Monday, 4 August 2014

Another 3 years...!

It's crazy how time flies! So much has happened in my life that would have been great to put down on paper to look back on in future years, as I enjoy doing now with some of my original posts. I've set up a daily reminder now so hopefully I can get back on track with some regular updates. 

So what have I been up to since May 2011? Wow, well at that time Amelia and I were just celebrating our first wedding anniversary, only a couple of months ago we celebrated our 4th! As each year passes we look back on that magical day and can't believe how quick time has gone since then. And now it's not just the 2 of us, our wonderful family has been extended by +2; Isabelle Verona Elce joining us on 13th September 2011, followed by Chloe Olivia Elce on 22nd July 2013. So yeah, Izzy is already 3 in a month's time whilst we've just been away to celebrate Chloe's first. Crazy! 

Work wise, I'm going through an interesting change at present. After 6 and a half years working in the Learning Resource Centre team at North Notts College I have been moved centrally to the Quality Unit. I'll be doing similar work to what I have been doing in recent years but it's very different to what I came here to do, but it's what I made the post. This new role will come with more responsibilities, more opportunities to effect change, and with that comes more pressure! Looking forward to getting started once this summer has passed. 

Football? Well I'm no longer actively playing any more (thanks kids!). In fact, I can't remember the last ball I kicked! That sucks! I brought to an end my refereeing journey after Xmas this year as I was no longer enjoying it. I do miss it at times, maybe more so the money and the fitness than actually being out in the middle. I just felt I'd reached a point where I needed to be with the family instead of giving up every spare second, and that's perhaps where the downfall came, I did too much. Maybe if I'd just done a game per fortnight I may still be out there this season, but it's not to be right now. I'm certainly enjoying having the weekend with the girls, though it's a shame Amelia works on Sundays but I enjoy having both for the day to do what we wish. I don't know if I'll go back to reffing at a later date. I've hung onto the kit for now on the off chance I pick up a friendly or return to it, but I can't see it at present. Only the fact that I've put on a fair amount of weight since finishing is giving me thoughts about returning but as it stands now, I couldn't do Sundays anyway and wouldn't want to give up our family day so there's limited opportunities to return. The thought of not having at least one attempt at Level 4 may always be a regret but the way I left the game I don't think I would have made it to that level anyway. The main thing I'll miss is the opportunitites to do the abroad tournaments like I did in 2011 (Lisbon) and 2012 (Barcelona). But if I continue to register each year there's nothing stopping me going to a couple of them now and again. 

We're counting down the months until March 2015, or I suppose April 2015. March is when our personal loan is paid off, so April's payday is going to be nice! It has seemed like forever since taking it on and it's been a real burden on the finances for almost a decade if not longer. It will feel like life can really get started once we start having money to enjoy ourselves with. We'll be ready for a big family holiday by then and we can also start to turn our house into a home and do a whole bunch of other things. 

Ok, so this is enough for now. Hopefully it won't be another 3 years until the next post. I'll be looking at putting something together most days from now on, we'll see what happens :)

Monday, 2 May 2011

Car troubles

Still no luck sorting my car out. I took it back to the garage last week wherebi bought it from to see what they could do to help me. They said they would have to treat me like a new customer, not undo our last deal and start afresh. That's a bit annoying as it had only been about 10 days since I got it so you would hope you get a chance to test it and see if it's right for you.

If it was a new deal, hopefully they would give me a good offer for this one. I got it for £4k less the £1k they offers for the C3, which was on it's last legs so I would be happy with them offering me £3k for the new one, then i've only lost a thousand, which I wouldn't feel like I'd lost as the C3 had quite a lot wrong with it and needed about that much in work doing anyway.

They asked me to pick a couple of models I would like and they would sort out a new agreement. I had a look, they didn't have a lot in stock but I was just trying to find one still quite new, much less than 1ltr and about £3k or less. I found a Mitsubishi Colt and an Alpha Romeo, both about 1.4ltr, about £3k and less than 5 years old. I left them with the task of sorting the agreement and they said they would call back.

Not heard anything by the next day so I gave them a call and they said they were waiting for the owner to get back into work, so they would call me the next day.

It's been over a week now so I'm assuming they couldn't or wouldn't sort anything for me so looks like I'm back to square one. I have an expensive car to run and will have to look for an alternative way of getting rid without losing out.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Deal or no deal?

I'll shock the world with this very comment: "I got up at 7:15am this morning!" WTF?! I couldn't even begin to tell you the last time I got up this early, it was probably the morning after our wedding last year when we got up at 6am to travel down to Gatwick.

I had set my alarm for 7 as I wanted to be up early to have a bath, get my work clothes ironed and find out the paperwork for my new car. I've only had my Renault Laguna for 10 days but the petrol costs are crippling me and with it being a 2.0ltr I've already put £137 in petrol in and only done less than 500 miles so far. There's no way I can stretch to £80 a week on petrol. Life was going to be tight as the football season draws to a close and my refereeing money ends for a few months and that was with the C3 that cost me about £40 a week to run. Now i'm having to find £90 a month for the new car as well as putting in so much petrol. It might be a tough one but hopefully I can take the car back and get something more affordable.

I'd decided to have a drive to the couple of garages just a few hundred yards from the college. The first one I could barely find anything under £7k so left them fairly sharpish and turned into Stoneacre, where I bought my first 2 cars. I'd had a couple of bad deals through poor advice their though so wasn't too fussed about getting another from them but wanted to at least see what they had on display. There wasn't much choice for my price range but there was a C5 the same price as what I paid for the Laguna and was only slightly older and had done less miles. It was also a 1.5 and Diesel, which I'm led to believe is better than petrol?!

A sales guy came out as he'd seen me looking at it and I explained the situation, that I'd recently bought the new car but was struggling to run it and wanted to exchange it for something cheaper to run at about the same value. He explained to me that it would be difficult for them to do anything for me and recommended taking it back to Parkway. First he said to ring the finance company and see if there was any cooling off period where I could terminate the agreement, just so the garage at least know that i've done my homework in case they are stubborn.

When I got home from work I called the finance company but they said the agreement has no cooling off period, but aft a few minutes of me seeing what else could possibly happen, they mentioned that if Parkway had a more suitably priced car for around the same cost as the Laguna, then the agreement could be modified. I then rang Parkway and explained to Richard, who I'd dealt with that I was struggling and so he invited me back tomorrow morning. He said they would only be able to help if the finance company agree to a change, and if their head office agree to it too.

I really hope they do otherwise i'm stuck with a car I really cannot afford. Why do I never do my homework before these things?? 3rd time now! Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

A Mother's Day Scorcher!

It's nice doing local 11 o'clock kick off's on Sundays as it means I get a bit of a lie in. My alarm that has been set on my watch for 7:50am for about 6 months now and goes off every morning for no particular reason woke me first and I was glad to see the time and that I could go back to sleep, until my phone alarm rang at 10am. I got up, washed and dressed before heading off to Shirebrook for the game.

It went quite well and it's always nice to ref in the sunshine but I was glad to get home and get the day started properly. I got home to find Milly still in bed, not feeling too well as she has been suffering Sinusitis for a while now and it's very painful. However, I had a shower and we got ready to go out as we were going shopping for some Mothers Day stuff and for a bite to eat. We started at Asda but couldn't find what we were looking for so went to Wilko's in town and picked some bits up. We then went to Tesco's and got some flowers and had a bite to eat.

We stopped off at my mums for a couple of hours first, giving her a card, some flowers and her presents and having a general chat before we had to set off as I had football at 8, had to pick some players up on the way before dropping Milly off at her mums to spend the evening pampering her!

We were playing a tough side today in our 5 aside league. I started on the bench and had organised how the team would be rotating every 8 minutes as their were 7 of us there tonight. I didnt mind starting as sub as it meant when I was on I would be on for the remainder of the game. The team we were playing were in 5th whilst we are about 7th, having taken over from a team about 7 weeks ago who at the time were down in 11th, but we've been playing really well.

Taylor gave us an early lead which helped settle us down but about 5 or 6 minutes later and it was 1-1. Then me and Raif replaced Taylor and Dan and I played in a more attacking role. I'd had a couple of little shots before my moment of magic arrived right on the stroke of half time! I'd won the ball but it was bouncing over to the far left side of the pitch but a bit of quick thinking and fast geometry, I leathered the bal against the wall hoping to see it rebound and at least be somewhere on target, giving it a big enough belt to at least test the keeper. I couldn't have hit it any sweeter as it flew towards the inside of the back post, catching the keeper totally unaware and nestling into the corner!

I thought for a second the referee was going to rule it out as he pointed to the centre circle as I celebrated but he said it had counted but was now half time. This just meant that I got extra applause as all my teammates gave me a big slap on the back. I also got a round of applause and a handshake from a couple of the opposition players as they walked past me too!

The second half we were made to work very hard but were perhaps the slightly better team. We defended well but got forward too in numbers and had a few chances. The opposite keeper was having a blinder though. He was a big chap and blocked everything we had and the one which took a wicked deflection and caught him wrong footed he was happy to see bounce back off the post! I had 3 or 4 efforst which I was at least happy to see on target but the keeper stood his ground well on them all.

Eventually the last few minutes came and we tried to keep the ball as best we could. The last two minutes seemed to take an age as we knew if they equalised we were quite unlikely to reply but we held firm and as I thought the time was as good as over, I won the ball and had my back to goal so all my team was shouting at me to pass to the keeper but instead I just run it into the corner and no-one followed, so I was able to keep it thee for some time. Then when I was aproached, the whistle went and we could celebrate a great win, and I could celebrate perhaps my first ever match winning goal at any level!


Last night I randomly started reading Stu's blog again (, after he posted but after reading his latest update, instead of reading all his latest posts, I used the archive to go back to when he first started, which was way back in January 2003, which is pretty amazing to say he still updates regularly a full 8 years later. It makes me a little annoyed that I am far to sporadic with my postings. I'd love to be able to read back over the many amazing things I have done over the past 5 years but only have short chunks penned and hardly anything over the past few years at all.

This morning I managed one of my first lie in's for ages as for some reason I had not been appointed on a Youth League game for what is potentially the first in-season weekened of 2010/11, but I wasn't going to chase one up as I could really use the time in bed! I think I was about 10% awake when Milly left for work at half 7 but can't remember much of that! I woke again at about 9:05, delighted to see that was what the time was and I had another hour and a half until my alarm was due to go off, and even then there was no real need to be up and out of bed.

When it did go off I think I hit snooze a couple of times but was half awake and hungry so decided to see what I could rustle up for breakfast. There wasn't much in so I had a walk to the shop and picked up a ham sandwich, crisps, cookies and a drink. I ate them whilst reading more of Stu's blog, starting again with his early posts before then going to around January 2007 when me and him worked together and spent a fair bit of time together outside of work. It was really fun reading about the things we did back then, most of which I had forgotten as my memory totally sucks these days. Some great nights out together, all nighters in Rileys, our trip to Liverpool, the pidgeon!, many pool games, and of course Friday football!

I enjoyed being able to remember the header I scored despite the fact I was flat out on the floor, or the mazy run I went on from one end of the pitch to the other, passed every opposing player and of course scoring at the end, depsite the fact I didn't really have the ball under any form of control the whole time! I had to laugh at the hustler in Rileys who challenged me after watching me and Stu just smashing the balls as hard as we could for about an hour as we had got bored of playing properly, having been in Rileys for a few hours. The hustler made out he was drunk and challenged me for money which I accepted. He then all of a sudden sobered up and looked a pretty decent player, however I beat him 3 times and took his money! :)

This is what has spurred me on to now keep my blog(s) up to date. I enjoyed reading about the stuff I had done previously on someone else's blog and there isn;t a chance that would now be able to happen if I don't keep this up to date as no-one else I know writes blogs! And unfortunately I don't see Stu much at all any more due to a whole manner of things. In fact, I can't believe it but it was at our wedding last year that we last saw each other. Over 10 months ago! :(. I'm sure that night we said we would see much more of each other! Now he's just got a job in London which he moves down to in 4 weeks so there's even less chance of us catching up. Hopefully we will catch up before he goes. Be gutted if we don't even manage that.

Back to today's events, I set off for my afternoon game in Nottingham at about 12:45. It was lush weather out, pretty much the first game I've done under the sun since about September. It went ok, finished 1-1, which was perhaps a fair result in the end. I had to deny 2 penalty shouts for one side, and a goal to the other as the keeper had been kicked in the head by his own player before the striker tucked into an empty net. I had seen the collision and instantly blew up for it before the goal was scored and had to explain my decision to a heap of angry players before they accepted I was right and got on with the game.

This evening I went to Richard and Amy's engagement party with Milly. Eventually arriving at about 9pm, only 90 minutes late! It was a tough one to find though, especially in the dark seeing as I was looking out for trees and daffodils as my directions!! It was a great night though. We stayed for about 2 hours but it was great to see Richard out of work, not that the conversations were any different! Football, and err, football? I think! The party was at Amy's place, which can only be described as a mansion! I asked for a map on the way out to enable me to find the front door! Thankfully, Richard guided us out! It was actually the first time Milly had met Amy, officially anyway. She was with Richard at our wedding last year and I'm sure I introduced them then but maybe not. That night is very much a blur now! It went so quickly! Anyway, they hit it off tonight. They'd make great friends I think if we could see them both more.

Quote of the night has to go to Amy though:

"Richard, this may sound like a daft request, but is there any chance my grandma could have some Abba songs please?"

Whilst Mamma Mia blared out in the background!

It might have been one of them "had to be there to find it funny" moments, but it was pretty hilarious. Amy looked well embarressed bless her!

Anyway, that was tonight. Hopefully be as much to follow this one up with tomorrow.

Friday, 7 January 2011

18 months :O

Can't believe it's been 18 months since I last posted on here! Not only has that time gone really quick but there has been plenty I could have written about over that period. I do hope to get started writing on here agin, helped by the fact that I have also started a few other blogs that I hope as well to keep up to date with. That might sound a bit mad, that I haven't wrote on here for 18 months, yet I've set up another few blogs (6 to be exact!), but I'm sure that every now and then I will get around to posting more on each one.

In brief, over the past year and a half, I've:

- Improved steadily in my role at NNC, including surviving a couple of cutbacks
- Qualified as a Level 7 Referee, applied for promotion to 6+ and done over 100 games
- Married 'The One' (not Neo) in the greatest day of my life
- Found out I'm going to be a dad, on Milly's 21st birthday (Boxing Day '2010)
- Had the perfect Honeymoon in Italy, visiting places like Lake Garda, Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Verona, Pisa and Sardinia.
- Had a short break in Paris
- Become an uncle again and an expected uncle
- And plenty more!

I should really have lots to write about so I do hope to cover much of the above in greater detail in forthcoming posts. I'm setting aside time each week at work (on dinner breaks as I don't do anything else) to post on here and then others so hopefully they will all build up a bit over time.

For info, my other blogs are (in order of interest / relevance / point..)

- Adamelia + 1 (
- Top Whistleblower (
- Elcey's 43 Things (
- Me, and everyone Elce (
- Mighty Kopites (
- App Reviewer (

Please feel free to subscribe and comment.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Cash back - is right too!!

Having realised PC World had charged me £167 for something I didn't ask for, I went straight back there after dinner today and gave the salesman my views on his sales pitch. He actually looked quite embarressed, funny to say he was well into his 30's. Managed to get a good refund so now I'm paying £15 a month for all my new gear, rather than £21, which over 4 years will be quite a saving. I'll also think twice before deciding to purchase from this guy again!

I spend far too much!!

My TFT monitor recently fizzled out and as I can't live without checking Facebook and my emails every 2.5 minutes I hooked the PC up to our flatscreen TV and have had the comfort of surfing the net from my armchair. The only trouble being that I have a very crap wireless keyboard that takes forever to register and constantly misses letters out as you type so yesterday we headed to PC World to buy a cheap standard wired keyboard, costing between £10-15.

We'd also decided that we were really in need of a new printer too as I keep buying second hand ones for £20-30 and they were never any good so I thought I'll go all out and get a pretty expensive lab-quality one on finance. We chose our printer fairly quickly but then got sidetracked looking at laptops. My PC isn't the largest or quickest though it's not that bad but I have been looking at going wireless for some time. So it was decided, if I could get a deal where I'm paying no more than £20 a month I'll get a new printer, laptop and wireless kit!

So here I sit, on my new laptop, costing £429.99, connected to the new Belkin Wireless Modem Router, costing about £44.99 and I am yet to set up our new Epson SX600FW Wireless printer, costing £97.99. I got a good finance package where I'm only paying £21 a month for the next couple of years but having read the paperwork last night, I noticed the software 'deal' the salesman 'chucked in' actually cost me £167.99, which wound me up so I'm heading back there today to kick off and get that taken out the deal.

Amost another year without updates!

I had hoped to get back into updating this blog at some point but I'm so busy with everything else that I never seem to have the time. I can't believe I only added 2 posts during the whole of 2008. I'm determined to get back to updating again so I've made this blog my home page and will add to it whenever I'm online, starting now!

Sunday, 20 July 2008

One True Beauty Video

I'd recently heard a song on a 9/11 tribute video on Facebook that was really emotional and I just had to find out what it was and create my own video using it. I eventually got hold of a full version of it, by Enya called Only Time. I'd been meaning to create a special video for Milly using many photo's we'd gathered over the past year or so, so when she was asleep today I knocked this up in about half an hour. Let me know what you think!