Meanwhile…. back at Chancel Street

A very pleasant day at the start of February was the setting for fifth 28 day Appearance and I was asked these questions:

Capper Street to National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery

Bakers Hall to Mitre Square

Bow Registry Office to Patriot Square

Hyde Park Square to Queens Gardens

 

Before I’ve started I’ve managed to drop 4 points including the Macmillan Cancer Centre and I’ve gone Huntley Street, Torrington Place, Gower Street… L New Oxford Street…. L Old Gloucester Street, Comply Queen Square SDOL. I’ve also managed to call 2 wrong Street names and scored 4/10 – disappointing start.

Now on the next run, I knew that Lime Street, Fenchurch Avenue etc has been closed for ages, so I’ve decided to avoid that route. (BTW it’s all open again now, I checked that weekend). This time I’ve opted for LOL Harp Lane, Cross Lane, St Dunstens Hill, Eastcheap, Philpot Lane, Fenchurch St, Gracechurch St and even though I knew it was illegal, I went right on Leadenhall St.

What a plonker am I! The examiner stopped me right there and was none too pleased with that manoeuvre. I hadn’t dropped any points on this run, and this was a great chance to make up a few points – 0/10 and 16 points dropped on my first 2 runs. It’s now a very big ask indeed.

Four points dropped on the next run and even though the line was ok, I’m sure now that I’m staring a D in the face. I kept this big and went Bow Rd, Grove Rd, Roman Rd, Cambridge Heath Rd and R into Patriot Sq. 6/10

On the last run, I’ve continued the theme of haemorrhaging points and dropped another 5. Coupled with a crap line I’ve scored 3/10 13/40 and another D.

This could have been my drop to 21s and I’ve walked out feeling like a crass amateur. The guys and girls back at the school were, and always are, very supportive. We have a philosophy when we don’t score – ‘Bag it, bin it and move on!’….

 

…. Which brings me to my next Appearance in the first week of March. Here’s what I was asked:

Rainville Rd to North Dulwich Station

Petty Wales to Bayswater Station

Rainbow Sports Bar to Snowfields

Watergate to Watergate St

No points dropped here and as the first line is rather long, here’s the gist of it. I left Rainville Rd and made my wat to Battersea Bridge, then along Clapham Common North Side… Acre Lane… Effra Rd… Dulwich Rd… Half Moon Lane and L into Red Post Hill and SDOR. It’s a while since I pointed North Dulwich Station and when I did I failed to notice that you can’t drop it on the right. 0/10

I managed to drop Water Lane on the second run, for crying out loud. Anyway I’ve gone along the river and turned right at Temple Place, then made my way up to Oxford St via Soho then the straight forward line to Queensway. This is Mayfair all day so another 2 points dropped and a 7/10 – all to play for still.

Run number 3, I went straight over London Bridge then Borough High St… Long Lane… Bermondsey St and Snowfields. A point dropped for hesitation and another because I think the examiner was looking for Weston St – Happy days 8/10.

For the final run I’ve done an illegal right at the start and I’m sorry but I’m too embarrassed to tell you what it is. Anyway the rest of the run was pretty good and the examiner said to me, ‘I’m sorry but there was a bit of noise at the start of that, would you call it again please?’ – he was giving me a chance but this was far too subtle for me to comprehend and I called the illegal again, FFS. 0/10, 15/40 in total.

This was my 2nd chance to get my drop to 21s and I’m at 3-3 and looking at getting red lined, somewhere I really didn’t want to be. I have, however got one more chance.

 

An utterly beautiful day at the start of April greeted me for the 7th stab at my 28s. I was asked the following:

Pickfords Wharf to Debruin Court

Laburnham Boat Club to Curfew Rowing Club

Auriol Rowing Club to London Wetlands Centre

Cygnet Rowing Club to Corinthian Sailing Club

 

On the first run I’ve dropped 5 points including Islington Boat Club and Regents Canoe Club. The line I took was City Rd…. Commercial Rd… Limehouse Link… Westferry Rd and R into Ferry St. After dropping 5 points I’m elated to have scored 5/10 for that one.

The next run I’ve dropped no points and basically stitched 2 Blue Book runs together (Cambridge Heath Stn to Mudchute Stn and Beaumont Sq to Cannon Wharf Business Park) and gone via Rotherhithe tunnel. I have to suppose that this was what the Examiner was looking for as I scored 10/10!

On the third run I’ve dropped 4 points on Queen Elizabeth Walk. The Examiner kept saying SW13 after each point and, like a plank, I’m giving him destinations in Putney (SW15). Anyway apart from forgetting Mall Rd (when I left I said ‘Leave by forward and right Rutland Grove’, hoping he wouldn’t notice – well he did!), I seem to have pulled another good line and that’s 5/10.

So going into the last run I need 4 points. I didn’t drop any points and it’s a banker. Well peeps, apart from calling Riverside Dr Riverdale Rd, I’ve called it spot on and scored 9/10.

Now, I’ve had well over 20 Appearances and I don’t know if I’ve done enough here. The Examiner spoke for what seemed an eternity before he handed me back my card and said ‘We’ll see you again in 21 days time.’ 29/40 points and 4 – 3 on Appearances and I’m on my 21s. I couldn’t stop thanking the Examiner. I’m sure he must have been on the brink of just telling me to go! I then made my way back to London Bridge Station walking several feet above the pavement!

 

Image result for cartoon labrador

One of the guys at our Knowledge School posted this on our Whatsapp group about 3 weeks ago and I’m still laughing at it now. Enjoy!

A man sees a sign outside a house – ‘Talking Dog For Sale.’ He rings the bell, the owner appears and tells him the dog can be viewed in the back garden. The man sees a very nice looking Labrador Retriever sitting there.

“Do you really talk?” he asks the dog.

“Yes,” the Labrador replies.

After recovering from the shock of hearing the dog talk, the man asks, “So, tell me your story.”

The Labrador looks up and says, “Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I was sold to the SAS.  In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one imagined that a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years”.

“But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I signed up for a job at Heathrow Airport to do some undercover security work, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in.  I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded several medals”.

“Then I got married, had a few puppies, and now I’ve just retired.”

The man is amazed.  He goes back into the house and asks the owner how much he wants for the dog. “Ten quid,” the owner says. “£10!!? But your dog is absolutely amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheaply?”

“Because he’s a lying b@stard, he’s never been out of the garden.”

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Yet more 28s

A particularly clement morning at the start of November saw me up for my 2nd 28 Day Appearance, and here are the questions:

Peabody Trust to Piccadilly Theatre

Old Dutch Restaurant to Holland Street (Kensington)

All Souls Avenue to 606 Club

West Norwood Station to St James Station

I have seen this Examiner before and he always asks about places I have worked and always knows where they are. He even knew the street of Sheffield Polytechnic, where I went to college. So after dropping Peabody Square but guessing it might be on the Peabody Estate on Southwark Street, he said, ‘There’s a Piccadilly in Manchester, let’s go to Piccadilly Theatre.’ I saw this as Waterloo Bridge and then went a bit low by going down the Strand… Pall Mall… Regent Street… Glasshouse St… Sherwood St and left into Denman St. So 1 point dropped for not knowing Peabody Square and 2 for going low – 7/10 and I’m well happy with that.

Next up I’ve taken this one down Shaftesbury Ave… Haymarket… Piccadilly and south of the park when it’s north and possibly through the park. 2 points dropped for not being direct and another 1 for a wrong street name – another 7/10.

The third run I’ve got myself down to Holland Park roundabout and instead of Holland Rd/Warwick Gdns/Earls Court Rd. I’ve lost my bearings and gone Holland Pk Ave/Notting Hill Gate/Campden Hill Rd only to come back on myself to redeem the line on Earls Court Rd. Bit of a clanger, that one – 6/10.

I made quite heavy work of the last line and eventually took this over Lambeth Bridge and then a rather convoluted route to Broadway. Remarkably I got another 7/10. That’s 27/40 and a C for this Knowledge boy, and I think Christmas has come a little early for me this year.

 

At the start of December 2016, Britain had hit ‘something of a cold snap’ according the weather reports and I was looking at the prospect of having scored on every Appearance within a calendar year. Here’s what I was asked:

Meadway to Trellick Tower

Hilton Riverside to Fellows Rd

St Julians Farm Rd to Young Vic Theatre

Wormwood Scrubs Prison to Gielgud Theatre

The first run should be left via Meadway Gate/Hoop Lane/Finchley Road and for the life of me I couldn’t see it. Sometimes if I think about it, I can rationalise things. Not this time and I’ve left via Holne Chase and Winnington Rd. The line I pulled from there was actually not bad, but the damage had already been done, 5 points dropped and 5/10.

After the first run, I’m now a bit unnerved and I’ve taken this one over Waterloo Bridge… Drury Lane… Tottenham Court Road round the east side of Regents Park and onto Primrose Hill Rd to get Fellows Rd. Wide and a lot of hesitation – 6/10.

I know I’m paying catch up now and managed to score 2/10 on the 3rd run. Dreadful call from me.

On the last run despite dropping 4 points, I’ve scored 6/10 – 19/40 and my first D for over a year.

To be fair, if I would have been offered 6 Cs and 1 D for my next 7 Appearances I would have snapped your hand off, and a year after getting knocked back to the start of my 56s, I’m 2-1 up on my 28s. I have pulled my finger out and I’m genuinely happy with at where I’m at.

 

With 2017 now upon us, the first week in January saw me continue with my 28s. I was asked the following:

Royal Inn on the Park to Novotel Waterloo

Ciao Bella to Hurlingham Club

Tonga High Commission to Bloomsbury Ambulance Station

Grant Zoology Museum to Hollywood Arms PH

This is the first time I have seen this examiner who was very pleasant and made me feel at ease before we began. I really did appreciate this as I had spent the previous 3 days in bed with man flu.

The first run going from NE to SW, I’ve gone Grove Rd/Old Ford Rd… Bethnal Green Rd/Shoreditch High St… over London Bridge and down to Elephant & Castle and the on to Lambeth Rd. Probably should have been Southwark Bridge and with no points dropped I’ve scored 8/10. Happy days.

Next up I’ve left on the right Lamb Conduit St on to Russell Square… Oxford St and through Mayfair and made my way to Kings Rd and the followed the Blue Book to Hurlingham Club. This must have been ok as it’s another 8/10.

The 3rd run is very similar to one of Missing Pieces runs I’ve added to my daily callovers, and I’ve made a right Harry Halls of it. So from Goodge St, I’ve gone Tottenham Court Rd/Chenies St/Gower St then L Torrington Pl. Of course, I’m too low for that and I still can’t believe I did it, but hey. That’s 0/10 and I need an 8/10 for my last run.

Mercifully I’ve dropped no points on the last run although I’ve gone down as far as Princes Circus before opting for Oxford St the via Mayfair to Piccadilly… Knightsbridge/Brompton Rd/Fulham Rd and Hollywood Rd.

For the umpteenth time I’ve scraped through with 24/40 and I’m ecstatic. The idea of slipping back to 2-2 was frightening and 2017 has started like 2016. If I can maintain just a semblance of that scoring, I’ll be well happy.

You know, regardless of the result after an Appearance, I still have a great feeling of relief once it’s over. I’m taking a brief respite from the Knowledge to write this blog. But I know I need to keep being good enough to get through this. As ever peeps, thanks for reading.

 

I know the festive season is now over, but I need to get this one in somehow.

Walking home in SE9 at around 11.45pm on Christmas Eve, the following was heard in the very next street:

“I don’t care what your name is you fat b@stard, get them f*@king reindeer off my roof.”

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The Journey Continues..

A bright sunny day at the start of September saw me looking at getting my drop to 28s again, and here’s what I was asked:

Goldsmith College to Lavender Sweep

Dollis Hill Station to East Acton Station

Boundary Road to Saint John’s Restaurant

Devons Road DLR to Waterworks Centre

The first run is pretty much a Blue Book (New Cross Gate to Clapham Common West Side) and for the most part I ran it pretty well except at the end I went up Cedars Road along Lavender Hill and left into Lavender Sweep which immediately gives you a forced left into Eccles Road. So I’ve dropped a clanger and only dropped 2 points, so that’s a very generous 8/10.

The next one I’ve followed to Blue Book down to Harlesden High Street and then opted for Scrubs Lane and got there via Du Cane Road. Old Oak Common Lane is the best route here so 2 points deducted for that and another 2 for hesitation and a 6/10.

The 3rd run, I’ve dropped the Barsmith Bar and another point on St John’s Street before pulling a duff line to EC1, but still managed to get a very generous 5/10.

So for the last line I need 5 points to score. I’ve managed to drop Lea Bridge Station as I always thought the entrance was on Lea Bridge Road when the Examiner was looking for Argall Way. I started looking at this line by going west and then up Bow Common Lane, but I thought about my options and saw Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach and saw that as a much better line. I have to guess it was, I got 9/10 – 28/40 and I’m back on my 28s.

As before when I got my drop I’m both elated and petrified, although when I woke up the next morning, I thought to myself, ‘Life is pretty good right now’.

 

Exactly 28 days later I’m up for my 1st 28 (Mark #2) and I was given the following:

Kimber Road to My Hotel WC2

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge to Wetlands Centre

Park Plaza County Hall to Highgate Golf Course

Florence Nightingale Museum to Fernlea Road

On the first run I was asked for the Nuffield Health Centre, and I didn’t ask for a postcode as I thought that would be a bit cheeky, so I had a couple of guesses and dropped it. I knew Kimber Road, so I headed up to Clapham Common… Battersea Bridge Road… Prince of Wales Drive, then over Chelsea Bridge, up through Mayfair, then onto Goodge Street, Tottenham Court Road and Chenies Street and came back on myself to get to My Hotel. It was a bit clumsy, and I’m dead chuffed with a 6/10.

These 2 Park Plaza’s over the road from each other always confuse me, so when I left the County Hall one, the examiner advised me, very kindly, that if I carried on I would get a zero. I brought it back and opted to go over Waterloo Bridge, up to Knightsbridge, then Brompton Road etc to Hammersmith and over the bridge there. This was Westminster Bridge all day and maybe even Putney Bridge. Coupled with the clanger I had done at the start, I have no complaints with 4/10.

I left the County Hall one on the left and went over Westminster Bridge, then from Parliament Street through Camden and Highgate, then Hampstead Lane, Stormont Road and Denewood Road. 8/10 and I’m still in with a shout.

Interesting that 3 starting points within spitting distance of each other can produce different lines if the starting point is changed. Anyway, on the last run, I managed to drop Balham Boxing Club and Triangle Place before opting for Ethelbert Street as the option for Fernlea Road. (This gives the left or right option, although Cavendish Road would have been the better choice.) Well, I’ve gone down Lambeth Palace Road… South Lambeth Road… Clapham Road… Bedford Hill, Rossiter Road and Ethelbert Street. With the dropped points I’ve scored 6/10 – 24/40 and a C.

Surprisingly, this wasn’t the best news I had that day. Two hours later my mate was up for his Rec. Read on…

 

I first met Ant some 3 ½ years ago when we were both at the Double K Knowledge School. I’d just been made redundant and had lots of time to spend on the Knowledge and Ant had some spare time so we would go down to the school and call over during the day. He’s a great bloke and I would have happily carried on this arrangement but for the fact I got a contract in Swindon. We kept in touch and on another of my contracts, it turned out that he was working in the same building! I also managed to bang into him at the exam centre when we were both on our 28s.

A few months back he texted me to say that he had joined another school after the KK closed, so I decided to boogie on down with my COP, Mick. I felt this would also be better for Mick as my latest job involves working shifts and I couldn’t always call over. Anyway, on the last of my 56s he and another chap from our school, Chris, were up on the same day. Chris got his Rec that day and Ant went 3 – 2 up on his 21s. I hadn’t realised that they were so close behind me on their Apps and when he texted me to come for a beer, I was already on the train home. I was gutted to not be there.

Exactly 4 weeks later, I’m up for the 1st of my 28s and Ant is up for his Rec. So when I got out, I texted him and his App was early afternoon (mine was 11.20) and he was in Pret where we met up. We chatted about any sort of nonsense and when the time came, we walked down Blackfriars Rd, I shook his hand and told him to ‘Be Lucky’ and went into the Prince William Henry for half a Guinness. I sat outside and puffed away on my vape thingy and realised that I was more nervous for him than I was for myself. I was in constant touch with the guys back at the school via Whatsapp and I think we were all on tenterhooks! I did say that I would have taken a D that day if it meant he passed – I know that sounds like a throwaway line, but I genuinely meant it. This guy has wanted to be a cabbie since he was 19, but his parents talked him into getting a ‘proper’ job. He went into I.T., for God’s sake.

Well I finished my Guinness and made my way to the exam centre (LOL Blackfriars Rd   L Nicholson St   L Chancel St SDOL :o) ). He was in there for what seemed like an eternity. I was pacing up and down Chancel St, puffing away on my vape thingy like an expectant father in the maternity waiting room. I’m sure the Points Collectors must have thought I was a nutter.

Almost an hour after his App started we got a message on Whatsapp – he’d got a ‘C’ from Ma’am Ayers and me and everyone else at the school were elated. It still took him another 10 minutes to walk out and he couldn’t stop smiling. We’d decided before he went in that if he passed we would go to The Ring and if not The Prince William Harry – so we made our way to The Ring. Walking down Chancel St, he went to do a left down Treveris St and when we got to Blackfriars Rd, he started walking north towards the bridge! I think he may have been in shock. So we went to The Ring and were joined by Dave, another guy from the school who got his Rec a few weeks before. Well, we drank, laughed a lot and talked (mostly) bollocks. One thing I did ask Ant in all seriousness was, ‘Did you think that this day would ever come, when you passed your Rec?’, and his honest answer was ‘No’.

Well it did, and so will yours. Be Lucky people.

 

Just as a footnote, in the last couple of months, 5 people from our school have got their Recs, and we’d like others to come and join us. Here are the details:

Knowledge is Power

Upstairs Bar, Running Horses P.H, 23 High St, Erith DA8 1QY

Open from 6pm to 8:30pm Mon to Thurs £15 a month

Ring: Mick 07976 403669 or Dan 07809 669704

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56 Day Appearance #3 (Mark 2)

A sunny morning towards the end of July greeted me for my next Appearance, and the questions were as follows:

Henry VIII Hotel to Dolphin Square

Chesterfield Hotel to Elephant and Castle Overground Station

Almeida Theatre to Colony Club

Kensal Green Station to Kentish Town Station

The first run is virtually a Blue Book (Bayswater Station to St Georges Square) and for the life of me, I couldn’t see it. I took an eternity to start and panicked into calling an utterly dreadful line down Kensington Church Street… Earls Court Road, then Cheyne Walk and along the river. I was later to discover that I’d got 1/10 for that – probably 1 point more than I deserved.

I managed to redeem myself on the next run going via St James, The Mall, over Westminster Bridge and then down to Elephant and Castle. 2 points dropped for hesitation and a 7/10, I might be able to pull this back yet.

The next run is a banker and I still managed to drop 2 points for hesitation but 8/10 and now it’s down to me to get the last one right.

If I’m going to be honest I have no idea what I needed to do here – all I did know was that the first run was pulling my score down and I needed to get this right. So I did think about it beforehand, and I seem to remember being quite fluent, but the whole experience is really quite surreal so I may, in fact, have been a gibbering buffoon. I’ve dropped 2 points for hesitation and got an 8/10 – 24/40 and I’ll take that ‘C’ all day.

So that’s 3 – 0 up ATM but I’m taking nothing for granted and shall press on to be 2 months wiser for my next Appearance in September.

 Image result for confused face

I watched a film the other night and there was a speech from one of the characters which knocked me sideways. It went something like:

‘…Actions create consequences, and from these actions, new worlds are produced…. So the world in which we seek to undo our mistakes is not the same world in which those mistakes were made.’

I thought that this was so incredibly deep, profound and brim full, nay, overflowing with spiritual resonance that I have put it on my blog in the hope that people will see me as an intellectual giant.

Unfortunately, I haven’t a bloody clue what he was waffling on about.

 

 

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56 Day Appearance #2 (Mark 2)

Hi Peeps, really sorry about not doing an update for so long, but I had to cancel 2 appearances and then I was up again at the end of May. Here’s what I was asked:

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital to Mile End Hospital

Peckham Rye Station to Royal Hospital

Highgate Golf Course to Royal Gardens Hotel

St Charles Hospital to Liverpool St Station platforms (Harwich Lane)

The first run I’ve gone up to Knightsbridge… Constitution Hill… Strand… Bank Junction then taken the straight line to Mile End Rd and done a left. The string says Victoria Embankment so I’ve dropped a point for going a bit wide and 2 for hesitation (I did stutter a lot) and a 7/10 – happy days.

Next up I got onto Peckham High Street and did the line towards Vauxhall Bridge and when I got there I decided to take Nine Elms Lane and go over Chelsea Bridge for reasons I can’t really explain. So another point dropped for going wide, 2 for hesitation and 1 for an incorrect street name – 6/10.

For this one I’ve gone the right side of the Heath, but then I’ve gone Finchley Rd – Wellington Rd and all the way to Baker Street before Marylebone Rd – Old Marylebone Rd – Sussex Gardens… Kensington Church Street – Kensington High Street. Mercifully, I’ve only dropped 2 points for going very wide and the now standard 2 points for being a stuttering buffoon. 6/10.

The last run I’ve got onto Ladbroke Grove then Westbourne Park Rd – Chepstow Rd and made my way down to Bayswater Rd – Oxford Street and via Red Lion Square to Holborn Circus (Junction) then I did Charterhouse St – Lindsay St – Long Lane – Beech St – Chiswell St – Finsbury Pavement – South Place – Wilson St – Sun St – Appold St – Primrose St and Harwich Lane. When I stringed this it was pitifully low and I’ve been docked 2 points plus the expected 2 points for hesitation and got 6/10.

So it’s another ‘Come To Daddy’ moment for this Knowledge Boy as I’ve got 25/40 and another C, and the world is a wonderful place.

Earlier this year I had an interview in Islington. Now, as the interview wasn’t until 3.30 in the afternoon, I decided to get there around lunch time and do some pointing on foot.

After a couple of hours I decided to write up some notes and get a coffee at The Angel on Islington High Street. With 20 minutes to go before my interview on St John Street I decided to visit the lavatory before making my way there. Well, they have those push taps in the toilets, so I put my hand under the tap and pushed it. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it came out like a water cannon, hit my hand and saturated my crotch. As luck would have it I was wearing a light grey suit!

I really had no choice here, off came the strides and I tried desperately to dry them under the hand dryer. While I’m stood there, in walked 2 blokes who just looked at me, sniggered and carried on. It’s a fact that trying to explain anything would just be seen as an admission of guilt.

I managed to dry them as best I could and made it to the interview with 10 seconds to spare.

In case you’re wondering, I didn’t get the job.

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56 Day Appearance # 1 (Mark 2)

It’s the 2nd week of the New Year and I’m up for my 1st 56, albeit the 2nd time round. Here’s what I was asked:
Millwall FC to The Lloyds Building
The Bishop’s Avenue to Turnpike Lane Station
Claremont Road to Croftdown Road
Old Oak Lane to The River Café
The examiner looked at my card and suggested that we go back to the Blue Books. After the last few months, I’m over the moon about this but still nervous as hell!
The first run is virtually Sandford Street to Lime Street, the only difference was that I dropped it on Leadenhall Street at the top of Lime Street. I did think about this one quite a lot before I started and so I’ve got a very generous 8/10, dropping 2 points for hesitation.
On reflection I think the best line to follow for this would be Fortis Green to West Green Road, but I’ve opted for Bishopswood Road to Westbury Avenue. Anyway 2 points dropped for hesitating and 2 incorrect street names – 6/10 and I have no complaints on that.
The 3rd run is Marble Drive to Chetwynd Road and I’ve messed around by leaving by The Vale (which probably isn’t a bad choice) but when I got to the roundabout instead of taking North End Way/East Heath Road, I’ve gone Spaniard’s Road and over the top of Hampstead Heath. So 2 points dropped for going wide and 1 point dropped for not knowing York Rise – 7/10.
I now need 3 points to score for the first time in months and this run is Old Oak Lane to Charing Cross Hospital. However, I’ve dropped the British Safety Council, Chancellor’s Road and another point which I can’t remember and my heart is beginning to sink. I was then asked for The River Café and I’m back in with a chance. With the 3 points dropped I have to guess that I called this one quite well as I’ve scored 7/10 and more to the point 28/40 and a ‘C’.
I don’t know if I could describe the feeling as elation or relief, but whatever it was it felt pretty damned good. I do seem to get into my stride a bit better after calling a couple of runs. The Examiner gave me some great advice at the end, which I took on board. And so I’m back again in the 2nd week of March, and it might not make any headlines, but my love affair with the Knowledge is back on.

Passing Australia House whilst out pointing the other day reminded me of something. Some 20 odd years ago I applied for a Visa to work in Australia. This was in the days before anyone had a computer and I had to fill in a form that was as thick as a telephone directory and then had to photocopy all my documents in triplicate. I had a vision that the postman would deliver it in a wheel barrow.
About 2 months later I got a letter asking me to attend an interview as I had ‘passed’ the form- filling-in part. I arrived in my suit and was ushered into a room with 3 rather stern looking gentlemen sat on the other side of the desk. (I don’t think any of them had a map of the 6 mile radius!) They began asking me some questions like, ‘Where will you live?’, ‘Have you a job lined up?’ etc.
The questions then seemed to turn a bit sinister, and I think this may have been the point where my application was rejected. The questions were like, ‘Do you have any association with known felons?’, ‘Have you ever been a member of any subversive cults?’
Then I was asked, ‘Do you have a criminal record?’
And I said, ‘I didn’t know you still needed one.’

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28 Day Appearances #6, #7, #8 and #9

Apologies for not doing an update for sooo long, I was hoping to turn this around and here’s how I got on.

The start of September saw me return to the Exam Centre to have my 2nd stab at getting through my 28’s. I was asked:

Streatham Station to John Soames Museum

BBC Rehearsal Studios to Ronnie Scott’s

London Clinic to Gordon Hospital

German YMCA to Indian YMCA

I managed to drop the Rookery Theatre and Streatham Common station on the 1st run and took the line through Streatham and Brixton and over Waterloo Bridge when the cotton says it should be Kings Avenue/Clapham Road and along the south side of the river. Minus 2 points each for points dropped, going wide and incorrect street names – 4/10.

No points dropped on the next run and pulled a pretty good line down to Edgeware Road\George Street and the through the top of Mayfair onto Regent Street and up Dean Street to get the one way down on Frith Street. Lost 1 point for a wrong street name and 2 for hesitation – 7/10.

I was expecting Smith Square as the destination on this one and set off without really thinking and made a right Harry Halls of it. Went down Regent Street, past Conduit Street then to Piccadilly Circus and Charles 1st Island before coming back down the Mall and the running the line which should have started by taking a right down Conduit Street. (I know this isn’t the best line, but I could have redeemed myself a little here.) Minus 5 points for going wide and another 3 for hesitation – 2/10.

The last line, I must have called 30 times. I’ve gone down Bayswater Road then up to Portman Square and the straight line to Goodge Street, ALL the way up Tottenham Court Road and then Grafton Way/Fitzroy Street. And to add insult to injury, I was about as fluent as Keith Richards after a 10 day bender. 3/10 – 16/40, another D and I have managed to beat myself again.

I spoke at quite some length to the Examiner after this, and he advised me to think more before racing off. The gist of this conversation was ‘Don’t worry about hesitation before you start, it’s all about the line.’ Something I need to take forward with me.

 

The 1st week in October was my next visit and this time I was asked:

Leonard Hotel to Parsons Green Station

Shepherds Restaurant to King Edward VII Gallery

Gate Theatre to St James Theatre

Colony Club to Chiltern Firehouse

I didn’t take the 1st run through the park and went down Park Lane instead, for reasons I can’t explain. It was then a fairly straight line down Knightsbridge/Brompton Road/Fulham Road to Parsons Green Lane. I have to guess that this isn’t a terrible option as with a point dropped for not knowing a start point and another 2 for incorrect street names, I’ve still scored 5/10 – all to play for.

I’ve dropped another 2 points on the 2nd run and then took the line up from Parliament Street up to Tottenham Court Road and instead of doing the right to Store Street, I’ve chosen Chenies Street. 6/10 and I’m very happy with that.

Another 4 points dropped on 3rd run but the line from Pembridge Road/Villas/Square/Gardens then Bayswater Road, through the park and winding my way down to Buckingham Gate for the right into Palace Street was deemed to be spot on – 6/10.

The final run is almost the first part of the BB run from Half Moon Street to Fairhazel Gardens. I call my Blue Books every day and somehow I’ve managed to call an illegal. On your 56’s the Examiners would ask you to call a certain part of the run again. Sadly, on your 28’s, you don’t get a 2nd chance to make a first impression. 0/10 and another D.

I’ve been told by several people that before you get your badge, you’ll be ‘on your knees’ and this is about where I was when I left the Exam centre. I had to take a long, hard look at what I was doing. I remember when I was made redundant in 2013 and spent over 3 months working full time on the Knowledge. It was the happiest I had been for a long time, and I realised that I needed to fall back in love with the Knowledge, take the knockbacks on the chin and treat them as a learning curve.

With this philosophy, in early November I’m up for my next Appearance, and here’s what I got:

Hammersmith Grove to Gunter Grove

Holborn Police Station to HMS Belfast

London Canal Museum to Basin Approach

When I got to this Appearance I realised that my Poppy was back at the flat. Now I’m not suggesting that this would affect my scoring here, but it did hack me off a little.

The first run, the only exit I could see was Goldhawk Road when Beadon Road would have been the best choice, so I’ve taken the rather circuitous route via Holland Park roundabout… Earls Court Road… Redcliffe Gardens\Edith Grove and the come back on myself. The examiner has given me a thoroughly generous 7/10.

I’ve dropped 6 points on my next run, but pulled a good line on a pretty straight forward run over London Bridge and scored 4/10.

The 3rd run doesn’t exist because I managed to drop 9 points including the RMT, ASLEF and TSSA- 1/10.

The final run I got in a bit of a state remembering the spin at the end and also dropped a couple of points, but still managed to score a respectable, and highly insignificant 6/10.

So that’s 18/40 and another D and I’m 3 – 0 down on my 2nd time round on my 28s and looking at going back to where I was nearly 2 years ago and starting my 56’s again. I’ve seen this Examiner twice before and scored both times. Now I’m not just saying this in case they read this blog, but he is genuinely a nice guy and we spoke at length about the way forward, and he had some very kind things to say. Calling Over, P2P, Pointing et al – you cannot get through this by seeing it all as a chore

I LOVE THE KNOWLEDGE

On 1st December I was back up again. I have spent the last 3 months using a spreadsheet to try to suss out which Examiners will be working at my next Appearance, and with this in mind I went through the Bankers of those who would be there. Frankly, I think MI5 would struggle to crack this rota, and inevitably I was called up by an Examiner who wasn’t supposed to be there! Here’s what I was asked:

Burney Street to Honor Oak Park Stn

Deptford Creek Bridge to Surrey Quays Watersports Centre

Islington Police Station to Moorfields Eye Hospital A & E

Wiltons Music Hall to Hanbury Street

I’ve dropped 5 rather obscure points on Royal Hill before getting Burney Street. I’ve then gone Greenwich High Road…New Cross Road\Florence Road\Malpas Road…Honor oak Park\Devonshire Road and used Boveney Road for the spin. Another point dropped for not using Friendly Street\Wickham Road and 1 for hesitation – 3/10.

Another 6 points dropped here and instead of using Grove Street, I’ve gone round the one way system and dropped another 2 points – 2/10.

No points dropped on the next run and with Tolpuddle Street\Penton Street\Pentonville Road\The Angel\City Road\Baldwin Street\Peerless Street\Bath Street\Cayton Street I’ve scored 10/10 and I’m back in with a chance.

I was asked Wiltons Music Hall to Code Street – this is a Banker and I could not see Code Street. The Examiner reminded me that I needed this and I just couldn’t see it. Another 2 points dropped before I ran a great line to Hanbury Street to score 7/10 – 22/40 and 2 points short of a magical C.

The Examiner was very sympathetic after this Appearance and had some very kind things to say. He told me not to give up and that if I stick with it I will get my badge.

So, 19 months after my 1st 56 Day Appearance, my next visit will be 1st 56 Day Appearance (Mark 2). Of course I’m disappointed to get this knockback, but I do believe that there are some distinct positives. For instance, I’ve got 19 months more Knowledge in my head and I can only see this as being infinitely better prepared than my 1st time round. My last contract finished just over a week before my last Appearance and I managed to learn more in that time than I had in the previous month – being able to do this full time, particularly in the latter stages is massive. With this in mind I shall do my utmost to go full time when I get my next drop to 28s. I’ve also been very naïve when using the Wizann pointing app – because I was scoring 70% most of the time I wasn’t really picking up many new points. Frankly the way I have haemorrhaged points since getting my drop has cost me dear and this will be addressed.

I’m back up again in mid January and there will be a spring in my step because I will be 6 weeks wiser than I am now. Be lucky people.

I read a shocking story online from the Skegness Evening Argos

There were some quite disgusting scenes today on Skegness beach. A man and a woman were arguing in front of families with children and then the woman hit the man around the back of the head. He went crazy and started to hit the woman. Quite quickly a Policeman turned up and used his truncheon to subdue the man. Unfortunately, the man managed to wrestle the truncheon from the Policeman and started hitting him and the woman with it.

Then a crocodile turned up and stole all the sausages……….

 

For anyone under the age of Forty something who are scratching their heads, here’s a link to a Punch and Judy Show     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6LmZ0A1s9U

 

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