Saturday, 11 February 2012

2 for 1 Blog - part one: Saturday

So the big day had arrived. Yesterday was the day of the first of my three assessments for my British Sign Language level 1. The time of my assessment was 10:10am - so naturally I arrived at the place where the assessment would be held at 8:20am. From the moment I woke up, I kept telling myself "Mustn't be late". Well, I definitely made sure that wouldn't happen, didn't I?

My tutor arrived at 9am, and I got myself settled and started revising. Other classmates arrived and we all paired up practising our signing and asking our tutor questions. About 20 minutes later. The assessor arrived with her husband, and while they were greeted by our tutor and had a little chat, all of us students just gawped.

It's one thing to be taught Sign Language by a hearing person, but another to see real deaf people signing. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I was fascinated and in terms if my assessment, terrified. The speed at which they signed was incredible. Of course, for us they would sign s-l-o-w-l-y but at that moment they were a veritable blur (Parklife)

The assessor when into the exam room to set up. We were to go in one at a time and have our assessment. Whole the rest of us waited for our turn, the assessor's husband helped us out by going over the basic questions and topics we would be asked.

He was a real character - incredibly friendly and funny, he put us all at ease and really helped us to relax. For example, one of the questions he asked was "what weather do you like?", and when we have the answer he would ask "why?" to get us to answer more fully. He encouraged us to ask him the same question, and he said he likes Hot Sunny weather. When he was asked why, he said because girls wear bikinis and he gets to look at them! And as part of the signs to emphasise that he made a face like a panting dog! It was hilarious!!

Suddenly it was time for my assessment. From the moment I walked into the room it was 'voices off' and Sign Language only. This was it.

I coped quite well I think. The assessor asked me my name, then threw a curveball in and asked me my second name (I knew to recognise this question, but wasn't expecting it) i Fingerspelt it, and then had to explain that it was a French name. It had to be a two-way conversation so I returned the question. This continued for "Where do you live", and "What Family do you have?"

We also discussed how I arrived for my assessment, and where I worked, and what I did for work. Luckily, I had learnt the Sign for Pot Pourri (It's Dead. Smelly. Flowers. by the way)

And them just as I was getting into it, it was over (that's the story of my life). I thanked the assessor and left. I wasn't allowed to stay in case I gave any tips to other people waiting to be assessed, so I collected my things and left. I won't get to find out the result for a few weeks yet, but I'm quietly confident - although the more I think about the assessment, the less confident I get. So best not to think about it really.


I drove home, and then went out for another 12 mile walk - but at a much gentler pace than yesterday's (see my blog of 10th February 2012 for full details). Nonetheless, it still knackered me out and almost crippled my feet. Still, it burnt another 1600 calories, which all helps towards getting me slim and attractive in time to look awesome in a suit for my friends wedding in July.


I didn't get much time to recover at home after my walk, because I was going back out again. This time however, I was going on a new adventure.....

My fabulous friend Alyn (previously referred to in these blogs as 'the bearded angel of loveliness') had procured me a ticket for the rugby Six Nations match between Wales and Scotland at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff (Which is in Wales in case you are an overseas visitor to this blog and are unsure of where places are) (and Wales is part of the British Isles, in case you are a complete moron also).

So Alyn picked me up and drove me to Caldicot in South Wales, which is where his parents live. We would be staying there overnight on Saturday and then going to Cardiff on Sunday.
Upon reaching Caldicot, my first impression was that it was quite similar to Basildon in Essex (my place of birth). This was born out by the fact that the first thing I saw in Caldicot was a chavvy little kid on a push along scooter ride up onto the central part of a roundabout. Alyn hung his head and with a rueful laugh said that that summed up Caldicot perfectly.

We arrived at Alyn's parents home, and after a brief greeting and a cup of tea, Alyn and I went out to the pub. On the way, we saw a man pushing a bicycle down the road with an upside down armchair on it.

As you do.

Now my memory of events in the pub are a little hazy, as I am typing this blog on Sunday morning with a medium sized hangover, but the key points are as follows:

• Met Alyn's friends Dave and Sarah, Lenny (met previously) Carl and Rhys.

• Heard a brief history of Alyn's younger days including fencing with a Broadsword and a Samurai sword, and tales of a landlord who never bothered to knock. Especially if you were female.

• Discussed wether there was (or should be) an individual world ranking system for Trombone and Cornet players - similar to the World rankings for tennis players.

• Discussed if said Trombone/Cornet players could improve their rankings by competing against each other by both having to play "Flight of The Bumblebee" and whoever plays it best wins.

• The rating system for women in pubs - and how that individual preference can throw this system into disarray.

• Why ( and really, why?) Dave would, as a twenty year old young man, have sex with 60 year old in a graveyard "just to get rid of her"

• How much innuendo and inappropriateness we could get out of the fact that Lenny needed to find a good home for his male chicken. You can fill in the blanks yourself, okay?

It was, I have to say, one of the most bizarrely yet hugely enjoyable evenings I have had in recent times.

On the way home, we grabbed some Chinese takeaway (and had a weird conversation with two young oiks whilst waiting) and I waited whilst Alyn urinated against his old Primary School. I must say that not only was I appalled at this lack of respect, I was also slightly alarmed at the speed with which Alyn is apparently able to whip his penis out - even with a button fly on his jeans.

Eventually we got back to Alyn's parents house - but found we couldn't get in. Just before we left, Alyn's mum had asked him if he had his key. Alyn said yes - a brash and foolish statement to make when, three hours later cold, tired, hungry and drunk he realised that he in fact had his partner Emma's keys.

Oh how we laughed!! (not)

Alyn had to wake his mum up and get her to let us in. She did this in remarkably good spirit - probably because she was thinking "My son Alyn: a world travelled musician, a great cook, father to two lovely children, and has a lovely partner in Emma. Still a twat though."


And so here I am about to get up and get ready to add a new experience to my life: Watching my first live international Rugby match on my First visit to a major stadium, on my first visit to Wales.

Doesn't sound too bad, does it?

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