Posted by: bluefoxy | November 11, 2016

Anniversary Of Birth Number 28

Monday 17th October 2016

Day 1 of the call centre course started off with an ice breaker, of course, where we told each other a bit about ourselves…and it turned out the guy teaching us used to work for WWE and TNA and even The Jeremy Kyle Show!
We got a bit of insider knowledge that some of the Jeremy Kyle staff were actually hired to wind guests up with whatever the other people were saying…they didn’t completely make up stories, per say, but they probably did some embellishing on a lot of them.

Then the day consisted of the group trying to figure out how to balance 12 nails on top on one single nail embedded in a block of wood.

One guy on the course had done it before, apparently, and produced an interlocking technique that worked perfectly.

Then we has to pretend we were terrorists planning to blow up a road.

Guess we just wanted to annoy the council with a new pothole.

The point was that even terrorism requires careful planning with a team of people in different areas of expertise, demolitions expert, electrical experts, communications experts, etcetera, with proper organisation.

Tuesday 18th October 2016

Group did some practice calls to each other, all of us pretending to be a company that sources hot dogs and anything to do with hot dogs.

Some of the group had a laugh with it.

I think I had one of the better scripts prepared.

I managed to get the third longest total talk and average time of the group on the tracker the tutor set up tracking how long our calls took, how many calls we did, etcetera.

Wednesday 19th October 2016

Did some more fake calls within the group pretending to be customers complaining to John Lewis agents about some missing PS4s or ordering some luggage from the website.

Then a maths tutor came in and did some maths with us to illustrate how employers may track employee performance.

The day ended with a bit on data protection and being careful about who you give the info to.

Thursday 20th October 2016

Did some live calls to some actual people on behalf of Job Gym.

We called some local garages to see if they’ll accept some e-mails from the marketing department about some government-funded initiatives where they send students for some practical work at those garages.

I didn’t think there were all that many garages around, but actually there were a few smaller, hidden, unknown one-man businesses hidden around Greater Manchester.

Friday 21st October 2016

Listened back to some of our calls from yesterday, finding out what needs to be improved.

Then we tried some more live calls today, but got a lot of folks we called responding with not interested or too busy. Must have been that Friday end-of-the-week feeling, I guess.

Tuesday 25th October 2016

Went to Work Solutions to work on my CV using the tips from Job Gym as a guide, refined with Work Solutions guidance.

Because my CV mentions some experience with radio, I mentioned the leaflet I took from the Jobs Fair advertising a radio course.

My advisor wants to see it at the next appointment on 10th November.

I also voiced my concerns that my CV looks kind of random and unfocused, but my advisor assured me most of my skills actually complement each other quite nicely, and any out of place ones just show I’m willing to branch out and try new things.

Monday 31st October 2016

Lav + I took a trip to Manchester to see how long it would take to get to the dental nurse course location.

Looks like it takes a little over an hour.

We then did some shopping and bought some new foods to try.

Today we tried pasta with pasta sauce and cheese with a chicken slice sandwich on the side.

It was interesting, something different, rather than having chips or potato waffles all the time.

Tuesday 1st November 2016

Had such a chicken meal today. Chicken soup and a sandwich with chicken slices and some kind of chicken “jam I guess you can call it. It had apricots in it, apparently. Not the kind of thi9ng you’d expect to see coupled with chicken, I wouldn’t think.

Thursday 3rd November 2016

Phone call from my Work Solutions advisor.

Apparently I’d been booked on another retail course.

Gotta get a mega rider voucher off them tomorrow.

Saturday 5th November 2016

Lav had her first day on her dental nurse course.

Bit of an icebreaker followed by some explanations as to what the job requires her to do.

Judging by the explanations, it sounds like she’ll have a lot to do and she has to work fast.

But hopefully Lav should be able to handle it all. They should give her time to learn the role a bit when she’s starting out with any job she gets, at least.

Monday 7th November 2016

Turns out this retail course Work Solutions put me on might be working towards a certificate I already have.

I gotta bring in my certificate to show them tomorrow and see if it’s the right one.

If it is…well, I don’t need this course…not much point working for a qualification I already got, eh?

Tuesday 8th November 2016

Yep. It’s the right certificate. That’s me off the course, then.

Thursday 10th November 2016

So my Work Solutions advisor pulled some wellbeing exercises for me to do at home.

First off, I need to try drinking more liquids coz I don’t think I’m drinking enough.

She showed me a sort of drinks bottle, which she said is a good measure of half a litre or something like that. She said it’s recommended you drink 2 litres of liquid a day. So four juice bottles full, pretty much.

I just so happen to have a couple of tango juice bottles at home so I can use those and put some still orange juice in them. Three of those, combined with my normal tea drinking habits, because tea is mostly water, should do the trick.

She also told me I need to exercise more, get more active. Plus I should look up some social groups in my area to join. And try and make some new friends.

Then Lav and I went to the three store and got me a nice, shiny, new smart phone. A Samsung Galaxy J3. It’s not the latest phone, but apparently the latest Samsung Galaxy is all over the news as being prone to EXPLODE IN YOUR FACE, so yeah.

Plus this was going fairly cheap…only £120 plus they added another £10 top up. I also got a flip wallet for it to keep it relatively protected in my pocket. I’ve seen lots of people using their phones in flip-wallets, so I thought I’d hop on that bandwagon. Might as well splash out the extra £15. Why not?

So yeah…finally got an upgrade from my wasted ZTE F390, I think it’s called, to a proper android smartphone! Yay!

Then Lav and I went food shopping and got me a chocolate cake and some custard to pour onto it for my birthday tomorrow. That’s gonna be delicious.

Friday 11th November 2016

Urgh…I’ve just completely lost all manner of excitement for birthdays since quite a while now. I think everybody loses that the second they become a teenager…and then it’s just all downhill from there…it gets worse every year, according to my parents. Not looking forward to that. Nope.

I wish I had the power to just stop ageing and live forever young.

I guess that’s all I have for this blog post.

Till next time,

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | October 16, 2016

Claims, Courses and Call Centres

Dangit, I completely forgot to update my blog at the end of September.

Oh, well…It’s not like I necessarily HAVE to update at the end of every month.

Let’s get started…

Wednesday 7th September 2016

Jobcentre says Lav was actually taken right off my claim for some reason. That’s weird, they said they would only put things on hold while she was in work.

Anyway, we have to start a new claim from scratch. <Sarcasm> Joy. </sarcasm>

We had a look at laptops in PC world. We found an Asus that would be perfect if only it had a quad-core processor instead of just a dual-core, but it’d do fine for tiding Lav over until we got a job and more money. Definitely be better than the old wasted laptop I gave her.

Monday 12th September 2016

Lav’s 2nd Hep B vaccine. One more to go. Then it’s the blood test. Then the year-long wait for the booster the accelerated dosage requires.

Tuesday 13th September 2016

Lav found a smexy-looking green gaming laptop from Argos for a reasonable price, except it appears to be out of stock everywhere, so she sent them an e-mail to try and find out why.

Wednesday 14th September 2016

Lav and I had our jobcentre interview to re-start our claim.

They booked her in to a group meeting to discuss useless stuff we kind of already know.

Friday 16th September 2016

Yep, the group session was about as useless as expected. On the bright side, we found some leaflets advertising a jobs fair next Tuesday. We can go to that see if there’s anything we can go for.

Monday 19th September 2016

Lav and I went shopping for some smart clothes and shoes for me to wear to the jobs fair and any other employment-related stuff I go to.

We saw a crane driving down the street. There’s something you don’t see every day.

We both thought the boom arm was gonna knock our heads clean off!

We also saw a kingfisher flying down the river from the bridge across to the Peel Centre.

Tuesday 20th September 2016

Lav and I went to the jobs fair. I guess it was fairly productive.

Applied to TK Maxx there.

Got some info on some websites and other stuff to check out.

I was also approached by a lady who recognised me from my time at Seetec.

She’s now working for a place called Work Solutions…she reckons they can help me get a job.

They’re gonna help me with stuff like Interview techniques and freshening up my CV and hopefully find me some fresh work experience, too. Well, I could do with all the help I can get, so I signed up.

Thursday 22nd September 2016

Well, this Work Solutions gaffe certainly seem to know what they’re doing.

They had me do some English and Maths tests, of course, but they also did a kind of personality test and a test to see what kind of teaching method I respond to best.

Maybe I can finally get some proper help to get a proper job!

Monday 26th September 2016

Went to Work Solutions again to review the results of my tests and make a plan of action.

Their personality test revealed I had silver stars in everything…even a gold star in one aspect! The only aspect I didn’t have a gold star in is something they think is a result of me being out of work so much, so really I just need a job!

I’m to e-mail my advisor my CV and cover letter template to see if they need improving at all and to also speak with someone from the National Careers Service to see if they got any retail or Customer Service courses I can go to in order to boost my CV a little bit.

Wednesday 28th September 2016

Today I got a very unusual phone call…

Let me try to explain it as best I can from what I understand…

So the woman on the other end was talking about how folks who have travelled with an airline on an all-inclusive holiday (all-inclusive meaning hotel and food) within the past couple of years or so are eligible for a refund of at least £1,500 per passenger.

This is due to, as I understand it, some kind of investigation that found that some European airlines were not up to modern standards of health and safety and other such legislation.

So she started asking me if I’d been on an all-inclusive holiday.

Well, as a matter of fact, I had. My girlfriend and I took a trip to Romania last June to visit her family as she’s originally from there.

We booked it through Wizzair and were able to add a hotel booking and a taxi ride to the hotel through their website for over half the price of what it would cost booking the three separately. Set us back a little over five hundred quid in total if memory serves me correctly.

So once I informed her of this, she simply asked me for my e-mail address so she can send me an e-mail with some information.

She then explained that, at no point, will they ask for any of my personal bank details or anything, simply the booking confirmation details and ATOL certificate of my flight, and my National Insurance Number. (NINO is a red flag right there…preeeetty sure I’m not supposed to give THAT out to pretty much ANYONE outside of the jobcentre and the bank)

Then her manager is supposed to ring me and forward me to their legal department to finalise everything and get a cheque sent off in the mail to my home address.

This all seems very fishy to my girlfriend (who was listening in on the call) and I for a few reasons.

One, It’s completely out of the blue random.

Two, that trip to Romania? Yeah, we booked it through an account my GF had already set up on the Wizzair website (from when she first came to England from Romania) with HER e-mail, HER details, HER phone number…I was just her plus one, pretty much. No real details, just my name. That’s it. Oh, and they didn’t really mention ANYTHING about my girlfriend being on their system. Oh and wouldn’t it make more sense to try calling her in the first place?

Three…I’ve been getting a few random phone calls recently telling me they had me on their database that I had a credit card, and I could be eligible for something they call “funds due” on that. Insert Family Fortunes wrong buzzer here I’ve never had a credit card in my life for fear it’ll open me up for a big shove into a pit of debt.

It’s likely I’ve been getting these calls lately because my mum put up an ad on Gumtree on my behalf to sell some stuff I don’t use and/or need and included my mobile number to contact me.

Huh…would you look at that…I checked my e-mail inbox for the e-mail they’re supposed to send me, and here it is!

I have made no edits beyond minor formatting alterations and censorship of sensitive info to protect the innocent and/or guilty.

I’m probably not the only one that’s hearing a robot voice as I read this;

– Good Afternoon

– Following our recent telephone conversation, I would just like to give you the following information.

– The Travel Advisory Line works along ATOL protected tour operators throughout the UK. We have a list of over 10,000 hotels and resorts, which in the last 3 years, at one time or another, have failed in food and hygiene checks. As a result there has been refunds set up for anyone who has travelled to the affected resorts and hotels.

– We have all the relevant details necessary to proceed with your application.

– Holiday: Romania All Inclusive

– Date: 2015 (Note: I accidentally told her 2015 because the trip feels so long ago now)

– Tour Operator: Wizz Air

– Please reply to this email with a copy of your booking confirmation and ATOL certificate and preferable contact time for my manager to contact yourself.

  • Full Booking Confirmation – This will be in your email inbox and should have been sent to you at the time or around the time you booked the holiday. If the holiday was booked in-store you would receive paper copes of the documents.
  • ATOL Certificate – Once again this is emailed to you around the date you booked the holiday. If you booked it through either Thomas Cook, Thomson or First Choice, then you will not have been issued an ATOL Certificate, as all holidays with these tour operators are ATOL protected and will have been full package holidays.

– Wizz Air Customer Services: -[number redacted]-

– Once we have received your booking confirmation and ATOL certificate, my manger will call you to process your refund. If you have any problems or queries regarding the process, please do not hesitate to call us on -[number redacted]- and ask for myself -[name of lady who called me]- or my manager -[manager name]-, and we will be more than happy to assist you in completing your application. If the line is busy for any reason please do not hesitate to email myself and ask for a call back.

– Thank you for your time and we look forward to speaking with you very soon.

– Kind Regards,

-[name of lady who called me]- (Travel Advisor)

– TRAVEL ADVISORY LINE Tel: -[number redacted]-

…yeah, after we thought about things a little bit, we realised this is a very obvious scam…

But yeah…plane holidays, that’s a new one.

Usually it’s PPI or something like that.

Her manager rang back the next day asking for our booking confirmation, and I told him I felt things were a bit fishy and got him to get me off their records.

Monday 3rd October 2016

So I had my meeting with the NCS agent and she differed me to Job Gym for a Customer Service course they got starting next Monday.

Lav + I ended up ordering an MSI gaming laptop we found for her. According to the specs, it should be just as powerful as my desktop. Pretty amazing considering the very reasonable price tag it had.

Should arrive tomorrow.

Tuesday 4th October 2016

Yay! Lav got her smexy new gaming laptop! No more being frustrated at the old wasted one!

Wednesday 5th October 2016

Got new computer mice (one for me, too) a laptop tray and an Ethernet cable for Lav’s new laptop.

Saturday 8th October 2016

We both got Team Fortress 2 and played a few practice rounds to learn the controls.

We need to get good before we enter multiplayer.

Sunday 9th October 2016

We both got Minecraft, now, too. Though we had to buy it twice to we both could have the full, non-demo version that we could play on separate accounts. Now we just gotta figure out how to get both of us playing the same world.

Monday 10th October 2016

Job Gym had me do English, Maths and IT assessments, then had me fill in my details on a form for their system.

Then there was a presentation explaining what Job Gym do to help me and the other people there get in work.

The course is gonna be 9 – 4 over the next 4 days. Kind of simulating a work shift, I guess.

Tuesday 11th October 2016

The teacher at Job Gym taught me some interesting things about CVs and cover letters.

Apparently you got to constantly update your CV, keep it fresh and tailor it to whatever job you’re applying for…I don’t know how, exactly, you tailor your CV to each job, but I’m sure I’ll find out as we go along.

Here’s a funny thing…we also got to view the CVs of 8 applicants for the position of President of the United States, and pick one to take the job in our group of four.

My group pretty quickly figured out which CVs were Trump and Clinton so they were out.

In the end they seemed to pick one candidate purely because they had some pet dogs. That’s nice an’ all, but not exactly the basis for who makes a good president.

I didn’t really get a good enough look at all the CVs to make an informed choice…I was gonna pick someone based on them having a lot of political experience…it didn’t dawn on me that it was a sign they may be advanced in years until it was revealed at the end which CV belonged to who…

…I was gonna pick Bernie Sanders!

Wednesday 12th October 2016

I don’t really remember what we were taught today.

Thursday 13th October 2016

I was interviewed by a work coach today. He mostly spoke to me about my CV and what he thought should be done to improve it…bearing in mind the CV he was reviewing was ALREADY altered by the teacher of the course I was on!

He pretty much wanted it reverted it back to the way I had it originally, only with a bit more bulk to my personal profile, a few suggestions for what to include in my key skills, and to add Hobbies and Interests.

Oh, and I learned I’ll be doing a call centre / telephone manner course next week. <Sarcasm> Joy </sarcasm>

I suppose I’m gonna have to look into call centre work if I’m ever gonna have a hope of getting a job.

Then my group of 4 had to design a board game.

We came up with something kind of similar to Trivial Pursuit, only for young kids. Easy Maths and English questions for the kids to answer. Get it right, advance a space, get it wrong, go back a space.

There were also some random cards which were just instructions to go back spaces, move forward spaces and miss a turn, stuff like that.

Friday 14th October 2016

Today we learned about what workers are entitled to by law in the workplace, such as a contract clearly stating their responsibilities in the job, their salary, breaks, holidays, sick pay, stuff like that, and the responsibilities of the worker to do their job and do it well.

As part of that, we covered bits about Health and Safety, as well as equality and diversity.

I think that just about covers everything that’s happened so far.

So, until next time,

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | August 31, 2016

Jabs, Jobs and Jaunts

Tuesday 2nd August 2016

So Lav had the first of 3 Hepatitis B vaccines…turns out it’s in the arm like any other vaccine…I guess that stuff about it being in the thigh is for babies or something.

Apparently it wasn’t too bad either…it helped that I kept her distracted, I guess.

The next one is on September 12th.

Sunday 7th August 2016

My parents decided we should all go for a walk up Werneth Low.

We didn’t really see anything interesting like a bird of prey or a skylark but it’s still a nice walk up there.

Wednesday 10th August 2016

I managed to get back in contact with Luna again…and among the things we talked about she told me that, employment-wise, her boyfriend was in a similar situation I was, but had signed up to a course with a guaranteed interview at the end…she suggested I ask the jobcentre about that and see if they can hook me up with something.

So today I asked my advisor…unfortunately all the ones they had available at the moment were either fully booked, the start date had already passed, or not in a realm of employment I’m interested in.

However, they DO have a jobs fair next Wednesday, so she signed me up to that.

Can take some of me CVs down see if I find anybody worth handing them in to.

Another thing we talked about was when we can hang out in real life so she can meet Lav.

We arranged something for next week Thursday.

Gonna be soooo awesome!

Wednesday 17th August 2016

So I went to the jobs fair, but…it was pretty naff.

It was mostly call centre stuff and care home stuff…nothing for me.

Oh…I finished another arty endeavour.


Thursday 18th August 2016

Lav had a bit of anxiety about meeting Luna for the first time at first…she got all panicky and scared and stayed quiet, but eventually she calmed down and opened up enough to get some words in before we all had to part ways again.

It was awesome to hang out with Luna again, and we’re hoping to do so more in the future soon as they know what’s going on with this warehouse job her boyfriend’s got.

Tuesday 30th August 2016

Managed to ring jobcentre and tell them of the change of circumstance, specifically Lav resigning work. They said we need to fill in a form and get a P45 from the care home.

Guess we need to sort out the P45 first coz we don’t have that yet…

So I guess that’s pretty much all that happened up until this point in time.

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | July 30, 2016

Injecting Some Fun

Thursday 30th June 2016

Had a couple of dreams last night.

In the first dream, I was a passenger in a car with my mom and Lavander and my dad was driving.

I dunno where we came from but we were driving into Stockport Town Centre from the west entrance.

My mom wanted something from Stockport market so my dad parked up at the new traffic light junction that’s been recently built, just…on the corner…blocking other traffic.

We were sat there while my dad was trying to figure out how to drive up to where Stockport Market is so he can drop my mom off right there.

This wouldn’t happen in real life…my dad is perfectly capable of getting us up to the St. Mary’s end of the marketplace.

Anyway, I remember in the dream saying I had a day rider and I could just go home on the bus, and I remember pulling out the day rider and showing everyone.

I have no idea why I had a day rider in the dream.

That’s pretty much where the 1st dream ends.

In the 2nd dream, I was riding my bike from home, down Lancashire hill, into Stockport Town Centre.

I arrived where Stockport Barclays is, and noticed someone there trying to get my attention…

For some reason, I couldn’t get my bike to stop. In my attempts to do so, I ran front wheel-first into a metal pole, but somehow that didn’t work…then I ran into the wall next to where the person trying to grab my attention was.

Their physical appearance was that of a skinny farm girl with white freckles.

But to my mind, she registered as someone I knew in secondary school but lost contact with pretty much after I left there.

That’s about all I remember.

Wednesday 6th July 2016

Lavander is still not happy with her job at the care home…so she decided to start hunting round for something better…and found a dental nurse course that’s starting in November.

Normally, this course would cost close to £3,000 but they seemed to have some kind of special offer on coz we only needed to pay a little over £1,000.

So, Lav signed herself up.

She’s supposed to do practical work in an actual dental surgery alongside the course itself.

They’re supposed to help her find a participating surgery to work in.

This would be a great step up from care home work…Lavander would be receiving more money for simply cleaning dental tools, handing them to the dentist, and a bit of reception work.

Much easier than everything she has to keep up with at the care home, at least.

She can just do a one-year course to begin with, then build up some experience at that level for a few years…then, if she wants, she can do a second year course, and become a full dental hygienist with an even bigger salary!

I suppose I can live with having a dentist for a girlfriend. Heh.

Thursday 7th July 2016

Apparently before Lav can work at a dental practise she needs to check to see if she needs a Hepatitis B vaccine.

We looked it up…it’s a course of 3 injections over a 6 month period. Arrrgh!

Monday 11th July 2016

So we checked with the local GP about getting a Hepatitis B vaccine.

We kind of realised the 6 month period will over-run the start of the dental nurse course.

So the GP looked in some kinda huge magazine o’ vaccines, and found that Hep B has an accelerated dosage…3 shots, 3 months…however, you have to come back and do it again next year.

So either way there’s no getting around it being 3 vaccines and a blood test.

Also, since the nurse course seems to be a private one and not on the NHS, we have to pay for the vaccines, apparently.

The GP suggested we ask the course provider about them paying for it, so we e-mailed them, but all we got was them suggesting we use a pharmacy for the vaccines instead.

So we contacted Stepping Hill Hospital and, as I type this, have an appointment on the 2nd of August for the first shot. Oh, boy, what fun. End Sarcasm.

Tuesday 12th July 2016

I completed a reference sheet for my ponysona, Typhoon, and managed to give him a pretty epic backstory, I reckon.

Wednesday 13th July 2016

My jobcentre advisor asked how my girlfriend was doing and I kind of explained about our plan with the dental nurse course, and they thought it sounded like a terrific idea.

They confirmed what I already knew, to ring the change of circumstances number when she leaves the care home so I can claim benefits again until she secures a dental nurse job.

Thursday 14th July 2016

So there’s this messaging service similar to Skype called Telegram. Only Telegram has these things called “stickers” which are like the custom emoticons of MSN Messenger.

This is like a pseudo Skype-MSN messenger merged chat program. Love it.

Anyway, Reddit was advertising a chat group on there for anybody interested in paganism…since I was interested in the Pagan Wiccan faith thanks to Luna, I decided to see if I can get some info and help from there.

A guy I spoke to on there kind of helped me realise that, since Norse mythology seems to feature quite a bit in various avenues of my life’s interests, it could be a good sign to follow the heathen branch of the pagan faith, at least as a starting point to get me going.

The heathens praise the earth mother, which is perfect for me since I’m into nature and animals and all that jazz.

I’m picking up some other stuff from the group too…like there is such a thing as fox magic…

Apparently there’s some fox deity that has a history of kind of jumping around the different pagan religions and can’t seem to settle on a particular path…sounds like she’s just investigating them all like a curious foxy to see what she likes…there are special shrines to her dotted about the planet… though, of course, none in the UK.

That could be something for later in life…me, erecting the first British shrine to the fox deity Inari and introducing her to the Norse/heathen pantheon, since it seems she hasn’t investigated them like a curious foxy yet.

Sunday 17th July 2016

Last night I dreamt I was in some kinda church courtyard, and there were birds EVERYWHERE.

All kinds of birds, too. There was a family of owls on top of some kind of pole-mounted birdhouse, and a second owl family nestled on some kinda platform on the side of the church.

There was a kestrel flying around, as well as a bunch of blue tits, great tits, sparrows, starlings, and all sorts of other birds…way too many to count.

Tuesday 26th July 2016

Another dream…this time of what seemed like an animé about some students who were having some kind of party in one of the rooms in their school.

It seemed to be quite a big school too…or at least very tall, because I remember at one point there being a shot of one of the characters falling out a 3rd or 4th story window and cartwheeling to the ground, and there were definitely more floors to the building above that one.

That’s about all I remember. The details of the party itself are kind of fuzzy.

Friday 29th July 2016

So there’s this new avatar-based site kinda similar to Ernya called Furvilla.

I found out about it earlier this month via Reddit and decided to sign up to the beta.

It looks pretty good so far…it’s not perfect but they’re still working on it…that’s what betas are for!

It’ll admit, it was kind of boring at first…though I may have myself to blame for that since I tried to pick animal husbandry as my career and didn’t get very far.

Things really picked up once they opened the forums. I quickly assumed my role as a social butterfly and talked to some people.

Well, today the forums were down for a bit because the mods wanted to clear some spam, but they also had a chatroom, so I decided to check that out.

I started talking to a guy called electro-cat…

…he started asking me stuff about what it’s like to be a fox and what a blue fox looked like…

…I showed him my fursona reference sheet…

He says “can I draw him?”

I says “Sure, you can have a go if you want”…I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting anything too special anytime soon.

In pretty much no time at all he whipped up a lineart…

I was like “that was fast”

He was like “fastest paw in the west”

I believe it.

Then, about another amount of no time later, he pumped out this.


Ah…buh…whu…guh…*dies from awesomeness*

He also gifted me 100 FurDollars (the premium monies) so I can upload a paintie of my fursona to use for my villager.

That guy’s generosity knows no limits.

I finished the ponysona reference sheet for Lavander’s ponysona! Yay! And I managed to come up with quite a good backstory for her, too.

My parents had a new stove delivered to our house to replace the old one we had that was wasted.

And that’s pretty much everything that’s happened this past month.

Ciao for now.


The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | June 28, 2016

Referendum Ro-Mania

Wednesday 1st June 2016

Still no sign of the luggage at Pound stretcher. Apparently they were supposed to be delivered today but no sign.

Lav’s mom offered to give us Lei to spend rather than us using our own monies. Lav thinks this is a good idea. I guess I think so too.

However, Lav’s parents also revealed they want us to spend the first few days of our trip with them. They’d booked a hotel in the mountains for themselves and us.

Lav’s parents seem to be the kind of people who’re like it’s their way, or no way. Absolute control freaks who don’t seem to understand that other people need to do their own thing, even if they are related by blood.

However, when Lav protested, Lav’s mom pointed out Lav is there to visit them, not go sightseeing in Romania. I suppose they have a point there.

So I guess we gotta put up with it. It’s only a few days, after all.

Thursday 2nd June 2016

Lav is already much happier at the new care home. It’s so un-busy there that she actually ended up spending a couple of hours sitting watching TV or playing on her phone!

Saturday 4th June 2016

Lav and I had a bit of a discussion. Seems before we met each other, we had both pretty much buried our lives in the internet and Second Life to the point where we knew practically nothing else.

Now we want to build a real life together. Though it’s not going to be easy.

I need a job. We need our own place together. And that’s just for starters!

While all my life I’ve dreamt of being famous somehow, Lavander doesn’t think she’s ever really had a dream like that.

Tuesday 7th June 2016

So I’d been working on a new reference sheet for my fursona for a few days now, only I’d failed to inform Lavander of this fact until now, when a I kind of revealed it during a conversation, and Lav got upset because she felt I was keeping things from her.

I Posted on Reddit to see if I can get an explanation for why I’m keeping things secret for no reason but Reddit got the idea that I was acting normally because I wasn’t really doing it intentionally.

Really Lav was just upset because she was worried I was keeping bigger secrets from her but right now I don’t think there are any.

Wednesday 8th June 2016

Lav + I decided to meet up in Stockport to see if we can get a luggage case from Argos because we saw one we liked on their website…but then we couldn’t find the one we saw on the website in their catalogue, so we decided to just go home and order it online, something we should have done in the first place.

We should be getting it on Friday.

Thursday 9th June 2016

I pretty much 100% completed the reference sheet for my fursona I was working on.

Making it an animated gif was a stroke of genius on my part. More information can be included in a limited space, like with Furaffinity’s max image size dimensions.

Now to start work on the reference sheet for Lav’s awesome kitty fursona.

Friday 10th June 2016

We got out luggage case, now to start packing.

Monday 13th June 2016

Arrrgh, it’s only two more days till the Romania trip, and we still have quite a bit to do to get ready.

Lav still needs summer clothes, She also needs a shower and to wash her hair.

We also got to decide what to take for food, and get some pounds to take to exchange at a bank in Romania because we don’t want to rely entirely on Lav’s mom.

This is so new and scary.

Run away.

Tuesday 14th June 2016

So this happened.

Thursday 16th June 2016 – Romania Trip Day 1

It was such an unusual experience flying in a plane for the first time.
I got used to it after a while, though.

It was an uneventful flight, not much turbulence. Textbook landing.

We were expecting our transfer to the hotel to be a bus or a van or something for multiple people but actually we got a guy taking us in his car.

I was kinda half expecting him to be not our driver but some shady kidnapper taking us to some Romanian mafia gang to harvest our organs but nope, he got us to our hotel just fine.

We spoke to the hotel receptionist and apparently they didn’t have our booking in their list.
So something went wrong somewhere. Lav was telling me they were ringing other hotels finding a room to transfer us to, but in the end it turned out someone cancelled, and we could stay at a room for tonight and then switch to another room for the rest of our time here.

Lav’s parents came and brought us pizza with chicken and mushrooms…I guess I can say I tried mushrooms for the first time but I didn’t really pick up any mushroom flavour. I think it’d be better if I tried mushrooms on their own from a packet rather than off a pizza.

Friday 17th June 2016 – Romania Trip Day 2

We spoke to reception asking what our do is, turns out we get to keep the room they put us in. Cool.

So we went to see what we can have for breakfast, and they had a very weird selection.

Hot dogs and sweet buns and cheese and tomatoes and cereals among other things.

I tried the cheese but it wasn’t very nice. Tried tomatoes to see if I like them but I don’t.

Then Lav’s parents came to pick us up and they took us to a cable car in the mountains. Pretty fun.

It could only take us about half way up, apparently it was too windy for the full trip to the summit.

We tried to walk uphill a bit to a restaurant, but turns out that it had been closed for a few years now. Bummer.

So we just went back down and had food at a barbeque place at the halfway point.

I got to try Romanian sausages and mustard for the first time. The sausages were good, but I didn’t like the mustard.

Then we tried to find the hotel in the mountains Lav’s parents booked. It was very well hidden.

Ended up having a local Romanian kid running along chasing our car till we found the place!

Saturday 18th June 2016 – Romania Trip Day 3

Long car ride to Lav’s grandma. I kind of thought the whole point of being out so far from Bucharest was that the grandma was way out there, but actually she was just a few miles out from Bucharest.

Still, I thought the back yard looked rather stereotypically Romanian…not that I know what a stereotypical Romanian garden looks like, I just kind of got that vibe.

Tried some traditional Romanian dish that was like meat and rice wrapped in a cabbage leaf called sarmale. It’s…edible. Much nicer if you eat it with bread.

Anyway, after the grandma, we were taken back to our hotel. Seems we’ll have most of the rest of our Romania visit to ourselves.

Anyway, we decided we wanted to try order something from the hotel menu to be delivered to our room.

So we decided on breaded chicken and boneless chicken legs with mashed potatoes and pancakes with ice cream for dessert.

But then the phone wouldn’t work, so we had to go to the front desk, who informed us that the restaurant that served the meals on the menu was discontinued for some reason.

Which is weird, because if you’ve discontinued your room-delivered meals, why do you still have a menu in the rooms?

So we ended up ordering a pizza from pizza hut with profiteroles and some Fanta.

While we waited for that to be delivered, we were really thirsty.
First we had some peach drink from the minibar, but it was tiny and did not satisfy, so we looked into having some tea since we now have milk to put in it, but one of the cups was chipped, and the plug cable for the kettle doesn’t reach the socket.

We got really stuffed from the pizza. We seem to be getting stuffed from Romanian food a lot.
Guess we’re used to smaller portions thanks to what I picked up from weight watchers.

Tomorrow we’re checking out a market and a local park…I need a hat and some sun tan cream. Romania has some seriously sunny weather!

Sunday 19th June 2016 – Romania Trip Day 4

Lav and I went to see if we could find a ticket booth so we could ride a tram to the market and then the park.

We ended up finding the market on foot first, so we went around and bought sun tan cream for me and some other stuff for lav. Sun tan cream was very expensive though.

We ended up with not a whole lot of money left from the 250 Lav’s mom gave us on day 1.

We continued walking down the road and spotted some recycling bins. Lav informed me that Romania doesn’t have much of a culture with regards to recycling…at least, not as much as England does.

However, it is then I noticed there wasn’t much litter blowing about the streets. Definitely not as much as there is in England.

Lav informed me that there are sometimes people of foot sweeping the streets, keeping them clean.

So, despite the lack of recycling, Romania is suprsingly cleaner than England.

Anyway, we finally found a ticket booth.

Lav was able to pay for 6 travels…she has to pay twice for the two of us on each travel though so really we had 3 travels.

Anyway we got a tram to the park and found a big lake there with boat rides.

One of the boat rides was 10 monies per person, and we only had 17 monies on us.

Then we found another trip going for 5 monies per person. We debated going on it for a while but we agreed we’d need more monies for drinks and snacks.

So we just walked some more. Saw a couple of black swans and some unusual brownish duck I’ve never seen before.

Lav took some pictures with her phone so we can look it up later.

Then we found some peacocks. I had no idea there were other species of peacocks, until I saw normal ones with harlequin ones and a gorgeous imperial white.

We spent what was left of our monies on ice creams and juice.

Then we had to go visit Lav’s parents at her former home.

Had steak and mash there and got some money from the country grandma from yesterday and a bit more from Lav’s mom.

We’re gonna use it to pay for more travels so we can go see the train station and then ride that boat on the park lake tomorrow.

We want to have a cup of tea, but the kettle in our hotel room has what appears to be a tiny bit of rust at the bottom and some weird black stuff on the filter. Lav thinks it’s wasted.

We asked to see if we can get a replacement but the hotel checked and it seems they not only don’t have any better kettles, but they also have some even worse ones.

Lav got upset because she feels she finds too many little problems and she’s worried I find that weird in a bad way.

She gets weird about being weird. Weird-ception, but I’m always able to help her feel better.

Also it appears we picked up some fleas from being around unclean animals in the mountains and Lav’s grandma’s house.

Monday 20th June 2016 – Romania Trip Day 5

We figured out which trams to take to get to the big train station…so then we hopped on the tram to get us to that ticket office and get more travels…but then we realised the tram we were on also stopped at the train station anyway.

At the train station we got to see a few interesting trains, going to various places such as the mountains we went to, plus the beach and other cities far away.

When one train pulled in to the platform we were watching from, we decided to be random and go inside, walk through and come out the other end.

I tell you what, those carriages may look dirty and banged up on the outside but it looks very nice on the inside.

Talk about don’t judge a book by its cover!

Then we got on a bus that supposedly went to the park we went to yesterday but then it passed our hotel and Lav got confused and we got off and walked a bit and then took the tram we took to it yesterday.

Only this time we paid for a trip around the lake on one of the boats. It was pretty fun.

After the boat trip, we had some bubblegum ice cream from one of the stalls, then we tried some lemonade but it tasted weird. Lav says it was too sweet.

On our way out of the park we passed a street vendor selling those bubble pots, and Lav bought one coz she wanted to play with one since yesterday, apparently.

We took turns blowing bubbles, coz we’re both kids at heart.

We then made our way back towards the hotel on the tram but then stopped at a restaurant to have dinner because we were fed up of having pizza every night.

Romanian chips and sausages. Not bad.

Also they had their own lemonade…and I think it’s the best lemonade I ever had!

Such a strong taste…all the other lemonades I’ve had must have been watered down or something.

We then got a whole load of dessert stuff from a shop in the market and then returned to the hotel to relax.

Tomorrow we pretty much got nothing to look forward to but the plane journey back to England.

Not as nervous now that I know what to expect.

Tuesday 21st June 2016 – Romania Trip Day 6

I actually think I’m gonna miss being in Romania…I don’t know, maybe because we were able to do so many fun things, and there aren’t many fun things to do around where I live in England.

I’ve definitely picked up on the language a little bit, especially since some of the words are very similar to English words, like ambulanta for ambulance, poliţia for police, florarie for florists, I guess magazine for general shops since those shops do sell magazines and newspapers, scoala for school, aeroportul for airport.

Yes is da (bit of Russian there), no is nu (I keep thinking of the “nuuuu!” gesture in SL)

Then there are words that’re not so close to English.

Thank you is mulţumesc, fine or good is bine or bun (pronounced boon).

Strangely enough, Romanian for room is camera…and photo camera is camera too!

Anyway, we got our cab to the airport, got through customs, got a Romanian flag fridge magnet souvenir from the duty free shop, and then had to take an airport bus to our plane.

Flight was pretty standard again. Lav and I were able to buy a model of the plane as another souvenir.

Bus from airport to Milton Keynes, train from Milton Keynes to Stockport, bus home.

And it looks like we’re doing it all again next year. Sheesh!

Friday 24th June 2016

So yesterday the UK had a vote on a referendum to decide whether to remain in the EU or leave the EU.

Originally when the debate over our EU membership started, I was all for us leaving.

But then I met Lavander…and my love for her made me question my reasoning.

Then I joined debates on the subject on Reddit…and discovered many of the reasons the government is telling us we’re having our vote aren’t very good reasons at all…they’re issues that’ll still affect us whether we stay or we go.

Reasons like immigration…just because we’re leaving the EU, you think that’s gonna stop people coming across our borders if they really want to? No. Sure, we can try to impliment more controls but ultimately people will still come…and it’s not necessarily a bad thing, so long as those people contribute to our economy like with a job or something. if they have a skill England can use, it’s all good. The real problem is people who come here and sponge off our admittedly way-too-generous benefits system, or those who are here with malicious intentions.

Reasons like the NHS…If I understand that situation correctly, the NHS has one paw in the grave and three paws on a banana peel as it is even if we had stayed in the EU. Lack of funding, lack of workers, lack of equipment, lack of everything.

Reasons like the economy…there’s no guarantee the UK’s economy will boom or bust after leaving…(sure, bank shares are plummiting now, that’s to be expected, the market is in panic mode)…nobody knows for sure what the economy’s gonna do…you COULD make the argument that it’d be stronger as part of the EU economy as a whole, but I’ve come across some rumors that the EU superstate is doomed to fail as well. Though it also has greater ability to bounce right back with all the countries working together.

Reasons like the nation’s security…to this day terrorists are still getting into major cities all over Europe and causing havoc. No matter how tight you make the net, they’ll find a way through. Need I remind you of the 7/7 bombings? In our out, There’s still a chance something like that could happen again at any moment.

Ultimately it all boiled down to where you wanted the UK’s political powers to be, home in Westminster, or abroad in Brussels.

But here’s the thing…you know all the seats the UK had in Brussels? Apparently, somehow, they’re all held by members of the UKIP party, and guess what? They refused to attend any negotiations with the EU out of pure spite.

So we don’t even have a voice in Brussels anyway!
They had the power to override any UK political decision we make, and we couldn’t object!

And now, 52% of the population has shown the UK as a selfish, self-centered, entitled whatever of a country who believes it deserves better than any other.

Uh, no. No country deserves better than any other. that’s not how it works.

Sure the EU is looking shaky and you may not like it, but relatively speaking, it’s still in it’s infancy, and still trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

The UK should have just been patient with it all.

Why were the general public even tasked with making such an important decision without even knowing all the correct facts?

I was even kind of expecting this to go to an even 50-50 split down the middle. The first honest tie in voting history.

Though it is pretty close to an even tie. Heck, the fact that it’s so close might even trigger a do-over. At least, I hope it does, and this time I hope the UK public can make a more informed decision.

Even Nigel Farage admits the result being so close means, to put it in his words, “unfinished business”

Either that or the governments will probably just go “nah” and ignore their decision and keep the UK in the EU anyway.

The only reason I still voted leave is because I honestly felt it’s actually better for the EU. They hate the UK’s guts for various reasons, they just refuse to admit it.

We’re much friendlier with America, anyway.

We shall have to wait and see what the future holds.

Lav still has another week or so off from work, so we decided to spend that time trying to find a couples rental for ourselves, and today we went to a viewing we had booked.

I tripped on a pet gate at the bottom of the stairs before climbing up. Didn’t realise there was still a metal bar at the bottom when you open it.

The room was very small, and the landlord looked very young. I think she was a teenager.

So I think we’ll pass.

When we arrived home, Lav ordered a computer monitor for me online. She’s really concerned about my eyes still occasionally getting wasted from the TV screen I’m using.

Saturday 25th June 2016

Today we were going to view another property.

We had walked but a meter or two from the front door of my parent’s house, and in an instant it was absolutely throwing it down.

Fortunately we decided to grab my umbrella before leaving because we had actually heard thunder a few minutes before.

Then as we were crossing the main road, lightning struck, and it must’ve been somewhere very close by because Lav actually felt a tiny electric shock hit her ear from the metal pole of my umbrella.

Then we got confused finding the place because we thought the address was 108a, and we had walked, like, halfway down the long road it was on before we double-checked and found it was 180a and we had walked right past it…we even SAW the correct number on one of the doors!

We and a bunch of people showed up because it was a group viewing, and the place was a full flat with plenty of room.

But then we found out that bills weren’t included in the rent. Rent was £430 a month, electric bill was estimated at another £50, gas is yet another £50, there’s council tax, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Yeah, no, not in our budget unless I get a job.

Speaking of me getting a job, we then went on to Davenport with some copies of me CV, because I heard from my mom there’s a SPAR and a pharmacy there looking for staff.

After handing one of my CVs into the SPAR, we decided to buy a couple of bottles of strawberry milkshakes from it coz we were thirsty. I had Lav go to buy them because I thought it’s be weird for me to buy something right after applying for a job there.

Anyway, after handing my CV into the pharmacy, I managed to get a papercut from the packaging of the milkshake bottle I had, and then Lav did right after from hers.

It was not our lucky day today at all.

Anyway, we’re thinking we need to save up a bit more money first before we try again. We’d need to pay a deposit on any rental we get, and deposits are usually the value of 2 or 3 months’ worth of rent, we find.

Monday 27th June 2016

The new monitor arrived in the mail. It’s a VGA connection.

We discovered my PC tower’s VGA socket is covered by some hard plastic thing marked “do not remove”, which is kind of strange, and it’s screwed in with screws that have star-shaped heads.

Managed to find a star-shaped screwdriver in my dad’s toolbox. Lav wants to find out what’s going on with my PC’s VGA.

We opened up my PC and found the VGA is connected direct to the motherboard along with everything else, so it should work.

We tried it to see what happens, but the monitor showed no input signal.

So we tried plugging in the VGA from the ancient-as-the-Egyptian-pyramids Packard Bell desktop to see if that works, and it does.

We tried the Packard Bell VGA cable with my PC, but no dice.

I guess my PC’s VGA socket just doesn’t work for some reason.

Lav found an article on the internet that it might just be disabled through the BIOS or something.

She was thinking to ask Reddit to see what they say about it.

My dad then pointed out that my eye strain what we’re trying to fix with this new monitor might just be from me spending hours staring at a computer screen indoors every day rather than getting some natural light every once in a while. He has a good point, I suppose.

That, plus me not really liking how small the new monitor is, made us decide to go back to the digital TV I’ve been using before, and let my dad use the new monitor with the Packard Bell since he’s been thinking of replacing the Packard Bell monitor anyway because it has some kind of chip on it, and he’ll try and pay us the 60-odd quid we spent on it.

Lav looked up the issue again, and found the graphics card is on a separate circuit board from the motherboard, so even if we did find a way to make the VGA work, it still wouldn’t work very well if at all.

So yeah, I don’t think we would ever have known this beforehand.

At least the new monitor will find a use with the Packard Bell.

I made the finished reference sheet for Lav’s fursona into an animated gif and uploaded it.

It looks pretty awesome if I do say so myself. She definitely loves it.

Tuesday 28th June 2016

Huh. We thought the care home would only pay Lav a couple of hundred quid since she only worked a handful of days this whole month, but nope, they gave her the full monthly amount.

Anyway, she’s back in work today. Not too happy about it, but she gotta do what she gotta do.

Well, I think that’s about all I have to update you on so far.

So until next time,

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | May 29, 2016

Care To Pass With Luggage

Sunday 30th April 2016

Did a dry run to find the passport centre where I’m having my interview.
It was actually very easy to find, just opposite that future skills place Lav and I went to when we were looking into apprenticeships for her, down the road a bit and in a side street.

Went shopping with Lav and got a digital clock from Tesco to help us keep track of time.

Monday 2nd May 2016

Whelp, we’re officially going to Romania!

Lav and I decided to look again at prices for booking and we decided to book it all up before the price starts to rise from getting closer to the departure date.

We got it all set up and ready, we’re heading off on the 16th of June, and then returning to England on the 21st.

We even added the minibus to take us straight to our hotel after we land in Bucharest.

We also ordered some train tickets to get us down to Milton Keynes, and then it’ll be a bus from Milton Keynes to the airport…we made sure to get a train that’ll arrive in Milton Keynes a good two or three hours before the plane’s due to depart…the bus takes about an hour to get to the airport, if I remember rightly…hopefully we’ll have enough time to catch our flight.

By the time I get my passport we’ll be within the month’s window for the free online check-in.

So the next thing to do is get a luggage bag for some luggage we’ll need to take with us.

Seems they’ll allow a small one on for free, max dimensions 45 long, 25 wide, 20 deep, I believe.

We shall see if we can locate one that fits the bill.

Wednesday 4th May 2016

So a manager at Bryn Haven Care Home where Lav is working has noticed Lav is struggling to keep up with the fast pace and many demands of the patients there.

Rather than send her back to the unemployment lines, they’ve decided to give her a transfer to a slower, easier job at another branch of Borough care, a place called Bamford Close in Cale Green, next to Edgeley on the other side of Stockport.

She’s getting a 21 hour shift there.

Weird thing is she was talking to a co-worker who does a 21 hour shift at Bryn haven and she was thinking it would be nice to get a 21 hour shift herself, and boom, instantly this manager appeared and offered her this transfer!

This is not the first time Lav has predicted something coming true.

If you look back to my entry for last November, you’ll see that we kind of predicted our getting a fox sighting that one day!

She’s got some kind of psychic powers, I just know it.

Anyway, we had to ring the new care home and arrange a bit of a meet-and-greet…and they actually arranged for us to come round tomorrow!

Thursday 5th May 2016

We went to find the new care home. It wasn’t too hard…they weren’t kidding when they said the 313 bus went right by the entrance.

Nothing too eventful about the meeting there. They showed us around a bit, explained what’s what.

We had to ring Bryn Haven to find out when the transfer was going through…turns out Lav has to suffer through another month at Bryn Haven before she can move over! That sucks.

Tuesday 10th May 2016

I reckon the Interview at the passport centre went quite well.

They just asked me a bunch of security questions to make sure I am who I say I am.

Should get my passport in a few days.

Thursday 12th May 2016

Got a letter in the mail from Knowhow telling me my care plan payment failed.

Well, obviously.

I’m not even sure I want to keep it anymore.

On the one hand, it keeps me from having to pay for any expensive repairs if my computer goes wonky, on the other hand, I don’t have an income, and I’m not sure I want Lav paying for it.

I mean, as long as I’m careful, my computer’s not likely to go belly-up again.

Why pay for something I’m not likely to use?

Then again, who knows what might happen? Better safe than wasted.

This day also had a surprise for me.

My passport arrived in the mail!

I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon. Only 2 days after the interview? Wow.

And especially considering the postman had already been to deliver my Knowhow letter.

Saturday 14th 2016

I’d decided to not keep my care plan, so I rang Knowhow to inform them of my decision.

Advisor on the other end told me it had already been cancelled. Huh. Fair enough.

Monday 16th May 2016

Had an awesome chocolate cake and custard to celebrate the anniversary of Lav and I officially getting together in SL.

Friday 20th May 2016

After much humming and hawing, I decided to download Avast antivirus. Might as well give it a try and see how good it is, since it’s free. Should be sufficient since I’m usually quite careful about my browsing on the internetz.

Lav is worried the upcoming referendum of the UK’s membership in the EU would mean she’d have to leave the UK if the UK voted to leave the EU.

But after posting our concerns on Reddit, and looking it up with Google, and then thinking about it calmly, we reckon, since she’s already here legally, it should be fine.

Heck, there are probably a whole bunch of people who are EU migrants who’ve established a whole life here with family and whatnot, if the UK government started trying to kick them out, there’ll be riots and whatnot.

Not to mention, the EU might consider the oppression of its citizens an act of war…and it could easily escalate to world war 3, prompting mutually assured destruction nuclear armageddon, with the mushroom clouds and the radiation and the zombie apocalypse, guh-haven.

I don’t think the UK’s government is THAT stupid.

Tuesday 24th May 2016

Managers at Bryn haven are asking Lav if she’s sure she wants to go ahead with the move to the other care home, as co-workers have been giving positive feedback on her work.

Lav still feels she’s being worked too hard and finds the patients difficult, she wants an easier job, so she’s still moving.

Saturday 28th May 2016

Went shopping and bought some tiny toiletries to being to Romania, among other things.

At some point this past month, we discovered Pound stretcher do luggage bags of various sizes.

But after consulting the max size of the free small luggage for the plane, we discovered that Pound stretcher’s smallest luggage bag size is just one centimetre too long lengthwise.

We decided we might need a bigger bag anyway, because we need to take a bunch of clothes, some toiletries, and a few other things, and a bag that’s 45 X 25 X 20 might be too small for it all.

We’ll have to pay a small fee for the larger baggage…and we’ve decided to get our money’s worth. Pound stretcher’s next luggage size up is 1 cm shorter lengthwise than the max limit of the medium luggage size for the plane, and I don’t think our stuff’s gonna make the bag bulge beyond that.
Heck, we’ll most likely have more than enough room for everything!

We were planning to eventually get that medium bag from Pound stretcher, however…

Today (28/05) as we were getting some more shopping from Pound stretcher, we discovered their luggage shelves were looking decidedly bare aside from two luggage bags, and a worker was putting barbeque stuff on them…I hope they didn’t discontinue selling the luggage, we’re not sure where else we’d get it!

Lav is going to ask them about it on her way back from work tomorrow (29/05).

We also need to get some Romanian Lei to spend for food and drink and stuff in Romania.

We figure £100 worth (which converts to over 500 lei) should be more than enough…but it seems no banks covert to Lei, and the places that do it either have a minimum of, like, £300 or more, or have to charge a fee.

The cheapest fee we’ve found is Debenhams, so we want to go to the one in Manchester and ask them how we do it.

We also wanna get some euros for the plane flight so we can buy food from the food trolley they’ll have on there, coz we’re not allowed to bring our own food for security reasons.

Bloody terrorists.

So that’s our situation so far.

When next I post, I’ll have been to Romania!

I’ve never been on a plane before…it’s gonna be such a wild, new experience!

To be honest, I’m a little bit nervous about something going wrong

But it’s only a quick 3-hour hop…Lav got over here fine enough.

I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about.

Still, wish me luck, internet!

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | April 28, 2016

Summon, Switch, Counter, Weather.

Posted by: bluefoxy | March 28, 2016

Job Get, PC Problems and UFOs, oh, my!

I think I’m gonna stick with the chronological order of events to help explain all that’s happened between my last blog post and this blog post. It just works.

Monday 29th February 2016

So Lav and I went to the jobcentre to ask if I can have more time to get the info on Lav’s job.
After some discussion it was agreed that I fill in the form I have with what I can and send it off via the jobcentre’s internal mail system with a note to say Lavinia is due to get a job but she hasn’t been given a start date yet and we don’t know the full details.

They also revealed that if she works more than 24 hours, I lose my claim.
Funnily enough, we do know she happens to be working EXACTLY 24 hours, with potential to be increased to 28 hours somewhere down the line.

The good news is she’s being paid about twice as much for one week’s worth of work than I get paid every two weeks in jobseeker’s allowance, so it’s no big deal that I lose my allowance, she and I will still have money coming in.

Lav contacted the care home, and apparently they want her to go to Stepping Hill hospital to be tested for tuberculosis coz Romania is or was a high-tuberculosis-risk area.
Let’s put it this way, if Lav had tuberculosis, by now she’d probably be dead, I’d probably be dead, and there’d probably be reports on the news of a TB epidemic sweeping Britain and possibly the world, coz that’s how contagious it is.

Tuesday 1st March

So I decided to try and update my external hard drive again today.
Plugged in the powered USB hub, plugged the hard drive into a port on the hub, no dice.
Tried a new cable, tried connecting it to my dad’s laptop, nothing.
Tried it on my old laptop I gave my love, nada.
I think this time the hard drive itself is wasted somehow.

At least I have all my important files saved on outlook OneDrive and my pen drive.

Wednesday 2nd March

This morning I started up my computer and, after the start screen, my monitor displayed Firefox open with a Youtube video I watched yesterday.

Okay, weird…I didn’t even ask for Firefox to be open yet, it was just open by itself…and my Firefox homepage is set to Google.

Then, in the bottom-right corner, a notification telling me I need to restart my computer to fix drive errors. No other information. Oh dear.

So I obidiently hit restart…then it showed the HP logo and white text below it “preparing automatic repair”, followed by “diagnosing your PC”…then it goes to a screen saying “your PC did not start correctly, Press restart to restart your PC, which can sometimes fix the problem. You can also press ‘advanced options’ to try other options to repair your PC”…I hit restart…but it just loops right back round to the same error message.

Lav + I decided to try and see if we can fix the issue ourselves with the help of Reddit, so I don’t have to send it off to Know-how, though I may have to, which means I’ll have to buy another emergency hard-drive to rescue my files. Mostly so I don’t lose the paid-for software I got on my computer.

Kind of strange how my PC went kaphut a day after I tried to connect my external hard drive and it failed.
I can only wonder if that had something to do with it…but how on earth does a failed external hard drive connection cause a drive error?

Lav had her blood test. Apparently it’ll take a week for the results to come through.

While waiting for the bus to Stockport, it snowed briefly!

On our way back through Stockport, we stopped off in Cancer Research UK and I found another awesome fox statuette for my collection, and Lav found lavender oil for 99p!

Thursday 3rd March 2016

I got a phone call from the Jobcentre today, a lady saying I urgently need to set up an appointment for me + Lav to add her to my claim.

So we ring up their helpline to set the appointment up, but first we’re told my girlfriend needs to start her own claim first. So then we rang the helpline to start a new claim, and THEY said to set up an appointment to add her to my claim! WTF? I guess we’ll have to go to the jobcentre tomorrow and get them to explain what we need to do.

Attempts to fix the PC ourselves have so far been fruitless.
We’re thinking to just go ahead and reset it since I got almost everything backed up anyway.

Friday 4th March 2016

It snowed again today. WTF?

We tried a normal keep-my-files reset of my computer to see if it would work, but it didn’t.
Had to do a factory reset, lose everything and start from scratch.

Turns out I didn’t have things backed up as well as I thought I did.

I can’t locate my antivirus disc, I can’t locate my product key for Microsoft Office, the product key I have for video pad doesn’t work and the key recovery is not giving me the key for Sound tap for some reason.

I now kind of regret my decision to nuke my PC, especially considering I didn’t have to…I coulda just sent it off to Know-how and they would have at least been able to rescue my files because I did find out that, whatever the error was, it didn’t seem to have affected my computer’s actual hard drive.

It would have meant no computer for two weeks but I’d have found other ways to entertain myself.

We went to the jobcentre and found out Lav had to apply online for a new claim and include me as her partner. We’re now waiting for contact from the jobcentre to tell us when our appointment is.

Saturday 5th March

Lav got a text message from the jobcentre saying her appointment was next Wednesday at 11:05. Funnily enough, my next sign-on is the same day at 12:30.

I found my MS office product key. I’d hoped it was together with my Kaspersky disc but nope.

No sign of my Kaspersky anywhere. I hope I didn’t bin it. I can’t have. It would have been too important. I must have put it somewhere safe…if only I can remember where.

I really need to keep better track of stuff.

Monday 7th March 2016

I think my eyes suffer from a bit of light sensitivity. Starting at the TV screen I’m using for my computer monitor makes them all red and feel tired. But today, some reflected sunlight off of a window made them extra tired.

Wednesday 9th March 2016

So we went to the jobcentre and told them about Lav having a 24-hour-a-week job just as soon as her blood test comes back, but they still wanted her to sign on same as I do, and job search and everything, and give them a call when she starts working.

It’s a lot of messing about for what’s probably going to amount to nothing.

Thursday 10th March 2016

We contacted the hospital to see if we can get an update on the progress of Lav’s blood test…and the nurse suddenly got the results just as we called!

I swear, we must have some kind of special powers or something, this is getting freaky.

Anyway, the results were clean, no sign of any TB in the blood.

She wants Lav to come in tomorrow to scratch her skin for some kind of allergies test.

Then on Monday Lav’s gonna get the actual TB vaccine.

Then we can call the care home and Lav can start working.

Friday 11th March 2016

So they injected Lav with a really small needle, just underneath the skin of the forearm.

Apparently this is actually a reaction test to see how she might react to the actual vaccine.

The nurse asked me if I had a TB vaccine from school at all.

I don’t really remember getting TB…I remember Meningitis, Tetanus, MMR, the salty oral Polio…

…MAYBE TB was in there somewhere. I think I do vaguely recall a tiny needle like the one they used on Lav being used on me at some point during primary school. That would have been followed up by the actual vaccine a couple days later, I reckon.

Monday 14th March 2016

We returned to Stepping Hill for the results of Lav’s reaction test.
A slightly inflamed rash-like reaction on the injection site told the doc that Lav must’ve had the TB vaccine at some point in her life before, which means she doesn’t need another, she’s already safe for work.

Yay! No more needles!

We rang the care home and gave them the good news. They gave Lav an appointment to see them tomorrow to discuss a start date and work schedule.

Tuesday 15th March 2016

I escorted my love to Brinnington one more time to be sure she finds her way okay, and then let her go into the care home alone since I likely wouldn’t be allowed in anyway.

Lav came out with a rough draft of her schedule and a start date this Thursday.

She’ll be observing for a few days, then doing supervised work for a few months.

We rang the jobcentre to cancel her claim. Apparently I’m to sign-on as normal a week from tomorrow, and it’ll take 10 days for them to process the cancellation for some reason.

Wednesday 16th March 2016

Saw some kinda UFO at around 9:15pm. Took a video of it. Uploaded video to Youtube the next day and shared it with Reddit, and they reckon it’s a cheap consumer-grade drone.
Huh. I have seen videos of drones before but the ones I’ve seen had solid white and/or blue lights, not flashing red ones like I recorded.
However, Reddit showed me a drone that looked like it could indeed make the lights I saw.

Thursday 17th March 2016

After seeing Lav off to her job, I went down Stockport to get us 2 jars of sweetener for our cups of tea as we had run out.

After procuring said sweetener and accepting a carrier bag to carry it in, I randomly decided to get us some soup.

ASDA had 4 cans for £2. Bargain.

I also got a loaf of poppy seed bread for dunking in the soup.

Walking home, I was about 3/4ths of the way there, when the carrier bag disintegrated out of my hand. The sweetener is in glass pots, and one of the pots smashed, sweetener powder everywhere. I was lucky it wasn’t both pots.

Learned a valuable lesson about taking a strong bag with me whenever I go shopping in case I get random urges to buy something other than what I planned.

Luckily a passing Good Samaritan gave me one of her bags for life to carry the rest of the stuff home.

Friday 18th March 2016

I e-mailed the creators of Video pad and Sound tap to see if they can give me a new product key or the version of the product the key I have will work with.

They could only give me the Video pad version the key I have works for, but no luck with Sound tap. Guess I’ll have to cut my losses and buy a new key when I next need Sound tap to record something.

Sunday 20th March 2016

Went shopping with Lav and got her some smart shirts and pants for her work and more pots of sweetener for our tea.

Monday 21st March 2016

I’ve decided to cut my losses, forget Kaspersky because it sucks, and try another anti-virus.
I asked Reddit for some suggestions, but didn’t get much of a reply, only a couple of comments, one suggesting Spybot and Malwarebytes, another saying AVG (my second choice after Kasperky) sucks and I should have either Avast for free or Bitdefender for paid.

I quite like the look of Bitdefender actually.
I might go look in PC World see if they got it on offer or something.

Tuesday 22nd March 2016

I made cups of tea of myself and Lav while Lav was at work. I’m going nuts!
Funnily enough, when I texted her to tell her this, she revealed she was just thinking a cup of tea would be great right about that moment!

She returned home with a booklet and it revealed she will be paid monthly, not weekly.
Since she just started, I guess we’re not likely to see any money until April.

Wednesday 23rd March 2016

This morning Lav and I got a bunch of letters in the post from the jobcentre, obviously saying since Lav is in work now, our joint claim is over, but beyond that it was kind of confusing…they seemed to say I was back on my singles claim and I wasn’t at the same time.

I happened to have my sign-on today anyway so I decided to bring the letters along to see if my advisor can make sense of them.

With some help from a co-worker, she worked out that yes, I’m no longer getting any income from the jobcentre, however I still need to sign on as normal and keep looking for work so the government still pays for my national insurance, and that any gaps in payments to my national insurance will make it so I might not get my full pension amount when I get my pension when I reach, like, 70.

Bottom line is I’m now free to switch banks to Barclays more or less whenever I want without having to worry about losing any money. I still don’t want to do the switch JUST yet…maybe in April, and I can use one of those letters I got this morning as proof of address.

Lav revealed she has to carry some stuff around work and she doesn’t have a good way to do so, but saw one of her co-workers with a fanny pack and figured that was the solution to her problem.
So we went shopping for one after the jobcentre…Primark do them, but for £7…we decided to see if we could find somewhere cheaper, and luckily one of the Stockport charity shops had one for half that price! It’s a bit dirty, but Lav gave it a wash once we got home.

Thursday 24th March 2016

According to Lav’s Schedule she had days off until Saturday, but today she got a phone call from the care home saying she was in today. WTF? She explained her schedule said she wasn’t in, and the care home accepted there must’ve been some kind of mix-up and she was ok to come in on Saturday so they can figure out what went wrong.

Friday 25th March 2016

Lav and I had a curious look at how much it might cost us for a trip to Romania this summer.

Looks like we’d be paying somewhere in the region of £100 per person per flight for plane tickets from London Luton, plus about 60 euros a night for the two of us in a hotel near Bucharest city centre, plus the train tickets to and from Luton, which I remember costing me around £25-£30 on for when I initially went to pick up Lavander.

And that’s not counting the money we’d have to spend on food and travel in Romania.

It’s all more expensive in August because EVERYONE wants to go on holiday in August, obviously, so we’re thinking July instead, coz it’s a BIT cheaper, though not as cheap as June, however we reckon June’s too soon after Lav started work.

Still, I think we’ll be pushing the £1,000 mark for a single trip.

We’ll look more into it when we feel more ready to book the whole thing.

Saturday 26th March 2016

The fanny pack we found still has some kind of sticky dirt residue on the inner lining. No time to clean it off, so Lav sewed on a plastic bag lining to protect the stuff she has to carry.

This may only be a temporary measure until we go looking for somewhere selling brand new fanny packs in Stockport again, or we may permanently stick with this, we’re not sure yet.

Sunday 27th March 2016

Lav + I wanted to go on a bit of an Easter egg hunt today, see if we can find somewhere selling some smallish ones, so we can buy one each…so we agreed to meet up in Stockport after her work shift today.

As I waited for her outside Sainsbury’s some storm clouds rolled in and pretty suddenly absolutely threw down some hail and rain and flashed some lightning as I took cover under the overhang of Sainsbury’s roof.

Lav arrived while the rain was still throwing and we were talking about calling off our little Easter egg hunt when the rain dissipated just as suddenly as it had arrived.

So we decided to take a closer look at the pound shop coz I wasn’t sure if it was open or not…turns out it wasn’t open. Nuts. So we headed home together on the bus…but agreed to first check the co-op near my house to see if it was open…turned out it was!

We got some packets of mini-eggs and some Kinder Joy eggs.

I’ve had Kinder Surprise before but these Kinder Joy ones were made differently…I’ve never seen them done like this before…though Lav says she has. Weird.

Well, it looks like that’s everything I have to tell you about so far.

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | February 28, 2016

The Keys To Almost Success

I kind of like how well posting each occurrence chronologically under the date it occurred worked for conveying all the multitude of things that happened in my last blog post, so I’ve decided to continue it for this blog post, because yeah, a whole load more stuff happened between then and now.

Sunday 31st January 2016;
We were out of tea bags…and being British as I am, that’s red alert right there, so I decided on a mission to go get some more from the local shops.

Passing by the local post office, I spotted someone’s car keys laying on the ground.
I immediately thought of someone with less-than-honorable intentions snapping the keys up, locating the car they belong to, and boom, some car owner’s life is ruined.

Being someone of good intentions, I decide to pick the keys up and, after purchasing the much-needed tea bags, I take them home to examine them for any way to contact the owner.

There’s no ID on the keys, no home address, no phone number, nothing.

My parents return home soon afterwards and I inform them of my find.

My dad grabs them and heads back to the post office and has a quick look round the cars parked there for a car with the logo the key has on it, but, moments later, returned with no luck.

So he decided to scan the keys to his computer and make a “keys found” poster to put up in the window, and later that day, according to my mom, he was able to reunite them with the owner.

My dad’s pretty smart…he probably made sure the person in question proved they were who they said they were.

Monday 1st February 2016;
So we went to the jobcentre to explain the situation with Lavander and to ask if it affects my claim.
They said I should tick the box that says “someone joined the household” and write a letter explaining what’s going on. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Then we went to the police station in Stockport to ask about the DBS check.
They basically confirmed what I was thinking, that it’s weird an employer would ask us to go do one when the employer is supposed to do it.

So we decided to contact the care home and ask them how they want to do it. We failed to get through, though, we’ll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday 2nd February 2016;
Lav managed to get through to the care home…turns out THEY are actually trying to get in contact with Lav’s references from the nursing school, and if the references are satisfactory, then they will invite Lav over for a DBS check with them.

All we can do is wait and hope, and maybe try to contact the school ourselves and explain what’s going on.

We also decided to see how long it takes to get to the care home by bus.
It takes roughly 20 minutes or so, so if Lav is able to set off, like, 40 – 45 minutes before she has to start work, which should give her plenty of time to get there in case the buses are late or something.

Wednesday 3rd February 2016;
Lav found a website for a job agency who has experience with Romanian applicants.
The website says this company works with the nursing school she’s from regularly, so they’ll know how to contact them quickly.
Sounds like an awesome back-up plan in case the care home falls through.

I wrote that letter to the jobcentre explaining the situation with Lav and sent it with the change of circumstance letter. We’ll see what they say.

Sunday 7th February 2016;
Lav and I went to Chadkirk Chapel with my parents.
We saw a couple of buzzards and a kestrel or two!
That’s what we get for not bringing our cameras!

Monday 8th February 2016;
Lav + I were resting and getting cosy, cuddling in bed, when suddenly her phone rang.
It was the care home…Lav’s references checked out!

They booked us in to their head office to set up the DBS check and get that ball rolling this Thursday.

The weird thing is the pair of us were just thinking about the care home, wondering how it was getting on…though we didn’t say anything about this to each other until after the phone call!

More and more we seem to encounter situations where we’re both thinking the same thing…like we have some kind of mind link. It’s crazy.

The references were gonna be our major stumbling block…we weren’t sure if they were going to work, but apparently they did!

Lav hasn’t even had any kind of interaction with the police, so she definitely does not have a criminal record, the DBS check is just standard procedure at this point.

Tuesday 9th February 2016;
We got a bank statement from Barclays for the DBS check and the money to pay for it.

I don’t remember if I mentioned this in my blog a couple of months ago or not, but I was having some issues with my external hard drive. For some reason, when I plugged it into a USB port in my computer, it wouldn’t show up on the list of available drives to store data on.

Well, I voiced my issues on Reddit, and for a while it seemed to just be chalked up to a compatibility issue, until one intrepid user suggested I try a powered USB hub.

We went to Maplins and found a 4-port one that seemed to fit the bill…but we were worried it didn’t have packed with it a plug with the correct jack to slot into the power inlet on the thing, because it didn’t mention one on the packaging, so I asked the staff if they sold one.

The staff member said that the 7-port hub definitely came with the right plug and suggested I buy that instead.

Eh, alright…but we’ll be keeping the receipt safe so if this doesn’t work we can get a refund.

What do you know, it DOES work. My external hard drive came right up on my computer’s available save drives once we connected it via the powered hub.

7 USB ports is way overkill right now, but meh, can’t complain about the results. I’m sure a use for them all will pop up in the future.

Wednesday 10th February 2016;
Jobcenter sign-on. Kind of a normal one…no mention of the issue with my love.

Then my love and I went to Holland and Barrett because we found out they had an offer on Lavender Oil, making it pretty cheap.

Until now, I’d forgotten about Holland and Barrett during our exploits in trying to locate Lavender oil for my love to use.

Still, pity it’s only a temporary offer…it’ll go back to over £5 for a 10ml bottle just like everybody else is selling it for.

Why IS Lavender oil so expensive, anyway?

Thursday 11th February 2016;
So we found the head office for Borough Care where they wanted us to do the DBS check.
We had everything they needed…except…we need a 2nd proof of Lav’s current address.

Crud…we didn’t think we had anything…that was until she went through a list of things we can use.

Utility bill? No.

P-45 or P-60? No.

Letter of confirmation from our GP?
AH! That, we can get. Good job we signed her up to my GP already when we were looking into using her as a reference.

So we finished up what we could with what we had, and the DBS check was on hold while we went to enquire about a letter of confirmation from the GP.

GP’s receptionist says they require a letter of request clearly explaining what we need and why we need it…nothing special, just something for their records.

No problem. We went home, wrote one out, printed it off, and went back to hand it in.
They said to check back Tuesday.

I got a new bank card from Santander in the post today. Weird…I still had, like, 6 months left on my old one…oh, dear, kind of a waste considering my plans to switch to Barclays in the near future.

Friday 12th February 2016;
When checking my online bank statement, I discovered I’d been charged £69.99 for my subscription to Norton!

Goddammit, I thought I didn’t have that anymore!

Plus, I’m using Kaspersky now!

Well, I don’t think there’s a lot I can do about it since the money’s already gone…I deleted the bank details for my Norton account on their website. Not that they’ll be much use by next year anyway coz I won’t be with Santander anymore.

Valentine’s Day 2016;
One of the perks of my relationship with Lav is that I’m doing things with her that I most likely wouldn’t normally be doing by myself.

With her, I’m trying new things that I haven’t tried before, or haven’t done in a long time.

For instance…I haven’t created and eaten home-made pancakes since childhood…yet over the past couple of months or so we’ve been baking some home-made ones using an easy recipe we found on the internet, and it’s awesome!

I also got to try mild cheese slices and German salami…turns out I like both!

Monday 15th February 2016;
We went to the GP to enquire about that confirmation letter.

They say it costs £10. No idea why. Meh, best not question these things.

So we went down Stockport to get some money and do some shopping and then popped in and paid the £10 on our way back.

They told us to ring tomorrow and see if it’s ready.

Tuesday 16th February 2016;
I got an envelope from the jobcentre, it contained a form saying “application for re-assessment”, and on it, a note in pencil saying “Fill in to add your partner”

Now, I’m not sure if it means if they’re asking me “Would you like to add your partner?” in which case, no, because she’s on the cusp of getting some employment, or if they’re telling me I HAVE to add her because it affects my claim in some way.
I’ll have to go ask them.

Lav rang the GP to enquire about the letter, they told her it would be ready Thursday.

I also got a phone call from Grove training. They got my retail certificate.

I wondered what happened with that. I told them I’ll come pick it up on Thursday.

GP letter, Jobcenter, Grove Training, we’ll do all 3 in 1 day on Thursday.

Wednesday 17th February 2016;
Yesterday evening my dad informed me my cousin Joanne is about to give birth to a baby boy.

The kicker? Yeah, the father of the baby’s done a runner.

The way my dad informed me of this seemed to suggest he expected me to do something about it.

The fact he was drunk might have something to do with that.

What does he expect me to do when he informs me of stuff like this in this way?

First of all, I got my own problems to deal with, with the jobcentre breathing down my neck about my girlfriend, plus my plans to switch banks.

Second of all, I don’t think I have even heard a PEEP about Joanne since that time you took me to that house she had just off the main road where she had all those Furbies because that fad was in full swing at the time.

Man…the story of a father doing a runner is the kind of thing you hear on the Jeremy Kyle show all the time, and you never think it’ll happen to your family, yet here we are.

And that’s exactly how I suggested we deal with that fleeing father…get Jeremy Kyle to get him to grow a pair. My parents have their doubts JK can help…I just thought it was worth suggesting.

Apparently Joanne has a full-time job and a load of people are giving her free baby clothes so it seems she’s sorted. I guess she’ll have to decide for herself what she wants to do about the runaway sperm donor.

Thursday 18th February 2016;
We went to the GP and we got our 2nd proof of address. Lav rang the care home and they booked us in for tomorrow to hand it in to them so the DBS check can start.

Then we went to the jobcentre…and they said yeah, I NEED to add Lav using the form they sent me…apparently her income will mean I’ll get a reduced claim amount.

Meh, no biggie, Lav will be bringing in PER WEEK over TWICE the amount of money I get from the jobcentre in a fortnight.

We just gotta wait for this DBS check to go through, and then I expect they’ll give her a copy of some kind of work contract detailing the days she’s working, the hours she’s working, and the money she’s earning. I can make a copy of that to send as evidence to the jobcentre with that form.

Got my retail certificate from Grove Training, and duly updated my CV.

Friday 19th February 2016;
The DBS check ball is now rolling.

Thursday 25th February 2016;
The other day, my mom went to the Virgin Media mobile store for a new phone.

While she was there, they randomly decided to have a look at her account, and it turns out she’s entitles to a FREE upgrade to a new set-top box and modem, as well as free landline calls, for a lower bill price than what we’ve been paying for our old setup.

She’d have been stupid to say no to that!

The stuff came in the mail today, so while my dad did the awkward, time-consuming job of setting the new stuff up, Lav and I had a walk down Reddish Vale, since the weather was nice.

I took my camera with me and snapped a few awesome robin pictures…as if I didn’t have enough of those already…

It was all set up by the time we came back, so now we should have a much better internet connection!

Friday 26th February 2016;
I got another letter from the Jobcenter today saying they hadn’t received anything from me about the annual verification of my claim…

Like hell they haven’t.

…And I have until March 4th to contact them or my payments may stop.

I think this might’ve been sent by their automated systems because they hadn’t updated anything about me on there coz they’re still waiting for this stupid form they sent, and my love and I are still waiting for a call back about this DBS check.

So my love rang the care home to see what’s going on…and, from what we understand, they only SENT the DBS form out on WEDNESDAY!
Say what? We thought they were supposed to send it out IMMEDIATELY.

Apparently they SHOULD have something by this coming Monday, so they told us to call them back then and see what’s up. If they haven’t got anything, they’ll chase it up for us.

This means I’ll have to go to the jobcentre again on Monday and ask if I really do have a time limit on sending this form back…if so, can it be extended?

Even if we have the “all clear” from the DBS check, we still have to see what day they want Lav in to start work, and when, exactly, they’ll be giving her the work contract detailing her shift patterns and her salary for me to forward to the jobcentre.

Also, apparently, when Lav first starts out, she’ll be put on a 3-month probation period, and will only get the money she paid for the DBS check back after that…we’re not sure if that means she won’t be paid any salary during those 3 months or she will be being paid salary during those 3 months.

If she’s not being paid, maybe that’ll mean the jobcentre will give me the joint claims allowance for those 3 months.

If she is being paid, Lav’s bringing in a very reasonable salary each week.
So either way, more money for the pair of us.

Still, all this waiting around to clear up all these issues is very frustrating.

Hopefully we can get all this sorted soon.

Ciao for now,
The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | January 29, 2016

A Bit Of Luck And Judgement

Oh, man…so much has happened this past month…I think the best way to tell you all of what happened is to go through each important event I wrote down on my diary chronologically, each under the date I wrote it in, and hope it all makes sense.

Wednesday 6th January 2016;
I looked up how to inform my standing orders of a change in banks to Barclays.
Photobucket pretty much said to cancel my subscription with them and start a fresh one once I have my new bank account.
I decided to have a look at the space I used and realized I was still only using the free storage space and none of the paid for space…I was only paying for the unlimited bandwidth for some pictures that were being viewed a lot…I deleted the stuff I didn’t need anymore, and just cancelled the payment. Should be okay.

As for Knowhow…well, for security reasons, I can only inform them of a change in banks via phone call if I want to keep the Care Plan payments going.

Urgh…I hate making phone calls. I don’t know what it is…maybe it’s because I haven’t used them very much in my life anyway combined with my general social awkwardness when it comes to talking with strangers.

Tuesday 12th January 2016;
Lav + I went to Hilltop care home to ask if they had contacted her nursing school for references yet.

Turns out they don’t have an opening for a job yet, and they’ll contact the school for references when something opens up.

We’ve decided there’s no point in waiting around for this one care home to have an opening…at first we thought of going straight to Jobwise…but then we realized we, ourselves, can look around for jobs in other care homes in the Stockport area.

Wednesday 13th January 2016;
I went for my jobcenter sign-on today.
Somehow my file on their system now says I have a girlfriend living with me.
Not sure how that got on there…MAYBE because of the fiasco with the Rusholme jobcenter as we were looking into joint claims? I dunno.
It started a conversation with the adviser anyway, them asking about what my GF was doing pretty much, and me explaining we decided it wasn’t really worth her getting JSA because it’ll only go for 3 months.

Anyway, I asked them about if I can tell them in person of a change in banks and the adviser said yeah, just bring the new bank card in. Perfect.

Also got my haircut + sent the driving license renewal form off in the post. (got the updated license in the post a couple of days later..that’s fast!)

Thursday 14th January 2016;
Lav + I felt scared + depressed about our situation last night.
I decided to be honest with her about a couple of things, like me having a part of me that feels bringing her into my real life the way we did was a bad idea.
Also the fact that I’m not really all that interested in going with her back to Romania to visit her parents in the summer.

She was understandably upset at what I said…she reminded me that if I gave up on her, on us, she would likely start hurting herself again and probably even kill herself, because she really does love me and has never felt love like this for anyone else and she doesn’t want her life to go back to what it was before because life sucked for her in Romania and it would suck way worse if she went back.

We talked it out a bit and honestly I think we both feel a lot better about everything because of it.

I’ll be honest, though, that part of me that thinks bringing her into my real life was a bad idea?
That’s not going to go away until she finds a job, is able to keep that job, earns her own money and is not dependent on me anymore.

Friday 15th January 2016;
Lav + I tried to visit Russel Fox Court care home just a little ways north of us in Reddish and another care home a little further up the road but it looks like they don’t take random visitors.

We learned they are both run by a company called Anchor.
Looked on the Anchor website but they don’t seem to be recruiting right now.

Lav searched for other care homes and came across a company called Borough Care, who apparently specialize in care homes in the Stockport area.

The website says you gotta ring a number for an application pack. Lav’s gonna ring them on Monday.
Fingers crossed for a good answer!

Saturday 16th January 2016;
It snowed today! And the snow is actually covering the ground! Awesome!

Sunday 17th January 2016;
Lav + I managed to build a snowman family.
I’ve never been able to build a proper snowman before, but now I have!

Monday 18th January 2016;
Well, now I’ve seen everything.

A little while ago (I’m not exactly sure when, but it’s at least a week) my love tried to wash some clothes in the washing machine, but it broke down, possibly because she put too much in at once. Honest mistake, she didn’t know, I guess.

Turns out the warranty on the machine had JUST run out recently, too. Typical.
Whether Lav broke the machine by overloading it or whether it was doomed to fail anyway because of the lack of warranty is up for debate. Point is, our washing machine’s busted.

So my parents have to go buy a new one…being short on funds as they are, they find a pretty decent-looking cheap one in a local shop…just a little something to cover clothes washing duty until we can afford a better one.

We’ve only had this washing machine, what? A couple of weeks?

Well, today, it caught fire.


I thought I smelled something burning coming from the vicinity of the washing machine a few days ago, and Lav agreed…we went to tell my parents but, strangely enough, the smell was gone when we came back to the kitchen with them.

First I knew of the fire was the smell of something burning that both Lav and I caught at about the same time as we were lounging in my bedroom…just then my mom called me down to help my dad.

I entered the kitchen and saw the washing machine smoking. Like, billowing tonnes of smoke out the front…but I thought it was JUST smoking and my dad wanted to get it out to find out why.

So as I was helping him get it out the back door, it suddenly dawned on me…

Me: “Hey dad, is it just smoking or is it actually on fire?”
Dad: “It’s actually on fire”

We rolled it upside-down on the back garden patio…sure enough, flames were billowing out the open bottom of the machine.

My parents dumped buckets of water over it and the fire was eventually snuffed out.

Have you ever seen a washing machine on fire? Well, now I have!!

In all the years I’ve lived in this house with my parents, which is like my whole life thus far, never, ever, EVER has ANYTHING caught fire (Not counting the fireplace and the gas cooker because those are controlled fires for warming things up)

Of all things to be the first thing to catch fire.


The fricking washing machine.

By design, it SHOULD NOT be able to catch fire…cos it’s full of water when in use, right?

I could only laugh.

It’s a good job we were all home or that would have been the whole place up in smoke and maybe the whole block of houses with it.

And just to prove Murphy’s Law was in full effect, my dad then says “what else can go wrong?” and IMMEDIATELY his watch strap came loose from its hinges so the whole thing fell off!

My dad made a phone call, and managed to get a free replacement this same day.
Yup, a replacement for the replacement. *INCEPTION HORN*

As the delivery guy was installing the new machine for us, I overheard him talking to my dad about product recalls and said “This is a first for me”

Lav then rang the Borough Care phone number…and the person on the other end directed her to an online application on the website!!

Why the EFF would you have the website saying call a number for an application pack if you take online applications from the website?!?!?

Tuesday 19th January 2016;
We keep noticing the number 69, or a number featuring 69 in its digits, pop up in random places and various contexts in our lives.

House numbers, the price of an object such as a mattress or a car, website links, video game scores / in-game money amounts, the potential weekly salary of one of the jobs Lav applied for on the Borough Care website…the list goes on!

We got a phone call from Borough Care…Lav had been shortlisted for an interview at their Brinnington branch on her birthday, of all days!
How’s that for a birthday present? Your very own job!

I went to Barclays to ask about how to switch to them from another bank.

They want three things;
1) A form of identification such as a passport or driving license. Got a driving license, so that’s sorted.
2) The details of the account you have with the other bank. I got my bank card in my wallet, sorted.
3) A proof of address that’s 3 months old or younger. Don’t have that on me right now.

I was SURE I had a letter from the jobcenter or something back at home…so they booked me an appointment to sort everything out in on Friday.
I searched my paperwork…nothing 3 months old or younger.
Dang…maybe a full bank statement from Santander?

Wednesday 20th January 2016;
Lav + I went to Santander to ask about full statements.
Turns out they don’t print them out in branch like Barclays can, they have to request one to be sent in the post.
Had to go to Barclays and cancel that Friday appointment and wait till I get that full statement in the mail.

Friday 22nd January 2016;
At some point between Tuesday and today, Lav got another phone call from Borough Care saying she got another interview in Offerton on the day BEFORE her birthday.
We both had the same idea. We were going to use the Offerton Interview to give Lav an idea of what to expect so she’s more mentally prepared and confident for the Brinnington Interview.

Monday 25th January 2016;
So we went to Offerton for Lav’s interview there.
I’d never properly been in Offerton town before. I’ve been past it, but not in it.
First time for everything, eh?
It took a while for us to find the place because Lav’s phone maps couldn’t quite locate the EXACT position of the care home itself, and after asking directions from a postman, we discovered it was RIGHT THERE on the roundabout slap-bang in the middle of the town.
Turns out there was a mix-up. The person that sent the e-mails gave out the wrong date.
The interviews were actually on the 26th…my love’s birthday…well, we can’t come to the Offerton one because we got the Brinnington one to go to!
So much for using Offerton to prepare for Brinnington!

Tuesday 26th January 2016;
So I took Lav along the shortcut through Reddish Vale to Brinnington…the really muddy one round the back of where my grandma used to live…at the time, I forgot about the other, less muddy way through the main entrance and round by the Trans Pennine Trail and up a road on the other side.
I only remembered that other route after we had already long committed to this first shortcut.

Anyway, after using a puddle to clean the mud off her shoes, Lav and I soon found the place we were looking for and she was taken in to a private room while I sat and waited by the entrance.

Turns out they have a couple of cats living at this care home. A black one that I saw wandering around the place, and I found out from my love that the other one was a fat, lazy one that was there sleeping in the room she was being interviewed in.

Anyway, the folks that interviewed her seemed to think Lav did quite well in her Interview, but they need her to contact her nursing school to get them to send the Care Home two references.

They also need her to pay for a DBS criminal record check…£44

We put me down as a character reference since we didn’t really have anyone else, and it seems they accept that. They seem to want us to start with sending that first.

Anyway, we got back home, had a rest, and before we really had a chance to do anything, we got a phone call from the care home again.

I’m pretty sure I remember hearing them say “We’d like to offer you another position in the same care home, congratulations!”
Lav tells me she’s pretty sure she heard them say it was the SAME temporary position we applied for but then moving on to a permanent position.

At any rate, they invited her over to have a look around on Thursday afternoon.
We THOUGHT this meant they decided not to bother with references and the DBS check and just gave her a job anyway.

She’s worried it’ll be weird for me to accompany her in the care home again so we agreed I would show her the main entrance way through Reddish Vale and drop her off at the home.

Wednesday 27th January 2016;
I haven’t gotten that full statement from Santander yet.
I think the fact that I got my online account with them set up with “paper-free” ticked so I don’t get paper statements in the mail might have overridden my request in branch.

I had to go signing on today and I was thinking the whole time to ask my adviser if they can give me a letter of some kind for a proof of address but the adviser didn’t really open up the opportunity for a conversation, and my social awkwardness did the rest.

Thursday 28th January 2016;
Holy cow! I got a letter from the jobcenter this morning asking about any changes in my circumstances to make sure I was being paid the right amount for my claim, and I’m to send it back in time to arrive on or before the date it’s due on 19th of February.

This is perfect!

It works as a proof of address for Barclays, and then once I got the details of my new account, I can use this letter to send those details to the jobcenter!
The phrase “Kill two birds with one stone” comes to mind.

The only problem is the Knowhow Care plan going out on the 7th. If I can make the switch and get my details before that, great. If not, it may have to wait until afterwards.

So Lav and I agreed I would take her to the Brinnington Care Home for her guided tour, and while she was doing that, I would head over to Barclays in Stockport, find out how long the bank switching process takes, see if it requires an appointment, and have her ring me when she was done so we can see if we have to meet up in Stockport and head home together, or if I’m home already so she can head home by herself using the route we took to the care home.

So we took the shortcut to Brinnington through Reddish Vale using the main entrance, round by the Trans Pennine Trail and up the road the other side, and I dropped her off.

We determine the route takes over an hour, plus it’s really exhausting, and it’s not a good idea to turn up to work exhausted and unable to start work right away.

I should mention also there’s a chance Lav may end up working late until at night, and my parents have voiced concerns that Reddish Vale at night could be dangerous, so they’ve been suggesting just take the bus down from Reddish to Stockport and then the other bus from Stockport to Brinnington, and/or back the return journey.

So with those two facts together, we’ve agreed that taking the bus is best, we just gotta find out how long the bus takes to get there. I think it might just be about half an hour or so.

Anyway, I dropped her off at the care home and I headed to Stockport to talk to Barclays.

Turns out the whole process to change banks can take 7 days, however I’ll likely be getting my Barclays bank card in the mail within 2 or 3 days, so I’d have my bank details pretty quickly.

However, with my next JSA going in this coming Monday, and my Knowhow Care plan going out on the 7th, there’s no guarantee I can be ready to phone Knowhow in time for the 7th and be able to actually pay it with my new account.
So how about starting the switch on the 8th?

The process would take through the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and hopefully end on the 15th, leaving just 4 days until the 19th…and normally it takes anywhere from 1 to 3 days for a letter to be sent through the mail in England.

Sorted, right? Well…

I got a sign-on on the 10th and the allowance pay-in for that would go in on the 14th.

There’s no telling if the payment go through or if it’ll get lost in the mire of the bank switch, and starting the switch afterwards would make it too late to send the letter with the new details in time for the 19th.

And the JSA might be notified it didn’t go through, and then I might land in hot water.

Then again, Barclays did say I’d get my bank card in just 2 or 3 days, so I could just send my new details in the letter once I get them and hope it works.

So I have three choices;

1) Go ahead with the bank switch on the 8th and hope the new details will get to the jobcenter before the 14th so they can pay my new account without any issues.

2) Wait until after the March 7th payment of the Care Plan, when all this blows over but it’s still within the 3-month time frame for proof of address, and hand in my new card to the jobcenter in person, though they may think it’s weird that I changed banks so soon after they sent this letter.

3) Cancel my Knowhow Care Plan, and restart it under the new bank account. This, I believe, can all be done online. This would avoid me having to ring them on the phone to inform them of the switch, but it’ll likely delay my computer’s annual health check, that I got as part of the care plan, till February 2017…and that’s the only thing I’m really worried about with that, coz my love and I think my computer might already be pretty unhealthy and have a few things wrong with it after my derping things up with trying to get Microsoft Works off the internet and getting all that adware and giving Kaspersky an impromptu test of virus busting skills.

Personally, because of my awkwardness with phones, I’m very tempted to go with option 3…

I mean, my computer still works okay, with only a few minor cosmetic issues, as far as I can tell.
There’s no real need for a health check right now, I suppose…and if I restart the care plan and my computer goes on the fritz for whatever reason, I can still get a free repair or replacement.

I’ll have to double-check if I can start a new care plan online and see how it works…and if it’s just a simple case of giving them my new bank details along with the details of my computer, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

Plus it would allow me to start the bank switch THIS COMING TUESDAY, get it all done before my next sign-on on the 10th, which would allow me to have the letter out in plenty of time before the 19th, and I can re-start the care plan online pretty much any time I like.

Seems like the least complicated and quickest route to take.
I’ll definitely look into it and see what I have to do to get option 3 in motion.

Anyway, as I was talking with Barclays, Lav tried to ring me to tell me she was done…
I couldn’t answer right then. When I was done, I texted her back and she rang me again to say she was done with her tour of the care home in Brinnington.
So meet up in Stockport it is.

I told her to follow the main road that the care home is on downhill…she would come to a big roundabout…I would meet her there.

She asked “Do I follow the bus route?”
Assuming she meant the bus route heading down the main road towards Stockport, I said “yes”.

I get to where we were to meet, she wasn’t there…I waited a while, then I texted her to find out where she was.

SOMEHOW, SOMEWAY, she was on one of the side streets round the back of the care home.

I was so confused as to how she got there I didn’t know how to direct her back, so we agreed for me to head back up into Brinnington and meet her back at the care home, and then I show her the way I meant for her to go.

She reckons she was lost in her thoughts, latched onto my “follow the bus route” instruction, and she followed it the wrong way, round the corner where it turns into the residential area of Brinnington, loops round, and eventually heads back to Stockport…but that was obviously the long way around to get back to meeting with me…

Why was she lost in her thoughts?
Because the Brinnington care home STILL wants her to get those references from her nursing school, get the character reference from me, and do a £44 DBS criminal record check.

Yep, we wrongly assumed they wanted to skip that process and just give her the job.

Well, the character reference from me will be very straightforward, the care home seems insistent on Lav getting that done first for some reason…

…we gotta figure out how to get the £44 DBS check done…we looked it up online but can only find the standard £25 one available to do online…the £44 one is a more advanced check, according to, and we can’t find an online application for that.
It’s highly likely the check won’t turn up anything…Lav’s only been here in England a few months, and I don’t know if they’ll bother checking with Romania…the only thing that MIGHT pop up is that fiasco with the rental in Rusholme…MAYBE the Police will object to us finding that replacement tenant after only a couple of months living there when we had a full year’s contract but the landlord seemed to think it’s okay so I don’t know.
Anyway, I mentioned it to my dad, and he says our best bet is probably to do it direct at a police station.

The BIG worry is the nursing school…we’re worried that if we ask THEM to send a couple of references for Lav, they’ll just go “WTF?” and not help us…or, if they do agree to send them, the references they send might contradict something said in the interview or my character reference, so the care come goes “WTF?” and doesn’t accept her.
What I don’t really get is why they’re asking us to get the references rather than go contact the references themselves. Oh well, no big deal. Lav can explain to her school what’s going on and we’d have a better chance of them giving a reference, I guess.

I guess we’ll just have to try our best to sort everything out and hope it all works okay.


Over the course of the month, I’ve been making a little bit of progress on writing my scripts for YouTube…but Lav and I ended up finding a site called Putlocker and have developed a bit of an addiction to watching movies and full episodes of Naruto on there for free…because why not?

I’ll most likely make a lot more progress on my scripts once we deal with the priorities of trying to get Lav her job at Brinnington and me switching banks to Barclays.

With Lav at her job, I’ll be by myself, passing the time each day on my computer, and I know I’ll devote at least some of that time with my YouTube scripts.

Another thing we’re working on through my father is seeing if we can get a metal bed frame before we end up breaking this wooden one. He knows a friend in a local bed shop that might be able to get us a good, cheap deal.

My dad’s been looking at 4-foot-wide beds for us because that would be more room for 2 people, though we feel we’ve got just about enough room with the 3 foot wide provided by the wooden bed.

4-Foot wide would require a 4-foot wide mattress to go with it.
We have a quote for £75 for a 4-foot frame…not too bad…but a £90 mattress to go with it. £165 total. Eeee…

I asked my dad to find cheaper quotes and get quotes on just a 3-foot-wide frame as well so Lav and I can weigh up our options.
I’ll let you know how all this turns out at the end of February.

Until then,
Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

LATER IN THE DAY EDIT: I just had a look at the Knowhow Care Plan online page to see how I go about cancelling. Turns out you gotta cancel over the phone as well, possibly because, again, of security reasons.
So either way I have no choice but to make a EFFing phone call to Knowhow.
Crap. So much for option 3.

Okay so it’s either try on the 8th and hope for the best or wait until March.


…I think I best play it as safe as possible and wait until March and hope the jobcenter doesn’t mind the sudden bank change so soon after they sent the letter.

Older Posts »