Wednesday, 31 December 2014

My Year in Pictures - 2014

That was the year that was....

After 2 redundancies and 12 years of low paid jobs, I was finally in a position to be able to buy a car.  It is the oldest car I have ever owned, it is the cheapest car I have ever owned, but, my word, it is the most appreciated of any car I have ever had the use of.

June saw exams and a week in Spain, most of the week was spent here...

 In the Alcatraz...

In Gringo Joe's....

Or in the strawberry cake shop, otherwise known as Bar Centric.

In September I travelled to Norfolk for a birthday party, I also visited some of the local attractions.

The Gruffalo Trail, High Lodge Thetford, Suffolk

 Banham Zoo, Norfolk

Gallifrey, Norfolk

September also saw me in Prestatyn for the Queen Fan Club Convention weekend.  Beautiful Haven site, but the sea had evidently gone away for the weekend too!

October saw me back in Norfolk for Halloween, alcohol may have been involved here, the theme was Doctor Who if anyone is still wondering,  I went as a fat Ace.

I again visited some local attractions.
Africa Alive, Suffolk

WWT Welney, Norfolk.

Then December was exams (boo) and Christmas, a colleague and I were taken out for a Christmas meal by our line managers (and friends) to say thank you for our help over the year.

Then Santa arrived

And New Year Happened.

The Grape Escape if anyone is wondering.

Happy 2015 everyone!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

My Christmas Presents

I wasn't going to follow the pack and do this, but then I looked at everyone else's posts and changed my mind.

These are my gifts...

From Mum and Dad I received the bottle of brandy, they also paid the deposit for the Queen Fan Club Convention weekend that I attend every year.

From elsewhere in the family I received a toilet bag with hand soap and hand cream.

From my friends at work I received a beautiful candle, a large selection of frozen cocktails (yummy) and some warm socks.

I didn't get anything from the dog this year, she was obviously a little low on funds.

Hope Santa visited you all too.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

My Birthday Wishlist

It is 10 days to my birthday and I am feeling sorry for myself, the office lurgy which has had various people off work over the last month or so hit me yesterday.

I also triple salchowed round the icy supermarket car park this morning and pulled muscles that I didn't even know I had.

So to cheer myself up, I decided to make a wishlist of birthday gifts, should money be no object.

  • Central Heating - I grew up in a house without Central Heating and I have lived in this house for 20 years without Central Heating with no problems whatsoever, but recently I have been feeling the cold more, not sure if it is my age or Global Warming, but I am almost always cold!
  • New windows - the existing windows have condensation between the frames and need replacing, it is worse in the kitchen and back bedroom.
  • New kitchen - the kitchen has not been updated since the 50s
  • Carpets throughout the house, I removed them all when I moved in, except for in 2 of the bedrooms, but now I want them back.
  • A new immersion heater so that I can have instant hot water.
Actually, I think this is making me feel worse.
  • An apartment in Calella, Spain, so that I only have to pay for flights and would therefore be able to afford to visit more times than I do now.
Something like this would be more than acceptable, this is in Sant Pol de Mar, the next town down from Calella
  • Someone to come in and organise my storage, such that it is, for me.  I keep attempting to tidy up but get bored and wander off.
  • My debts paid off, they are coming down slowly and I feel pleased with what I have achieved, but there is still more to do.
  • A place on a local ghosthunt
  • My ACCA letters! 
So if anyone is wondering what to buy me, feel free to pick from the above.

Friday, 26 December 2014

This fat-shaming outrage is getting old.

We have already established that I am fat, and that I am fat by my own doing.  And if I was that bothered I would make a proper effort to lose weight.

We have also already established that I don't believe in fat-shaming, if you have accepted that you are fat and are genuinely happy to be so then how can you be shamed by someone you do not know?

The latest outrage is over this tweet by Boohoo.

Boohoo have since bowed to pressure and removed the tweet.

The people currently writing to their MPs have clearly not seen Friends.  This is fat Monica from a Sliding Doors type episode.  She is fat, she is happy, she is dancing.  She is with Chandler who likes her for being her and does not notice her size.

If they really wanted to show a fat-shaming picture, then they could have shown any picture of skinny Monica who only lost so much weight because, back when he and Ross were at college, Chandler made fun of her weight, this shamed her into a major diet.

This happy Monica exists because in this alternative timeline Chandler was not a jerk.

So who is doing the alleged fat-shaming here?  Boohoo for showing a picture of fat, happy Monica or Chandler for laughing at her weight and shaming her into losing it?

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Maybe I do have personality problems.

A few months back I posted about Psychopathy and wondered if I maybe had psychopathic tendencies.  At the time it was said as a joke, but I am wondering more and more whether I do actually have issues.

If I read about someone else's problems I often think 'so what?'  I don't mean really serious problems or illnesses, I'm not that much of a bitch, but when people have had things going their way and then suddenly they don't I feel a bit too much joy.

I have suffered with depression for over 10 years, most of those spent trying to self-treat, but I always held down a job so when I read that people are 'too depressed to work' but not too depressed to go out every day with friends, or not too depressed to get pregnant, or not too depressed to go on holiday (that's another annoyance, if you never work, why do you need, and how can you afford, a holiday?), I get very angry with them.

When people claim they have no friends, and no money, and no-one to help with anything, then in their next breath are talking about their 'very good friends' and spending money on unnecessary things I get very angry.

When people announce they are pregnant, I get intensely jealous.

When I am feeling particularly low, and post or say something on one of my substitute friends (also known as facebook and twitter) and I get ignored, fair enough I am used to being ignored, but when someone else posts almost exactly the same thing and gets replies offering hope, help and companionship, I get very angry.

On the rare occasion that someone does say something nice to me, I can't cope and tend to dissolve into floods of tears.  If someone is shouting at me or telling me how useless I am, I just stand there and take it, no problem.

I don't find things funny that everyone else seems to.

I hate change that affects me.  

Little things that others ignore annoy me.

The recent tragedies in Glasgow and Cairns have left me unmoved, I'm not personally affected so therefore they are off my emotional radar.  And yet I donate to animal charities on an almost monthly basis and abused animals leave me in tears.  When I see that a pet has been stolen I am in tears.  When I see an old animal I am in tears.

Am I normal?  Is there something missing or not firing properly in my brain?  Should I try and get counselling?

My 'Ah ha' moment.

My 'ah ha' moment is not a positive one.  What a surprise, I hear you all cry.

For 30-something years, I knew I was single because I was fat and ugly and weirdly, this gave me confidence.  I knew that being fat and ugly made me invisible and that I could go where I wanted and no-one would see me, I joked that it was my 'cloak of invisibility' and I had mine before Harry Potter had even been thought of.

My 'ah ha' moment came about 7 years ago when I fell victim to a PUA student.

Despite just using me for fun, he did open my eyes and make me look at myself properly.

I realised that I wasn't the fattest woman out there.

I realised that I wasn't the worst looking woman out there.

But instead of this being a positive step it made me start wondering what it was that was so awful about me that I was still invisible to men.

I plucked up the courage to ask the cause of all this turmoil what was so wrong with me, but he just shrugged.

I turned inwards to try and answer this question.  I stopped going out, not that I went out a lot before, after all, it was obviously an act of cruelty to impose this on the world.

I still don't know the answer.

Although if someone did appear to be taking an interest, I would probably just assume that they were also making fun of me.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Gender Specific Toys - only if you want them to be.

I know I don't have children, and you have all been reading my blog to realise that I have pretty much a black and white view of the world, there are very few grey areas.

I hope that you have all realised that I am female too!

When I was little, my Gran spent a fortune on dolls and also a Silver Cross doll's pram to try and get me to play with them.  I didn't.  Eventually they all went to a little girl up the road.

I was far more happy playing with a remote control tank that my Grandad had bought, remote control in those days meaning that you were attached to the toy by a long wire.

I was also a huge fan of ferreting around in sheds, using hand tools, we had an old hand drill that I took great pleasure in making holes all over the fence and gate with.  I liked playing, I mean helping, up at the family allotments, I particularly enjoyed damming the small stream that ran through the middle of the site.

I loved running around scrapyards and builders yards, this was before Health & Safety was invented, most days I would come home caked in dirt from wherever I had been.

My other Gran bought me a Girl's World, I only played with it because I was fascinated at the way you could make the hair longer and shorter, the makeup that came with it I couldn't have cared less about.

If anyone had bought me a toy kitchen, I would have probably used the utensils to dig in the garden.

Children will play with what they want to, whether it is marketed for boys, girls or animals.  A doll will not explode just because someone with a Y chromosome plays without, similarly a toy chainsaw is not going to go rogue if the Y chromosome is missing in the player.

For a lot of youngsters, boxes are the best things ever as they can become many, many things.

Do you think it is a problem who toys are marketed at?

Monday, 15 December 2014

Another Christmas as a single woman.

Every year I say that 'this is going to be last Christmas and New Year as a single woman', and every year it isn't.

I watch everyone worrying about what to buy partners, children, the world and I wonder why people seem to make such a big thing about this time of year, why do they get into debt to buy presents, why the panic about not being able to get cranberry sauce?

Would I be like that if I wasn't single?

I'm guessing I will never find out as I am never going to be anything but single.

I leave the house for work, college and holidays and that is it.  Thanks to my medication, going to work and college is no longer an issue, leaving the house to go on holiday is still a struggle.

And when I do get out, I always holiday in the same place, and much as I love my time there, (if I get there, I have booked hotels and not used them) I know everyone, and I am never going to meet anyone.

I have tried online dating, it wasn't successful.  Although that is probably a good thing as I would have had to force myself to leave the house to meet up.

I do get annoyed when I hear people complaining about being single for weeks or months.  Try 43 years!

Whilst I was looking for a suitable illustration for this post, I came across this item from The Mirror, it's a Christmas survival guide for singles. 

  1. More money to spend on yourself - yep, bought myself a new duvet and pillows, boots and smellies.
  2. Don't be the only single person at the party - what's a party?
  3. Go for a winter escape - I was intending to, but outside forces (I shan't say what) put paid to that idea.
  4. Fill your time - I'm working most of Christmas and have no-one local to meet up with anyway.
  5. Catch up with family - I see Mum and Dad every day, I have no brothers and sisters.
Bah Humbug!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Exam Week - December 2014

This week I sat my two re-sits, two exams that I had failed in June.

The same complaints as before, the size of the desk which I measured this time, it was approx 45 cm x 60 cm, which when you consider that you have 2 A4 booklets (an A4 page is 21cm x 30 cm), plus pens, pencils and at least one calculator, there really isn't much room.

There were still the disturbances from people going to and from the toilet, luckily I wasn't sat right by the door for either of the exams this time.

For the first exam, the candidate sitting immediately to my left spent the entire 3 hours either talking to himself, chewing his gum really loudly or coughing.  I think the candidate to the right of me seemed to drop everything he had on his desk onto the floor at least once.

The second exam was a lot quieter, coincidentally, the average age of the candidates was a lot higher, there was a much higher proportion of people in my age group, usually they are all much younger.  The room was also a lot colder for this exam despite being more people in the room.

However, whereas for the first exam we were all sitting the same paper and therefore all finished at the same time, the second sitting was three different exams, one of which was just 2 hours.  Obviously the candidates sitting the 2 hour exam were allowed to leave once their time was up.

So why is that not considered a disturbance, yet someone leaving a 3 hour exam before the 3 hours is up is considered a disturbance?

The exams themselves were the first of the new format, part multichoice and part traditional questions.  And I am not sure whether I liked it.  I am looking forward to the exam review in PQ magazine to see what tutors and experts thought.

From the mutterings around me as people exited the exam hall, no-one seemed particularly happy.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Why don't I have friends willing to drive 100 miles to check on me and cheer me up?

I was on facebook recently, and in the ticker feed I noticed that someone had commented on a status, being the nosey person I am I had a look.

The person whose status it was had evidently been going through a bad time with their depression and they received so many invitations to visit people for the weekend.  Some offered to pay the train fare for them, one even offered to drive all the way to the Midlands to pick them up.

It must have been lovely for the poster to feel so loved and to have so many friends willing to put themselves out like that.  But instead of feeling happy for them, (trying so hard not to say him or her) I just thought 'where are my friends like that?'.

Why are my cries for help ignored?

Why is it acceptable for me to be lonely and see no-one from when I leave work to when I am back again, and apart from a couple of weeks a year, this is what happens.

I know I have posted before that I still have Mum and Dad, which I am grateful for, but at the age of almost 44 I STILL have nothing more to show for my life, no failed relationships, no children, no close circle of friends.

Where is my comfort blanket?

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Annual Tax Summary from the HMRC

I have just received my first Annual Tax Summary and I am not sure that I want to read it.

For the year 2013-14, £3527 was taken from my salary in tax deductions.

Of this, the biggest slice was for Welfare costs, an amount of £865, £247 was used towards interest on the national debt, only the interest notice, not the principal, £41 was overseas aid and £26 to the EU.

£428 was used towards state pensions, which probably won't even exist by the time I retire and £59 towards the environment.

There was an amount used for Culture, under which umbrella are sports (I don't take part in sports), libraries (I thought that they had all closed) and museums.  I like visiting museums but I would rather pay to enter the ones I choose to visit instead of paying for those which I will never know exist.

Have you received your summary, do you think it is the right thing to be sending out to the tax payers?  Do you really want to read how much of YOUR tax is being used to fund £1500 Christmases?  

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Why public transport needs an overhaul.

Let's face it, no-one gets out of bed in the morning and thinks, 'today I am not going to take the car, I want to double my commute time and travel by bus', you use public transport because you have a reason to.

I study in Birmingham city centre, which is a nightmare to get in to at the best of times, but with the road closures over the summer and the Christmas market now on, driving in is quite stressful.  Parking is expensive too, at nearly £9 per day, so I choose to travel by train, this also gives me the option to get some extra studying done.

A return train ticket can be as little as £3.40 and the journey is roughly 25 minutes.

The problem is that trains start from a place where you don't live and deposit you not quite at the place you need to be so you have to catch a bus, and that is where the problem lies.

Yesterday I caught the 4.30 train from Birmingham New Street, it was on time and I arrived in Coventry around 4.55.  During the journey, the train manager had announced that the train was due to arrive in Euston at 5.55pm.

I have to catch two buses home from the station and I ended up walking through my front door also at 5.55pm.

By car it takes less than 10 minutes for the 2.5 mile journey from the station home, but by bus it takes the same amount of time as the train takes to get all the way to London.

And you still have to get from the bus stop home.

And buses are not cheap, whilst the train ticket is £3.40, the bus costs me £5.80 and because the routes are run by two different companies I cannot buy a cheaper day ticket.

Going to work too, by car it now takes me about 15 minutes, but when I was travelling by bus, the journey could take up to two hours purely because of the circuitous route that the service took.

Depending on where you live, services sometimes start too late and finish too early, even in the city and in the country it is much worse.

Until travel by bus is more relevant to people's needs, it is never going to be the first choice of anybody. 

Instead of buying buses with plush seats which constantly have to be replaced due to vandalism or irremovable dirt, why not have solid, but comfortably shaped, seats, this would cut down on cleaning time (the whole bus could just be hosed down) and repair costs, buses would last longer so more would be available, meaning more routes could be introduced.

Recently our bus stops have been installed with electronic displays, unfortunately, the times displayed are those at which the bus is due, information which can already be found on the paper timetables also displayed at the bus stop.  These displays would be more useful showing the time the bus will actually arrive.

How do you feel about public transport?

Saturday, 15 November 2014

If you could work anywhere, or do any job.

If money was not a consideration, I would like to work here

Blists Hill Foundry

Or, more accurately, I would like to work in an old style metal foundry, not fussy where it is.

Like most people of my age, I did metalwork and woodwork at school and whilst woodwork was ok, I really enjoyed the metalwork.  We scrolled mild steel and made various things, including house numbers and candle holders.

But what I really enjoyed was making items with the sand moulds. packing the black sand around a form, removing the form and pouring in the metal.  Then the wait for the metal to cool before opening the mould and knocking off the sand.

I loved it.

Every time I go to the museum I love watching the foundry men working, unfortunately, they are not able to work every day so I have to plan my visits.

What would you like to do?

Now I understand why we were made to do sports at school.

Out of the last 7 days, I have spent 6 at my study provider in Birmingham and the 7th at work, and I feel drained. By the time I reached study day 4 I could have easily fallen asleep in the classroom.

The simple act of dashing from the classroom to the train station, dragging my study materials with me, really did wake me up and that was when I, finally, made to connection between study and exercise.

You do need to move about to wake you up after intense study periods and that is what they were trying to do for us at school, it wasn't intended to be the torture I took it for.

I didn't hate all sport, I loved swimming, I started going to the swimming baths as soon as I was out of nappies (no waterproof swimming nappies back then) and I was taking lessons by the age of 3 (there were no mummy/baby classes then either), so enjoyed swimming at school always picking it when there was an option.

I also enjoyed hockey, I played in the days of the 'bully off'', no sanitised passback for me.

In the summer, when we had to do athletics, I opted for the javelin, shot and discus, the attraction possibly being that they were all originally weapons, though I didn't make the connection at the time.

So maybe I should be grateful to Mrs Thomas, Mrs Friebe, little Mr Jones and big Mr Jones instead of seeing them as medieval torturers, they were trying to do their best for us!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Changes to exam format.

Before you all keel over in shock, yes this is an actual post about my ACCA studies.

This sitting (December 2014) sees the first sitting of the new format exams, and I think the examiners are making it harder for people to pass, I am not sure if this deliberate or just a side effect.

I am sitting two exams this time - Financial Reporting and Financial Management - and both now have 40% of the marks coming from multiple choice questions, 20 in all.

Initially we thought this would make things easier, but it is not so.

Previously, because the markers viewed your workings, you could receive 'method marks', if you used the right method but the wrong figure, you would lose, or, more accurately, not be given a mark for the wrong figure, but if you carried that wrong figure through you would still get marks for using the correct method.

With the new multi choice questions, although you still have to do all the working for each question, these will not be seen by the markers so your answer will either be right or wrong, 2 marks or zero marks.

The remaining 60 marks, the exams are marked out of 100, will be from traditionally marked questions.

50 marks are needed to pass each module.

This could be interesting.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Am I the only one not interested in the John Lewis Christmas adverts?

I really don't get the fascination with the John Lewis ads but I seem to be alone in this.

The first one that I really remember, I may have seen earlier ones, is the one that showed the old dog outside in a snow covered kennel, a little boy runs out, gives him a present and runs straight back into the warm house.

I didn't like the advert, and as far as I remember, it had to be edited to remove that section due to a poor response.

Two years ago, a Snowman struggles through the snow to the store to buy a hat and scarf for snowy girlfriend.  For some reason I always feel sorry for robots and the like, I can't watch a Confused.Com advert, and I couldn't watch the Snowman's struggles.

Last year's was all animated animals and I just felt so sorry for all of them, I again couldn't watch, (it also reminded me too much of Watership Down).

Now this year we have Monty The Penguin, although I know it was a CGI penguin, all I could think of all the way through was, 'that poor penguin'.  I know at the end it is revealed that it is a toy penguin but the advert was already ruined for me.

Had the opening scenes shown that it was a toy, but then the boy imagines that it is real, I think I could have quite enjoyed it.

Does anyone else think the adverts are overrated?

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Why can't we have a St George's Day parade?

I am either 6 months late with this post, or 6 months early depending on your point of view, but it has been in my mind recently.

Mostly because of this - Coventry have announced their plans to hold a Pride Parade next year.

Bear with me.

I have no problems with gay and transgender people celebrating their choices, however, can you imagine the outcry if we had a Heterosexual Pride day?

But that is not the issue here.

The issue is that Coventry City Council will allow the roads to be closed for parades for St Patrick's Day (as far I was aware, Coventry is in England and therefore has no connections with snakes being driven out of Ireland), for the annual Sikh Vaisakhi parade, and now for Gay Pride.

However we are not allowed to close the streets and have a parade in celebration of St George, our own Patron Saint.

Various reasons have been given for this - too much disruption, may offend people etc.

Are the Council offending people by trying not to offend people?

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

There are no new complaints, they are all recycled.

It was pointed out to me that some of my younger readers may not be familiar with 'Outraged of Tunbridge Wells' so I thought I had better explain.

The term is shorthand for the most provincial, narrow-minded grouch, the sort who pens angry letters to local newspapers. I always imagine a retired Colonel type, a blustery gent whose monocle drops out of his eye at the sight of a lady's ankle.

I was googling to try and find a copy of such a missive to illustrate my point, and I came across this.

SIR – On behalf of the menfolk who, either having their hour’s break for lunch, or, in many cases, having had sandwiches for the midday meal, wait for a bus to take them home to a well-earned hot meal, I protest that it is sickening to see the buses come in loaded chiefly with women returning from shopping during the lunch hour or between 5pm and 6pm.

I, myself, this week on one occasion had to let five buses go and not until the sixth was I able to get on.

No doubt if you publish this a good many women will want to pull my hair out, but I take that chance, knowing full well the menfolk will agree I am correct.
So come along, ladies, look after your husband. Shop early and help him get home in comfort and good time.

RT Corden
December 5 1947

Now, substitute 'working people' for 'menfolk', and 'the unemployed and mothers with pushchairs and children in tow' for 'women' and you will have a modern day issue for many a current bus user.

It just shows that there are no new complaints, they are just updated and recycled.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Outraged of Tunbridge Wells

In a wave of outrage which, in previous years, would have had people reaching for their fountain pens and dusting off their best Basildon Bond (these days, a keyboard and 140 characters have taken their place), people have been lambasting ASOS for selling these cushions.

It's disgusting!!

It shouldn't be allowed!!

As a diagnosed Depressive who suffers from severe Anxiety Attacks, I actually find it quite funny.  I wouldn't buy it, but that is because I actually have no idea what the purpose of cushions is.

Now this one does get me reaching for the Basildon Bond.

It actually makes me feel ill just having it on my post.  But no-one seems concerned about this at all.

Why would you want something like this in your house?

Friday, 24 October 2014

Payout for child fathered by deep cover PC.

It has been on the news the last couple of days that a woman 'Jacqui' has been awarded nearly half a million pounds in compensation for having a baby with a deep undercover Police Officer.

Apparently he was part of team created to infiltrate protest groups back in the mid 80s and she was one of the activists under investigation.

According to the BBC report, fellow former SDS officer Peter Francis told Radio 4's Today programme that sex was "used by almost everybody who was serving in that unit".

He added that undercover officers were "expected, not ordered" to "engage in relationships" and that while there was no policy on becoming involved in sexual relations, there was "no policy saying that you couldn't either".

Now I have read the report a few times and can see no mention of a gun being held to Jacqui's head forcing her to have sex.

There is no mention of her having a gun held to head forcing her to keep the child.

The sex was obviously consensual.

To all intents and purposes, Jacqui had a relationship with a man, didn't marry him but had his child and he then disappeared.  Unfortunately, this is not an unusual occurrence.

So why is this pay out of taxpayers' money justified?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The outcome of my holiday complaint

I have accepted £100 from the booking agents, I have been trying to get my money refunded for nearly 4 months now and I have to accept that I have reached stalemate.

ABTA have been no help at all.

I looked into the small claims court, but it is too much to pay out to start proceedings, I am already a couple of hundred pounds down and I can't afford to pay out anymore.

Somewhere2Stay are still refusing to comment on, or even acknowledge, the month it took them to tell me that the Maritim had refused the booking.

As well as the difference in price between the hotels and the cost of eating out even though I had paid for an evening meal, there was the cost of a taxi to the airport from Calella, this cost €120.  I had booked a return transfer and I received confirmation of the time of the return trip and pick up location.

For whatever reason, the time of the pick up was changed, the transfer company contacted all the hotels where pick ups had been arranged so that they could put signs up in the reception area noticeboard to notify the traveller.  Unfortunately, as I had been moved, I did not receive any notification.

After waiting at the pick up point for an hour, I tried ringing the contact number on the booking confirmation, but there was no answer.  I walked down to the train station and took a taxi.

I have calculated what the holiday cost me.

I expected to pay £510

I could have paid £420 had I booked the Santa Monica myself, choosing B&B and eating meals out.

I ended up paying £685.

(I laid all of this out in an excel spreadsheet but I couldn't post it to my blog!)

So lesson learnt, make sure the company you are ultimately booking with is reputable.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Does Coventry city centre really need more identikit pubs?

Coventry city centre is failing.  Shops are closing and moving out.  If a building remains empty for more than a week it is turned into student accommodation, or so it seems.  

In the last few years, the Leofric Hotel, main Post Office, a 7 floor office block and a Yates's have been turned into student halls.

The Post Office sorting office in Bishop Street has been sold for redevelopment, presumably for more student accommodation.

We have a 3 storey Primark, several pound shops, cheap card shops.  We also have many, many phone shops and bookmakers.  We have 2 Costas and a Starbucks, plus several independent coffee shops.  We have several charity shops.

And we have pubs.

Lots and lots of pubs.

All of which could be located in any town or city within the country.  

Whilst both city centre Wetherspoons have local photos adorning the walls, they are still very obviously Wetherspoons, and whilst the beer is reasonably priced and the food good they are still just part of a chain.

I know that it is a problem everywhere, but we are losing all the pubs with individual character, everything is becoming an identikit pub, almost flat packed to be assembled anywhere.

We still have a few independent pubs, or at least pubs owned by small breweries, hanging on, such as The Old Windmill in Spon Street.

Also known as Ma Brown's, it was in here that my Great-Grandmother, called Granny Brown (no relation) by everyone, knocked a man unconscious with one punch as he was pestering another woman and wouldn't leave off.

There is The Whitefriars Ale House in Gosford Street.

There are a couple more, but they are few and far between and get very busy with people who like to be able to tell what town they are drinking in.

This week we had the news that Cathedral Lanes, another White Elephant shopping centre, has been sold to be changed into yet more pubs and restaurants.

Will they be like a breath of fresh air?

Or will it be same-old-same old?

The first establishment is due to open in December 2015, so I guess we will have to wait and see.