strange beings whose bright flashing blue lights blinded him. He can remember nothing of what happened while he was abducted, but - somehow - a judge passed a sentence on him. He had to pay 400 fines for drunken behaviour, calling policemen names and trying to urinate on a power line.

When I got on the radio and told the story, I was asked if I believed in UFOs and little green men, I said, 'No, but I have seen a dwarf dressed up in bondage gear standing on Preston Station platform trying to assault a friend who he had zipped into a large holdall.'

Hill Sledging

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When I was a youngster, we used to play near a disused railway line that led into a dark tunnel that, so rumour had it, was built by a number of my relatives. However, when I pushed Jeremiah Tonkin downed a steep hill near the line I was surprised at the response. As Jeremiah slid, face down, along his chest and at high speed down the hill we seemed to have all been hit by the same idea. This was a significant moment in local historyas Skelmersdale Hill sledging, which should be an Olympic sport, was created here. By the time Jeremiah reached the bottom of the hill, his clothes had been ripped from his chest and the tree that brought his high speed decline to a sudden stop had taken out three of his front teeth. It took him a good half hour to reach the top of the hill again, his return being delayed by Janet O'Keefe throwing stones at him. Once he reached me, he swung with a left fist, then a right fist, followed by a kick and then a head butt. Out of the four he connected with just one and, like any other kick in the balls, I was left doubled over. As I stood clinging my stones, thinking that I had lost one for ever, I could see him loosing his footing on the top of the hill. Taking advantage of this, I charged, tripped over my jelly legs and lunged towards him. As I was about to hit the gravel lip of the hill, he fell beneath me so I grabbed hold of the school tie that was, by this time, about the only item of clothing on his torso. As he hit the gravel, we seemed to take off down the hill. It has always amazed me that, as a youngster, you are able to learn new skills very quickly. I found that by pulling at the tie and digging my heels allowed me to steer the descent. Although Jeremiah hands often got in the way, the trip down the hill was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life up until then. Given all my newly learned skills of steering a downhill vehicle, I still couldn't avoid the tree that had brought Jeremiah to a sudden stop on his last descent.

While waiting for Jeremiah to have one his own teeth removed from his chin in the hospital, I wrote up a number of rules for the new downhill sport. On the advice of Jeremiah I decided that a wooden or cardboard sledge was preferred to a human one and that you were given points for artistry and how well you could avoid some of the trees towards the end of the run. When ever anything out of the ordinary was executed by a skilled sledger, I made sure that this was referred to as a Jezza. This was in honour of a boy who had lost not only his three front teeth, but several of the lower ones too while trying to save one of his best mates from coming to a rather similar end. It took a good while for me to forgive him for kicking me in the balls, but he forgave me pretty quickly after I loosened his tie at the end of his second run. Since I left Skem, I have only heard through the grape-vine what happened to Jerry. Apparently, he now lives in Spain as a cabaret singer in a gay holiday resort.

Angie "The Hands"

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There are days when you don't think that you're in the mood for love. You could have a nose full of cold and a head full of Vicks or a sandal full of dog muck and a toe full of jam... and still tumble into the arms of someone. Their eyes could meet yours and then there'd be fireworks. Sadly, with Angie, our eyes didn't quite meet, but that was more down to her squint. I was fumbling around the Scotch Eggs in the discount fridge of my local supermarket when our hands touched. We both went to grab some Tandori Chicken which had gone out of date the day before (but who believes that stuff any way), we tried to look into each others eyes and then it happened. Trying to look into both of her eyes I pulled a muscle in my neck and nearly burst a Scotch Egg with the pain. Through the pain I could see that there was more to Angie than met the eye (they were individually beautiful). She told me that, although she worked as a receptionist at the local leisure centre, she was also teaching herself how to weave baskets with fallen branches. I couldn't see, at first, how this would possibly work, but then she sunk her fingers into my shoulders and I understood exactly. She had strength in her hands that could mould stone, although when I mentioned it she seemed slightly embarrassed. Within minutes, I had been relieved of any pain and felt a warm feeling of exuberance that I don't think I have ever felt while standing in a supermarket aisle.

To thank her, and to get to know her better, I took her to Mickey's Slop Caf in the middle of Swansea. It was a great place, but hardly the sort of place that you would take a lady on your first date. However, I like to think that I'm unpredictable. We sat on a bench made out of the two front seats of a Vauxhall Viva and talked for hours. We talked about where we were from, our hopes and dreams. It turned out that she had always wanted to work as a receptionist at a Bingo Hall. As a veteran 'Caller' (I didn't tell her that I had never done it in a club, but instead at my Auntie June's) I told her that I knew someone who would be able to help. I gave her the number of an old flame, Lauren Bogdanzowich, who hand-painted the numbers on Bingo Balls for Smith and Jones Bingo Machines.

We clicked after a while and were about to leave when she suggested that we both go back to her place for a warm Vimto. She must have read me like a book as I love nothing more than a warm Vimto with a wild woman. We left, arm in arm and a skip in our step towards the number 53 bus stop. As we were approaching the stop she turned a colour I hadn't seen since I was kept incarcerated in Russia for smuggling packets of Sherbet Rockets. She grabbed my arm and nearly broke it just below the elbow. She told me that her husband was just over the road and was coming over. Confident of my physical prowess and skills with the fists, I winked at her and looked across the road. My memory of him is a bit hazy, but suffice to say, I thought walking/running in the opposite direction would be a worthwhile option, but Angie was clamped to my arm and refused to let go. I tried again to look into her eyes and beg her to remove her hand from my arm. My neck twinged.

When I eventually regained the use of my legs, I revisited the spot where I was the first man in Swansea to have his legs broken by a man wielding an Argos catalogue. I don't hold any grudges with Angie and I haven't met her since, although I have visited that same discount fridge on numerous occasions. I will never forget her touch and hope one day to meet her again. As for her husband, if I see him on the road while I'm driving he can give my exhaust an MOT on the go.

Why philosophy?

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I am Bobby Beamer and therefore I am... Bobby Beamer. It doesn't get more obvious, really, that I am a deep thinker. I once thought about the theory of buttered toast for three days while travelling across the Mojave Desert in the back of Eddie "The Soap" Webb's transit van. I found that some of my theories have matched anything suggested by minds such as Hawkins, Newton, Aristotle and Wogan. I hope to expand the mind...

Why lines?

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No matter where I have lived - London, the north West of England, Scotland or Cairo - I have been known for many of my lines. Whether a line to attract a young lady to my table of love or a sarcastic put down. I must thank two people for keeping notes and cataloguing these lines for me: Johan Calme and Jim Strang. Feel free to use them whenever you want, but keep a note of how many times you use them as I am considering some sort of copyright system.

Why love?

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Some smart arse told me the other day, "Bobby, you've had about as many lovers as my fridge." Given that this smart arse was once found in a curious position with a packet of sandwich ham, I can guarantee that I have had more lovers than his fridge. But I sat back in my favourite seat in the "The Cupped Ball" - which is no easy task on a bar stool - and thought about all the women I have known: the laughs, the tears and the knee tremblers. From Aada to Zufu (and even Beryl), they have all left a mark on my heart... or teeth marks on my ankles. Each time I think about my loves in my life I remember a long forgotten moment: like when I was in Valencia with Janet Copperbottom and we spent the whole day sharing a toilet after some dodgy paella. This is a tribute to all those who were and are so close to my heart.

NB: I will not allow any DNA samples to be taken to certify that I am the father of a child. That's not my game. My seed is precious and I have yet - in my opinion - to sire an heir to the Beamer legacy. Any claims should be sent through my solicitor, C.C. De'Ablo of Chorley, Lancs.

Why life?

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I was asked to write about my life by a major literary agent in a London pub some years ago. I dismissed out of hand the opportunity of sums of money, fame and possible sexual adventures as I felt, and still do to some extent, that my life belongs to the British public... perhaps to the world. I left the pub proud that night that I had not only got the number of one of the girls who show how fantastic a new fridge is on 'The Price is right', but also that I had committed my life to public service. I hope that lessons can be learned from my adventures, my jobs and visits to D.R. and K. Barrat's Iron Mongers in West Kirkby. Hopefully, I will be making this world a richer place...

NB: Should a literary agent now think that the time is right to publish my memoirs in some sort of leather bound publication, then I will be willing to negotiate a fee.

Howdy partners ;o) went for

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Howdy partners ;o) went for my 30 week scan today and everything is fandabbydosey....jnr is growing at a steady rate and seems happy as Larry swimming about and having regular work outs in the mama ship...weighing in at 3lbs already - apparently that is the norm! They say baby grows 1/2 lb per week from now on in...meaning im gonna have an 8lb-er!!! I prefer little cute chubby babies anyway :o) but I may not say that on the big day...so it'll be a case of "GIVE ME ALL THE PAIN RELIEF YOU HAVE OR ELSE GRRR!" hehe no it'll all be fine im sure...I hope :o/

I've started watching 'Discovery - Health' as they show lots of programs about babies and stuff about labour & delivery. Don't know if its a good idea or not though.... its a very informative channel and all but when I see the complicated births im like ...right that's it this channel is wick im not watching ever again...then 10 mins later im glued to it again! I suppose its good cos it is preparing me for the worst? My favorite ones are the births that go really easy....no matter what though, I just know im gonna be one of these mummys that blubs all over the place when baby arrives. I think Paul is expecting this. It's a very emotional time though so who would blame me.
Anyway nuff about birth...can ya tell im getting a tad anxious?!

My Mum bought some lovely wee clothes for baby and is currently knitting a little cardi and hat awww. We are all very excited...but nobody as much as me :o) I just cant wait for this little miracle to arrive! One thing I will not miss about being pregnant is the heartburn..ewwwww it's horrible! But they say that if that's the case, baby will have a really good head of hair! Probably another old wives tale but we'll see :o)

I'm still working at the moment..another 3 Fridays to go...not counting or anything ;o) Catch ya all later...take care, Nikki xx

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Second term has been trucking

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Second term has been trucking along rather nicely for about six weeks now. Which means that I'm half way through the school year.

It's difficult to feel as though I've been living in Arusha for a while. There is generally plenty of work from school, or enough other things to amuse myself with, that I haven't really dwelt on time.

There is still plenty to see anyway. I saw a ten piece brass band balanced on the back of a small pick up truck. They were passing through town on a Saturday, as part of a wedding party.

However, this is definetly better than the guy who has a stupidly large pa system strapped onto the back of a little van. He goes through town belting out music and advertisements most Saturday mornings.

Added to this, are hundreds of small minibuses. (These are the cheapest way to get around, and everybody uses them. Twenty two people in a twelve seater seems to be the rule of thumb.) Each minibus has a caller, who competes with the other callers to be the loudest in shouting their particular buses' destination. Quiet Saturdays mornings.



Of course, the other feature of being half way through a term is that I get a long weekend. Splendid.

Arusha is a fairly large

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Arusha is a fairly large town, boasting such luxuries as two Chinese restaurants. With little persuasion, the manager of one of the restaurants agreed to offer a phone-in takeaway service.

One afternoon, while on holiday, an order was phoned. Half and hour later, a consignment of Chinese takeaway arrived. The taxi driver, two waiters from the restaurant, and a guard from the campus gate were all in the taxi with enough Chinese food for four people.

Not bad for about three quid each.

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