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Archive for September 2007



A Weekend Project

Posted on Sunday 30th September 2007 at 00:00
It is a sign of the fast paced modern world we live in that attitudes to home furnishings have changed somewhat. My parents for example bought their current house in 1982 and spent a full 5 years making it habitable. In fact, it was only in 2002 (I think) that they bought a sofa specifically for the house, their previous one having been handed down from one set of grandparents.

(As a side note: When we finally dismantled the thing & a task that made taking down a tower block seem as easy as loosing at Jenga & we discovered some old coins down the back with the date of production given as 1942.)

Me on the other hand, I'm not all that patient. Instead of taking 5 odd years to 'finish? my apartment, I've attempted to do the whole lot inside two months. Having bought masses of furniture in August and a ridiculous number of lamps earlier this month, this weekend it was time for the finishing touches: cushions, mirrors, pictures and blinds.

Oddly enough for a Saturday, the Ikea car park was almost empty by virtue of a massive traffic jam on the M32 just outside. I'd like to think that I was fairly near the front of the tail back when I joined it, and yet it took me nearly an hour to get down the slip road and across the roundabout. The cushions were easy enough, and so was the mirror, in the sense that they didn't have the one I wanted in stock, and so I didn't have to buy it.

The venetian blinds had been chosen in advance, which simplified things in the shop and so I was left with the pictures. This took some deciding on, and I gather I was considered quite a spectacle by the crowds of shoppers as I left the store with a trolley full of awkwardly balanced frames and one particularly large example being dragged along the floor beside me as it was just too big to do anything else with.

Fortunately for me, the audience was somewhat smaller whilst I wrestled the bloody thing into the back of my Ford Fiesta, and no one was watching at all when I arrived home and tried to unload it all without breaking anything.

Today I woke up with just one thing on my mind: like all men everywhere, I needed Power Tools! A couple of hours later I was in B&Q feeling thoroughly emasculated by the sheer range and complexity of drill bits, screws, picture hooks and Rawl plugs. I had thought that this little project would be as simple as switching on the kitchen light, but I quickly realised that, for all my hours of watching my dad doing jobs around the house when I was a kid, I didn't know shit about DIY.

That said, I can't help but feel a certain sense of pride as I sit back now and survey the damage my achievements. The pictures proved to be a breeze in the end, although I've since decided that one might look better on the other side of the room from where it is now. The venetian blinds however, were far more tricky, and with the second one I put up, it was down to sheer luck that it stayed, rather than any great technical ability on my part. Sadly I did a piss poor job of measuring this one up, which was odd as I used the same method for both and it totally worked the first time. As a result the holes would have been uneven even if the drill hadn't slipped a couple of times.

Now all that remains is to make a start on clearing up the heaps of packaging and spares that litter the room. I think hoovering up the dust and debris will have to wait until after work tomorrow.

As will reattaching whichever of the blinds decides to fall down in the night...

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Towed

Posted on Wednesday 26th September 2007 at 00:00
It's Monday morning and I'm pissed off.

Despite allowing twice as much time for my journey to work as it should actually take, the sheer scale of the traffic problem in Bristol has ensured that I am now late for work. As if to make matters worse, some idiot from Estates, Transport or God knows what department has decided to leave the barriers to the restricted car parks up, meaning that any and every idiot arriving on campus can park there, including the 10,000 or so Freshers who don't even know which car parks they are and aren't allowed to use.

Not surprisingly my car park is full and I am forced to find another. I drive at break-neck speed from one area to the next, eventually settling on the misnamed 'Car Park 9?. I say misnamed because 'Car Park? rather suggests tarmac and white lines and so on, where is this is little more than a stretch of dirt beside the road that no one has dumped anything on yet.

As I enter the area I pass a sign saying something to the effect of 'Car Park 9 and Car Park 10 Closed. Use Car Park 20?.

Bollocks to that! thinketh I. Car Park 20 isn't even on the campus itself but is a massive overflow car park across the main road, and a good half mile from where I work. If I go there I'll not get into work before Friday. Luckily for me there are a good deal of drivers who feel the same way, and I am not alone as I manoeuvre my vehicle into a space so small you'd think twice about parking a bike in it.

I walk into work and spend the next 10 minutes shouting and swearing to anyone who'll listen about the dreadful state of parking on campus, as is part of my morning ritual.

A number of hours later, I finish work and walk back to Car Park 9. As I approach it I can't help feeling that there is something terribly wrong. Upon arriving in the correct place, I know there is something terribly wrong.

My car is not where I left it.

I keep walking, hoping against hope that I've been mistaken and it is further down. It isn't. I look back at where it should be, wondering if a new perspective will shed any light on the situation. Still no car. As I begin to head back the way I'd come, I replay the last scene in my head. I definitely parked here, which means I'm not going mad. I definitely locked it, and there is no glass on the ground, which means it probably hasn't been stolen.

Man #1: Can I help you?
Me: Yea, I think my car's been towed...
Man #1: Ok, where was it parked?
Me: Car Park 9.
Man #2: *Laughs*
Man #1: Yea, we decided to close Car Park 9. Since your car had a student pass on it, we figured we wouldn't be able to track you down, so we towed it.
Me: Err.....
Man #2: We dumped it in Car Park 20.
Me: ....thanks?

As I walk through Car Park 20, I become more and more confused. The car park is fairly empty and of the cars that remain, only around three or four are red and none are mine. I squint into the distance and can just about make out the shape of a car in the furthest corner of the car park, just a blur against the horizon.

Five minutes later I reach my car, fortunately unharmed, aside from the lowest section of the front bumper, which has been all but pulled clean off the car. I mutter something unprintable about the guys in the transport department, and set off home.

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The Two Faces Of St Pauls

Posted on Tuesday 18th September 2007 at 00:00
Spend any time in Bristol and the chances are you will hear mention of an area of the city called St Pauls. In my case I heard of it from friends even before I arrived in the city three years ago. Like you, I was told to avoid the place at all costs by each and every person I spoke to on the subject. This is something of a rarity in a city where various forms of snobbery and inverted snobbery have led to everyone having bad words to say on at least one area of the city each. In fact, get the right group of people together in a room and they will collectively tell you that every district in Bristol is uninhabitable.

St Pauls though is the only place where opinions are universal. Even the local media can't resist slating the place whenever a story breaks there. It seems that this economically deprived and ethnically diverse area of town is nothing short of an urban hell, with drug dealers and criminals ruling the streets and the police intimidated to the point of staying away for their own safety.

This isn't entirely true of course. The police rarely get called out to anywhere else, and it is the council workers who are intimidated into staying away. St Pauls is famous as the home of the infamous Black and White Cafe, which until its demolition a few years back, was the single worst drug den in the whole of the UK, as well as the flash point for the Bristol Race Riots in the 1980s.

St Pauls is also the best place to go if you want to get stabbed or shot. Weekend stabbings in the area have become so common that local radio stations more or less reserve a slot in the Monday morning schedule for an in depth discussion of the latest violence. If you were to remove the place from statistics, Bristol would probably be a pretty safe city to live in.

The unanimous dislike for St Pauls and warnings against ever going there had had such an effect on me that until last weekend I didn't actually know where St Pauls was exactly, except that it was somewhere north west of city centre. It was with some shock therefore that on Saturday I found myself walking within 100 yards of the boundary to this inner city slum. It was the day of the St Pauls Carnival & a scaled down version of the one held in Notting Hill in London during the August Bank Holiday weekend & and I only realised where I was because of the road blocks on all the side streets.

Such was the importance of the event that BBC Radio Bristol had been broadcasting live from the heart of the festival all morning, and the word from presenter Dr Phil Hammond was that there were plenty of scantily clad ladies to be found. With such high recommendations, temptation got the better of me, and I found myself taking my first tentative steps into a world I wasn't entirely sure I wished to discover.

My mind was soon set at ease though. The carnival was in full swing by now and it was clear from the moment I stepped into Portland Square that the day's stabbings had been put on hold for the celebrations. The square itself is a beautiful little place, surrounded on all sides by Georgian architecture and styles. I'm told that St Pauls used to be the residency of choice for the slave traders who once made Bristol a rich and powerful city. How ironic that these once great homes should become the run down and dilapidated dwellings of the descendents of many of those slaves.

There is something terribly sad about seeing such beautiful buildings in such a terrible condition, and I might have dwelled on them for a while, had I not been distracted by the precession that was going passed. Unlike Notting Hill, there were few barriers here, and crowd control was at a minimum, so I was able to cross the street and walk among the brightly coloured costumes that danced before me.

The area was crowded and it took a while to cross the square and set off on my own to explore the neighbourhood. I wandered for maybe half an hour around the nearby streets and was amazed by what I saw. The houses looked very run down, the tarmac on the road was in a dreadful state of repair, and I couldn't help but think how terrifying a place it could be on a dark night. But the people! There were people everywhere I looked. Those who lived locally had set up stalls in front of their homes and were selling everything from Jerk Chicken to cans of cider. In some places I felt I'd walked into a smoke filled market place and in others a music concert, thanks to the numerous stages and speaker sets in place on every street, blaring out popular tunes of the genre.

Official estimates say there may have been 60,000 people there, and I believe it. It was with great regret that I left St Pauls after an hour, in order to return to Broadmead, just a street away, and continue my shopping.

On Monday morning I turned on my radio in time to hear the latest stabbing report. Part of me hoped that amid the joy and happiness of the carnival, perhaps knife crime had been given a miss that weekend.

I was disappointed to discover it hadn't.

On Saturday night a man in his 30s had died of a stab wound to the neck, just hours after the festival drew to a close. By the time I switched on for the evening report a few hours later, it had emerged that the ambulance crew who attended the scene had been attacked by a mob of around 100, some of whom pulled them away by their hair as they tried desperately to resuscitate the man.

As a result of the incident, the police were forced to delay the clean up from the carnival for a day whilst they searched for a murder weapon. Rubbish was left rotting in the streets until mid Monday when the knife was recovered, much to the displeasure of local residents.

After my visit to St Pauls I feel many things about the area, but none more so than sadness that this deprived and downtrodden place, that has so much potential and such a lot to offer, continues week after week to confirm the very worst prejudices that the rest of the city has about it. They claim to want help to regenerate their town, and to bring it up to the standard of the rest of Bristol, but first they have to help themselves. If they can't do that, then why should anyone else put their lives on the line to visit this wasted area?

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Road Works

Posted on Thursday 13th September 2007 at 00:00
There are road works outside my apartment.

Well, I say road works, these aren't real road works and, what's more, they aren't outside my apartment either, but a few yards further up the road. Not that this really matters, since issues of location are more important with real road works, which (I think I mentioned) these are not.

Real road works come in many different shapes and sizes, but are easily identifiable to the amateur road work spotter by the presence of work being done in and to the road. This work can take various forms, but usually consists of one or more holes or trenches being dug into the road surface, tarmac being dug up, a pneumatic drill and at least one token pile of earth & because you just can't have road works without the pile of earth depicted on the warning signs we all know and dread.

One thing you can be pretty sure won't be a feature of road works is a road that hasn't been worked on at all. Note well, I didn't say being worked on (except in the previous paragraph, when it seemed to fit and which I now can't be arsed to change), as this is a different matter entirely. It is actually extremely common to see road works on which no one is actually doing any work, as this is the normal state of play in which any workman being paid to do work prefers to keep his site. He does this because it is a well known trade secret among such professionals that the best way to stop dust and dirt from landing in the teeth-rottingly sweet tea is to avoid any activities that may lift that dust and dirt from the ground in the first place. But I digress.

Whilst you don't ever see any work being done by workmen, you can bet your life that by the time you pass the road works they'll have dug a hole sufficiently large as to ensure that no one can drive on that section of the road until they have been paid a massive bonus to fill it in again.

This is always the case with real road works. With my fake road works however, it is clear to see that there has been some sort of mistake. The 3-way temporary traffic lights are in place,; the 'When red light shows, please wait here? boards are present (although admittedly they've been propped up against the traffic lights, which doesn't leave you much room to pull out into if you choose to take such signs literally); and the long queues of vexed car drivers are on site, horns at the ready.

But that is it.

There are no holes, no cones, no drills and no workmen. Not even ones with mugs of tea in their hands. Someone has forgotten the parts of road works that actually make them road works, as oppose to an irritating additional set of traffic lights to add to the 19 sets that already feature on my daily commute round the east side of Bristol. In some ways it's a good thing to have them there I guess; I do like round numbers. Oh wait, there are at least two sets of traffic lights that I forgot to count just then. Bugger.

These road works arrived on Monday, and so far as I can tell, are the most unnecessary obstruction to free flowing traffic since the Twyford Down road protest camp. Careful observation of the surrounding area has led me to the following conclusion:

The road in question is a main road between Kingswood and Downend. Coming off this road is a small residential street, on which they appear to have parked a digger and left some tools. Although it's a tight squeeze, this road is still accessible to the half a dozen or so cars that use it each year. However, seemingly worried about the safety of these vehicles, the person running the project has seen fit to extend the temporary traffic lights to include the 20 cars a minute main road, despite the fact that the road works do not extend into this road at all.

The person running the project is a moron.

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It’s Not Rocket Science, It’s Housework!

Posted on Thursday 13th September 2007 at 00:00
I decide to empty my hoover.

Oddly enough, this is the first time I have attempted such a task since moving into the apartment a full 6 weeks ago. I'm not suggesting I haven't hoovered vacuumed in all that time (sorry, the red lines under hoover were pissing me off so I've been forced to say vacuum cleaner instead, even though it isn't an expression I ever use in real life), just that I haven't emptied the sucky machine before.

Being a spoilt kid from the South East, I was brought up on Vax, and had never used an upright vacuum cleaner before. With a Vax, all the dust is collected in a bag that only has to be emptied once every 27 million years or so, but with the Dyson rip-off cyclonic cleaner I now have, the dust storage capacity is greatly reduced; a situation that can only be made worse by the fact that most of what ends up in the transparent 'dust tank? looks suspiciously like my carpet. Quite how much of the carpet is being pulled up by this thing I'm not sure, but I'm almost tempted to save the contents of the tank in case my landlord claims that I've inadvertently robbed him of a perfectly good floor covering.

The dust tank is undeniably full, and after some gentle probing I locate the button that releases it from the rest of the machine. Having had bad experiences with emptying dust bags before, I elect to go outside and empty it straight into one of the giant dumpsters that service the waste needs of the building.

Having finally found a bin that I can prop open without the use of my arms or head, I begin to search the tank for the catch that will open it. This duly located, I give it an experimental pull whilst trying to gauge exactly how it all comes apart.

The bottom of the dust tank drops open like a trap door and after I'm done coughing and spluttering on the dust, I discover an interesting new pile of dirt where my shoes used to be.

I quickly revert to holding the dust tank over the bin before conducting any further examinations. It seems to me that rather a lot of the carpet has remained inside the tank and is out of reach of my fingers. Having tried everything I can think of with the trap door, I take a look at the top end of the device, which has a twisty thing labelled 'Lock' and 'Unlock?. I twist it and the whole thing collapses into about 15 different pieces, all of which I nearly drop into the massive bin.

Most of the mess now deposited either into the bin or on the floor, I find myself confronted with a cross between a filter and a miniature turbine, which I assume is where the wind comes from. Unfortunately it is very full of dust, and apparently reluctant to come clean as easily as the rest of tank so I resolve to clean it fold by fold with my fingers.

As I stand there, pulling pieces of fluff out of the filter and dropping them into the bin, I dislodge great clouds of dust that don't go in the bin at all, but decide instead to settle on my hands, arms, face, glasses, t-shirt, jeans, shoes, watch, and even in my hair.

A few minutes later I walk back to my apartment; a human sandstorm. As I enter the building I pass a girl who lives on the floor above me and she smiles and says hello, despite having completely ignored me on our previous meeting.

I wonder if she has a thing for dusty men.

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Unsung Hero Saves Motorists From Big Bad Cops

Posted on Monday 10th September 2007 at 00:00
Yesterday I was driving through Bristol. The road between Kingswood and St George, heading towards the city centre if you want to be precise, which I know you don't. Traffic was light on the ground and I was enjoyed every m/s of my 30MPH and so only just spotted the wooden board propped against a traffic island bollard in the middle of the road.

It was quite a reasonably sized piece of wood, maybe four foot by four foot, and in white paint somebody had written the legend 'POLICE CAMERA 200 YDS?. The message had clearly been written in some hurry and the sign erected without planning permission, and to my eyes it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

Some unknown saint - a resident of that street perhaps & had spotted the mobile speed camera parking up in position for a good day's worth of highway robbery and had sought to protect the motoring public at large; unknown strangers who he (or she) could not allow to be bankrupted by the money-grabbing division of the Avon and Somerset Police Force.

To me, a chronic breaker of traffic laws, this anonymous individual was our Robin Hood to their Sheriff of Nottingham; a saviour of society and beacon of hope in this over regulated and morally bankrupt wasteland that we call the modern world. An example to all and an inspiration for all those with a large piece of wood and a paint brush. If only we were all as charitable.

As it happens, I didn't come across the speed camera before passing the sister sign facing the other way, but did find it further down the road at some traffic lights, where the road forks to the left and leads to Hanham. It and I appeared to be going the same way, and we were half way across the city before we parted ways and I could speed off again, only to arrive at my destination 100 yards later.

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Troublesome Toast

Posted on Thursday 6th September 2007 at 00:00
In life, there are many great unanswered questions to be found: 'Is there a god??; 'Why is there pain and suffering in the world??; 'Do we have an immortal soul that wanders the Earth after our bodies die??; 'What time is McDonalds Drive-Tru on the Filton Retail Park open til on a Friday night?? etc.

Perhaps the most important of all these questions; the one crucial for maintaining a balanced order in the universe, without which everything will collapse in on itself and be destroyed, is this:

Why is my toaster square when loaves of bread are always rectangular?


I bought myself a toaster the other day from Sainsbury's for about '5. At the same time, I also purchased a loaf of medium cut wholemeal bread. You'd think, seeing as both products came from the same store and how such things are generally used together on most occasions, that maybe the bread and the toaster would have been designed to go together.

Apparently not.

Unfortunately the designers of this toaster, which in most respects is typical of the sort of appliance that you can buy for the same price almost anywhere on the high street, were often ill as children, and so sadly missed the lesson at nursery school in which all the other kids were taught that rectangular things do not fit inside square things, especially if that latter is particularly small by comparison.

Whilst I acknowledge that this gap in the basic understanding of geometry would have been a more serious concern for children growing up to be architects, it nonetheless presents me with a difficulty when I wish to make myself some toast.

After much experimentation, I find myself left with two options: either I place the bread in the toaster with the long side vertical and the short side horizontal, in which case half the bread sticks out the top of the toaster and remains uncooked, or I force the blasted thing in the other way round, in which case it goes all the way in, gets stuck and burns.

If that choice wasn't bad enough, the bread I use tends to be frozen and squashed into unusual shapes by the effort of trying to cram as much into the freeze box as possible, so even if I settle on the first option, the bread usually jams in the toaster anyway, with the bottom still being burnt whilst the top remains frozen.

Surely I can't be the only to have noticed this problem?

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A Year In The Making…

Posted on Sunday 2nd September 2007 at 00:00
And so to a somewhat special milestone in the history of this blog, for today it is exactly a year since I sat at my computer in the middle of the night, back in my parent's house in Yateley and wrote my first piece for this blog. As far as I was concerned at the time it was still the 1st September, not the 2nd, and I would have chosen that date on which to write this, were it not for the timestamp on the post, which tells me that it went up at 00:33 GMT on the 2nd of the month.

And what a year it has been! Towards the end of August 2006 I wasn't a cheerful chappy. Over the summer I'd become increasingly disgruntled with the failure (as I saw it at the time) of my friends to make any real efforts to spend time together during the university holidays. What was actually happening was the shift in the nature of these friendships, from the everyday friends who like to meet up several times a week for drinking, eating and trips to the cinema, to the stereo typical 'old school friends? who are gradually going their separate ways and who simply don't have the time to be as close as they once were.

I was the only one of my particular circle of friends to not be working over the summer, and as with previous years I was bored and ever so slightly lonely during the long days spent alone. I was also unique for being the only one to return home from university expecting to socialise more, not less than I had been doing. On the whole I had found & and continue to find & that my acquaintances in Bristol are few and far between. Those I know here tend to have very separate lives outside lectures, in which I do not feature.

There are probably a number of reasons for this, not least a difference in personalities and interests, and also that many of these people are local to the area, and so have existing friendship groups firmly established here. My school friends had likewise moved quickly and easily into groups at their respective universities, and so by the time we came home for summer, they felt no need to catch up on social activities as I did.

You must forgive my rambling as I am well aware that this is quite a dull story, but it is one that I have not told in full before, and feel that it should be written down, even if it costs me a few more of my readership. Perhaps I could throw in a joke or two to liven things up.

...or perhaps not.

So anyway, August 2006 and I'm feeling annoyed and unhappy with my situation in life and wish to indulge in a little escapism. Quite by chance I happen across an episode of Meet The Bloggers, which was being broadcast on Radio 4 at the time. It was the episode with Anna Pickard in and after listening to the show I visited her site and read a few of her posts. The idea of blogging to an audience of total strangers seemed to fit my needs entirely, and without further hesitation I began the task of hard coding the site you see before you today.

Actually, a lot of what you see before you today was added in bits and pieces over the course of the year, but after around two days, I had enough of the site functional that I couldn't resist writing my first post.

Since then it's been pretty hard to stop for most of the time. Statistically speaking, at 235 posts to date, including this one, I've fallen far below my original target of one post per day, but not at first. In fact, over the autumn and early winter I posted frequently and well. Even looking back now, I'm surprised and inspired by what I was writing back then.

Finally, at 13:41 GMT on Tuesday 17 October 2006, I got what I'd been waiting for from the beginning: my first comment. I've had quite a few more since then as well, 624 at the moment. Not bad really considering the sort of wank I usually write. In fact, it's almost half the number of offers I get via email to sell me little blue pills and fake degrees every hour.

Over the summer there's been a slight downturn in the number of posts I've been pumping out. Some would call it the summer lull, but I don't know if there is any truth in this statement, given how awful the weather has been. Even as I write this, the wind's picked up and the rain's begun to fall. I have been busy though, it can't be denied. Work has been doing its very best to take over my entire life and moving house didn't leave me with a whole lot of spare time either.

As autumn begins for the second time in the life of this blog though, I'm rather hoping to get back into the swing of regular posting once more. There is a gap in what could loosely be described as my 'schedule? between getting home from work and deciding to cook dinner, which would be most suited to blogging. If memory serves, this is when I used to do most of my blogging throughout the winter, as an alternative to being forced to watch Hollyoaks with J, H and A.

With that 'promise? of more effort in mind, I'll leave you now and return to gazing out the window at the builders/handymen who appear to be doing something with the semi-derelict property across the road from me. So far they've been practicing hitting things with hammers to see which method makes the most disruptive noise, as well as climbing onto the fragile looking corrugated plastic roof and then stamping on bits of it to see what will happen.

Oh wait, now they are hitting the roof with the hammer. Excellent.

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Happy At Home

Posted on Saturday 1st September 2007 at 00:00
I'm sitting on my sofa with my notebook on my lap, a mug of hot chocolate and two chocolate digestives on a plate resting on the coffee table next to me. The radio is tuned to BBC Radio Bristol and Geoff Barker's Rock and Roll Party. I have just returned from Broadmead, and as I sit here my mind begins to reflect on my first visit to Starbucks since before I moved into The New Place.

Those of you who were paying attention back in July will remember that I was curious to learn why it was that the Starbucks lounge is far cosier than my own lounge at the time. With the move from my old house to this apartment firmly in mind, I wished to discover what I would need to do to my first ever home of my own to make it as comfortable and relaxing as the coffee shop I'm so fond of visiting.

I was going to have to furnish the place myself, so I would be starting from scratch and it seemed important, therefore, to get it right first time. Fast forward a month or so to today and I decide to return to Starbucks for a few hours, with my book, in order to compare the place with my own efforts and see where I can improve things.

Sitting back here now, I don't think I've done a bad job. My sofa & whilst new and therefore in need of a proper breaking in & is probably as comfortable as any of the ones I've tried there. The music is also a pretty close match, if you ignore the random talking between songs that you get on the radio.

I don't have carpet on the floor in here, but the room is warm, so I figure I probably don't need it. The other most striking difference, besides the lack of 20 odd people drinking coffee, is the walls. The walls of my local Starbucks are painted in strong colours: burgundy on one wall; British racing green on another. They are covered in framed pictures of different size, theme and colour, including my favourite: an aerial photo of the Clifton Suspension Bridge with Concorde clearly visible, flying in the background. How very Bristol!

My walls on the other hand are all magnolia, the colour of choice in all rented housing. It's a good backing colour because it's light enough to make the room look big and goes well with almost any other colour you put to it, and what's more: I rather like it's bright cheerfulness. Sadly, magnolia walls, light wood on the floor, light wooden furniture and a white sofa have all combined to give the room a slightly washed out look, and it's desperate need of more colour.

I have a picture hanging on my wall; a black and blue silhouette of a saxophone player in a matching blue frame that I bought from Ikea during my second year of university. It's a nice picture actually and works well where I have it, but I don't think it's enough. I'm planning on going back next time I have money to see what else I can find. All being well, the room will get the injection of colour it so badly needs.

An improvement in the lighting, courtesy of some well positioned lamps will add the finishing touches to a room that, in my view at least, is a rival for the Starbucks lounge any day. Now all I need is an endless supply of delicious caffe lattes to keep me fuelled and I'll never need to trek over to Starbucks again.

.....although I probably still will, because I do love it down there.

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