31 July 2006

I'm just a sentimental soul!

I’m now officially back at home, so blogging will be significantly lighter than normal until September. I hate using dial-up, but I’ve rectified the situation significantly by replacing my parents’ archaic PC with my own recently updated one. I’ll admit, being all independent and headstrong, I decided to set the machine up myself. It couldn’t be that difficult – I mean, I set it up when I bought it, so doing it at home couldn’t be much harder….could it?

Well, if your name’s Merys then at some point you’ll have to call in the cavalry (i.e. the nearest computer engineer who isn’t at work) to talk you through it over the phone. I mean, how was I meant to know that when you’ve installed a new graphics card (or had a friend do it for you!) that you have to plug the monitor into that one?! I went through two monitors before admitting defeat. Then I couldn’t get the sound to work. Possibly because I’d plugged the speakers into the blue (line-in) socket – another telephone call rectified that one.

So, I’ve spent all morning and part of the afternoon scanning photographs and adding all my CDs to iTunes (which still isn’t working properly!) before I try and get rid of them all at carboot!

It’s been a sentimental morning – scanning my photographs from the first year at uni (as I previously mentioned, I didn’t have a digital camera until my third year) reminded me that I was officially leaving, and tugged at a few heartstrings as I saw friends that I’d long forgotten about. I don’t think I can bring myself to scan any more in now, but I feel I should for posterity.

On a sidenote, if anyone has any ideas how to get iTunes to recognise my iPod, then could they please drop me an email or a comment. I’ve re-installed and repaired iTunes, reinstalled all my USB drivers etc, and generally tried everything I can think of. The iPod is showing up in windows under My Computer, but not in iTunes, which means I can’t update my music. Help!

27 July 2006

A proper working girl

08.30 - Doorbell goes. Postman has eBay package that won't fit in the letterbox. Thankfully, the postman has enough sense to stick the package through a crack in the door and save my dignity!

08.32 - go back to bed

08.42 - Turn TV on, can't sleep

09.45 - Start to go for shower, when phone rings and it's work. General manager want to know if I can come in for 2.30 instead of 4 because he's feeling ill. No problem. Head back towards shower

10.30 - Post-shower - feed dog, feed cat, feed self. Start family ironing to help mother, watching DVDs in the process (Legally Blonde and 2 Weeks Notice)

13.00 - Finish ironing and start to do microwave Weighwatchers meal of Moroccan Chicken with Cous Cous.

13.35 - Start to straighten hair

14.05 - Finish straightening hair and start makeup and contact lenses. Get dressed!

14.31 - dive into work place and blame sodding traffic

14.35 - quick handover with departing general manager, and swap keys with him for locking up.

14.37 - deal with first whining customers wanting a refund. Skillfully persuade them that they don't want a refund, and give free drinks from the bar instead! Strike 1 to Merys!

Everything going smoothly until....

16.20 - Kick out first set of Chav Children for stealing, swearing and bad behaviour. Laugh in their faces as they threaten me. Male staff laugh at me laughing at them.

17.00 - Brown stuff hits the fan as restaurant runs out of chips. Make a mercy dash to Tesco.

18.30 - Clean play area, clean up after small energetic children's birthday party (play on swings when no-one is watching!)

18.45 - deal with second set of whining customers with less success, more free drinks.

somewhere between 19.00 and 22.00 time blurs. I know I ate and cashed up some tills, but that's it.

22.00 - throw last customers out and lock up. Rinse and repeat again tomorrow!

26 July 2006

I think the secret's out

So, I've returned to my summer job at the leisure centre, as manager of entertainments and leisure (bar, restaurant and childrens entertainment). Yesterday I had the joy of getting covered in chocolate cake while trying to keep candles lit and enthuse 'Happy Birthday to you' upon 12 little monsters.

My day consisted of fixing a blocked toilet, breaking and then fixing the office computer, taking bookings for childrens parties, locating the parents of lost children, balloon modelling and face painting. I've also balanced tills (with limited levels of success), and been asked to feel a lump on a member of staff. Apparently the secret's out - one of the staff thinks I know what I'm doing, and despite my protestations she wanted me to look at a lump on her shoulder. I sent her in the direction of qualified medical help!

Other than working and sleeping, I've done very little else. I've been beaten into dieting again, and am aiming to lose a stone before starting medical school.

Tomorrow night I have the joy of chav-watch at work, and the school holidays seem to make the leisure centre one of the most popular places to drink illegally acquired alcohol. It also makes more work for me, and humour for the staff watching me boot them out of the building, and then subsequently the car-park!

I love my job

24 July 2006

Homeward bound

Sadly, I am kissing goodbye to my university accommodation and an area I have grown to love. I'm currently sat in my teenage bedroom at home, trying to beat the computer with a shoe and wishing I had something faster than 56K dial-up.

Tonight I watched the first episode of the new series of Trauma on BBC1, and having done a large amount of observing with the ambulance service, I find it fascinating to watch how different ambulance trusts work. My dad commented that he couldn't understand how the hell I wanted to work with patients, but I guess he's just an antisocial middle aged man!

22 July 2006

Oh the times, they are a-changing

Since I'm packing up my room and saying my final good-byes to friends and colleagues, I've entered a period of reflection on my last 4 years as a student.

I shook hands with my (ex) bar manager, and cried while leaving the building, I've found presents never used or opened properly from ex-boyfriends, and photographs of friends long forgotten. It's a good and bad time equally.

I've realised just how much junk I've accumulated in the last 4 years, and how much technology has changed while I've been here. For example, I've just found a random assortment of floppy disks; I haven't used a floppy disk in the last 2 years at least, and haven't used a CDRW since gaining a memory stick for my birthday last year!

When I started university, no-one had a colour screen on their mobile phone, let alone a camera. None of my friends had a digital camera and we used to race to get films developed after a night on the tiles. I still used to listen to and buy audio CD albums. I haven't bought a CD since my 21st birthday, when I discovered the joy of the iTunes music store. Needless to say, my CD player is standing dormant in a corner of the room, unsure of whether to take home or not....

It's sad to be packing up, but satisfying at the same time. I know my parents aren't going to be pleased when they see just how many boxes we have to take home, but I can't throw most of the stuff out, so I just just have to be an ostrich and bury my head in the sand until the shouting subsides!

21 July 2006

Train Journeys

I recently had to do the long train journey home again, in sweltering heat in a carriage that seemed to be lacking in air conditioning. It's rare to be on a major train service that has the windows open!

As seen in the photograph, I need my collection of trashy magazines and good reading to keep me sane on the train and to avoid the distraction of the sweaty bloke sat behind me kicking my seat!

As we can see, I have a good book, 3 trashy gossip magazines, my LancĂ´me make-up compact, a handbag to store everything, and a Manfred Mann playing iPod (Blinded by the Light if you were curious!)

I don't know how I managed the journey, the second leg wasn't as bad, but it was all hotter than hell

Does this meet approval

I changed it again. Was hurting my eyes. I think I like this one.........

So I changed it..........

OK so I changed the design of the blog, and I'm not entirely sure I like it myself. I think it may make my eyes hurt after a while.

Any thoughts? Should I change it back, or are there any other nice layouts anyone can suggest?

20 July 2006

For posterity

"It's time to change the profile. I'm now a graduate, just started a Masters degree to try, yet again, to get into medical school in the UK. It may soon be time to quit... "

" ...Well, maybe I am a drain on society. I dunno. You tell me. I'm currently studying for a Masters degree in the field of health and disease, working as a bar maid and struggling to deal with lots of first year students. All I want to do is become a doctor...The quest is endless....... "

As pointed out by Emster, my profile should probably now change. For posterity, I've kept them above as a reminder of how hard it's been to get where I am now.

Oddly, I still can't relax. I haven't had the offer confirmed yet because the man I need to speak to is on annual leave, and no-one at the medical school seems to want to commit to anything. Instead, I'm still stressing that they might reverse their offer, or something crazy will happen.

18 July 2006

The healing power of football

And I'm not talking about the World Cup.

Recently I was working with a large group of teengagers for a conference. The question - how do you keep 30 Lower Sixth students entertained? Answer - a football. It always impresses me how well a large group of people can co-ordinate themselves around a football. Within 2 minutes we had jumper/coat goals and 2 teams!

Merys' only words of warning - please don't smash a window!

15 July 2006

12 July 2006


My eyes were prickling with hayfever and dust before the tears came. Lacking dignity, removing my glasses and crying on the bus. Making a spectacle of myself as usual - typical Merys.

I'd been phoning my family all day to see how She'd got on at the hospital with my Aunt, but no news had filtered down the family telegraph system.

The news came through as I was sat on the bus heading home. It was a tumour - unknown to be malignant or benign, and taking 2 weeks to gain any further information. She's fought cancer before, and was due to get the 'all-clear' this year, 8 years after previous treatment. This time it's different. Different location. Worryingly, the suggestion I've heard is for a full body scan to rule out other tumours.

The telephone calls sombre all afternoon, comforting my mother while expected to be the fountain of all medical knowledge - but I've not been given more than scant information myself. Feeling terribly useless, and just wanting to be at home.

My mother said She'd arrived home if I wanted to call Her. Selfishly, I couldn't - too afraid to cry down the phone and upset Her. She's a tough old bird.....

Last year I ran the Race for Life for Her - in support of her defeating the disease. Now it's come back and reminded us we're all mortal again. Please let it be benign.

She's My Grandmother, and I love her dearly. Please protect over Her.

11 July 2006

Lessons I have learnt the hard way

# I should always wash my hands before putting my contact lenses in - especially if the last thing I did (and had forgotten about) was slice shallots.

# Concealer stick hurts a lot if you get it into your eyes (same one as the contact lens problem - sadly)

# Dark sunglasses are usually suitable attire when the above 2 points have happened - even if they aren't prescription. No-one wants to see your 28 Days Later impression.

# Vicks vapourub also hurts when inadvertantly applied to the eyes (minus contact lenses thankfully)

The conclusions drawn - I need to wash my hands better and stop poking myself in the eye.

10 July 2006

Trying new things

My father has a wonderful expression. He says that you should:

"Try anything once - except incest and Morris dancing"

It's a general rule of thumb apparently! Anyway, imagine my parents' humour when I phoned them up and said (while trying to keep a straight voice and not laugh):

"I'm going Belly dancing!"

I had to interrupt the laughter to explain that yes, I was serious, and yes, I was going alone. I was determined to go and give it a try - I grew up with different styles of dance and still have a whole shelf of dance medals from childhood and teenage years.

Anyway, it was good fun, my stomach muscles have never been worked quite as well for a while, and in the words of dirty dancing:

"God didn't give you Maracas, if he didn't want you to shhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaakkkkkkkkkkkeeeeeeeee them!!"

And my oh my, did I shake them!

07 July 2006


I was away from the television today when the remembrance service was on - and I missed the 12 o'clock silence, but that doesn't mean my thoughts were not with the survivors and the families of those who perished.

On this day last year I'd been working an early shift in my local hospital. I'd been at work from around 8AM and was due to finish around lunchtime. Staff, patients and their families all huddled around the ward television trying to hear the news, while staff visiting the ward brought speculation of power surges in the underground, and France reacting to the Olympic success etc. No-one really knew what to make of it - but many staff were trying to contact family and friends in London.

Work came to an almost standstill - but it wasn't until my shift was over that we really knew what had happened.

Disbelief was common amongst all the staff and patients, but now my thoughts are with those with an involvement in 7/7.

06 July 2006

Out of sync

My circadian rhythm is well and truly off the boil. I had 15 hours sleep last night, finally nodding off just after midnight and waking (rather groggily) at 3.30pm. Needless to say, I'm awake now because of this - and with no dissertation to be staying up for, it's all rather frustrating. My answer last night was to start taking the muscle relaxants - but my 15 hour slumber has rather put me off the idea.

So apart from the viva, I have no committments. I am effectively a free woman - and i'm passing bricks at the moment because the results are out at the end of next week. The viva doesn't particularly bother me, because my mark can't go down, only up. In the event of passing, I could be off to medical school this September (which is a fact I still can't get my head around), and even if I fail, it's Paramedic school - which I daresay would still see me satisfied (and not getting in any further debt!)

This last academic year has gone hellishly fast, and I really can't believe that today marks my 18 month anniversary as a blogger too. Needless to say, I really want to pass this masters, because to say the least, it would have been a waste of the best part of 6 grand, and my parents would probably never speak to me again.

I got my thesis back from the binders today - and I'm sad to say that looking at my work all professionally bound up has filled me with pride. In fact it was commented on tonight (by a good friend) that I was in an exceptionally happy mood. And I am. To say my career is being decided as I type, I'm very un-stressed. I guess it's because there's nothing I can do. And it may also be to do with this:

....I passed the last module on my masters (the one from the strike)

.....meaning it's just my thesis I have to pass now. Guys, cross everything for me please!

04 July 2006


The only really appropriate title.
Don't you just hate it when you wake up and can't get back to sleep? Big Brother finished (and yes, I am now officially hooked) and I was exhausted, so I dived into bed and was asleep in no time. 00.58 arrived and I woke up, far too hot and far too awake, so here I am.

A similar thing happened last night, and it's just a pain. After going to bed on Sunday night I finally fell asleep at 05.45 on Monday morning. My sleep patterns were just starting to get back to normal as well, after the hell that was my thesis.

Never mind, thesis is now in and being bound, and it's just the viva and the unknown result to go.

So I shall go and be a good blogger and prepare some advanced posts since I'm wide awake.

02 July 2006

Great Scot

So, yesterday was a great day for British sport. As you may have gathered, I aren't referring to the football, but rather the stunning defeat of Andy Roddick by the cute wee Scotsman Andy Murray. Now that's a proper sport!

I can't really comment a lot on the football, because I don't fully understand all the rules - especially the offside rule. Although I did find this helped a lot (thanks to Anna, Fair and True for the link).

Anyway, after much huffing, puffing, pushing, heaving, swearing and personal injury (I gave myself a blood blister) - the iPod works, and battery life seems much improved. I am happy! (for a change).

Also, I have spent the last hour beating the printer with a shoe trying to get it to print out the final copy of my thesis. With little luck. In an hour I have 1 copy, when I need 4. It could be a very long night.

01 July 2006

A. Brute force and a blunt screwdriver

Q. How do you change an iPod mini battery?

My sincerest apologies

Since I'm currently finishing off my Masters, I'm going to be away from the computer for a while and stuck in the library preparing for a Viva*.

I'll still be around, and if you spot me on msn, or feel like adding me (bloodystudents@hotmail.co.uk) then feel free to keep me suitably distracted. ;)

It's just a waiting game now for that final exam result, and then all is done.

* Spoken/oral exam on anything from the last year of the course