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