Breath Of Life

The life and times of Mr Mark Allen....

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Burton Lament



Just a quickie (ooer again)...I had to go back to hospital again (6 hours at A&E) and I am desperately hoping I will be well enough to start my new job on January 2nd......

I don't seem to be getting any better (Damn chest infection picked up in the Czech Republic) but they said I have just got to give the drugs time to work. (Reminds me of a 'Verve' song?!)

I'm sure I feel better then Saddam Hussein

Anyway I won't now be going to Headcandy @ Gatecrasher in Leeds on Dec 31st.....I am gutted as I was really looking forward to enjoying the new year with Sarah and Beth.

I AM GOING TO BE ON RADIO WM at 7.10am on Jan 2nd talking about my new role at Halton Council and the year ahead. If anyone is up - please turn on, tune in (and drop out!)

Much Huggles (do you think that's a name of a village somewhere?) and Pixie Luv

BOOK: Merde Actually - by Stephen Clarke (It's a great read!)
MUSIC: My Chemical Romance, New Order, Klaus Nomi, Nick Cave

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A&E Twice - thanks to dangerous doctors...

Bloggettes and the Pixie Massive

How art thou? Hope Santa came down your chimneys (ooer)....

I went to the PG on Xmas Eve with the usual suspects. (Twice!)It was quite busy in the evening...then went to the tradional midnight service at the Burntwood Church - very festive.

The vicar there used to live with eskimos! (Not in Staffordshire I hasten to add!)

Xmas Day we had the neighbours in the morning and then went to my Godmother's place - with her offspirng, step-grandchildren etc etc....It was good....and so was the food.

Boxing Day was a bit of a nightmare....We were meant to be going to my aunts in Brum......But as I still wasn't feeling too good I rang Newcastle for an opinion.

They told me to get checked out at the local A&E (Burton) to be sure....I WAS THERE FOUR HOURS..

Tests showed I had a chest infection and they sent me home with some drugs...But LUCKILY I checked with my consultant in Newcastle as the drugs they gave me would have given me RENAL FAILURE...

I ASKED the Burton doctor to check whatever he prescribed would not react with my existing medication...He did not.

I had to go back to Burton (another 40 miles round trip) to get them to change the medication and MADE SURE they DID check with Newcastle this time.

Unfortunately I am going to miss the party at The Sharp's place tonight and maybe new year at Headcandy in Leeds....But I may meet Sarah and Beth on New Year's Day enroute to Widnes.

I have spent a fortune online today without anything to really show for it. I got home insurance, renewed my car insurance and got a TV licence.

I hope I have enough left to get my through until my first pay checque for the new job!

Off to inhale some Olbas and hug the kittens. Hi to Pixie Folk everywhere...Now put MORE Prague pics on

Contact me on CLICK

BOOK: Sightlines (PD James)
MUSIC: My Chemical Romance, Joy Division, Lilac Time (for it is a happy time??!!!)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Head Candy

Hello Blogettes,

Its been a pretty manic week - I have moved (with a little help from my friends) most of my stuff to Widnes (move there Jan 1st after a night at 'Head Candy' in Leeds!)

I am already bored of that M6 in the fog..

I have not been feeling 100 per cent since returning from Prague - but I am hoping it is just the efect of all the smoke and late nights/early mornings...We shall see.

My sats are down from about 98 per cent to 96 per cent..but my temperature is fine and I am just feeling a bit run down....

I have been doing gym work (light) to try and build up my stamina again....

Walsall Council's Xmas do was ok...the company was good but the meal was overpriced. We also have a kooky/sparky waitress which is always a bonus.

I stayed at Ak's place and he told me he has got engaged to Marta! Wow - I have nver been to an Indian wedding (and this will be a Spanish/Indian bash)! Bhangra/Salsa fusion!

Well I had better go back to writing my last minute cards and watching TOTP 2 on TV! Have a great Yuletide!

PS: I have put lots of Prague pics on

BOOK: Sightlines (Edited by P.D James)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Mark vs Prague

Meeting PINK, Prague, Lenka and thieving gypsies!

Hi folkettes,

How is life? I am still recovering from the Prague thing.

The one bad thing about the Czechs is they are stuck in the 1970s and still think smoking is every bar/restaurant is smog-filled!

So...where to start? The Laibach gig on Wednesday at the city's Roxy club was excellent. The band are Slovenian and played industrial versions of Europe's national anthems!

Canadian Ian gave us a tour of the local nightlife. He is outlandish and a good time is always had. He introduced me to one of his friends....who is from Boney Hay (where I went to Middle School!)

But the weirdest thing to happen on the trip was I MET PINK....She had played a gig in Prague on the Wednesday and was just wandering about the Old Town Square on Thursday night.

I was a bit star struck (uncool I know) and chatted to her and gave her some Love Heart sweets I had in my pocket....I did stroke her arm while this happened and she didn't seem to mind!

Hey.......I have been called 'sweet' by Pink!

One of the nights out with Canadian Ian included drinking an absinthe and Baileys cocktail which was set alight and one has to drink through a straw before your head burns...

The other Ian wisely refused this option.

We all ended up in Hunny Bunny - a late night bar full of sexy French people.

On the Friday we had to leave the apartment by 10am so I wanted in Bohemia Bagel while Mr P took the keys back to Mary's..We then trckked with all our bags to the cafe where Canadanian Ian worked.

Then Ian's friend Lenka (a gorgeous Czech girl) took us for a free boat trip (including top ups of hot wine!) around the waterways of Prague....

We then fitted in all the sights and sounds we had yet to do and met Ian again for food. But in typical fashion the restaurant we had taken the tram to (with all our bags) was closed for a private party.

During the week we ate at a variety of places including a monastry, brewery and the Czech version of a greasy food van - surrounded by drunks.

Everyion in Prague knows to be aware of dark-skinned gypsies - who are thieving little toe-rags. One started talking to me - but I notices she had a knife in her hand.

If I was on my own I reckon she would have swiped my pocket or something. But luckily with three of us she thought better of it....

BMI Baby is a crap airline (but very cheap)....There was no overhead baggage store above our seats, the plane was too hot, cramped and sold overpriced drinks (due to security you cannot take your own on board)....

I think the late nights, early mornings, walking and drinking (and particularly the smoke) caught up with me today. I had a temperature and ache everywhere......

Luckily I have a few days beofre the Walsall Council Xmas do. But in that time I have an IT class, gym sessions, and the small matter of moving house to attend to!

A bientot....Oh yes the Prague pics should be on in a couple of days...enjoy!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hi from Prague!

Mark here....

Just a quickie as it's hot-wine-o'clock. The city is beautiful and have met some interesting people including some Czechs (are they my Czech-mates?) and an American Jew!

All the buildings are lovely here and the beer cheap. (about 70p for half a litre - approx 1 pint)

I feel I have walked miles each day. I am staying near the old town square which has a huge Xmas tree, singers and a market... All in front of a Gothic church....

I have seen a great Velvet Underground tribute band (and a RHCP and Nirvana copy - sense a pattern here?) and tonight I have tickets to a Laibach gig (Slovenian industrial sounds.)

A lot of people here seem to have dyed red hair. Last month I would have fitted in like a local! See you when I get back! xxx

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Can I get a 'Widnes'?!!!

Hello Blogettes!

Well well its been a busy week. I took an IT exam, found a house to live in in Widnes, saw the Levellers play in Birmingham (crusty-fest!) and tomorrow I am off to Prague! Busy boy!

The househunting was stressful. One agents (MCA IN WIDNES) lost the keys to three properties and cound't show me any - despite the appointments being made.

One agency needed references, credit checks, admin fees and all sorts of crap (Ablefords)...

But a friend of one of the other press people (Hello Julie!) called Phil (Hello Phil) had a renovated house in a quiet part of town which I will look forward to moving into.

I was torn between this place and another but the other, despite being luxurious was on the third floor of a complex and its a long was to crawl after beers!

I did look round a lovely houseshare with a girl in Newton. But the house was too nice and done up in her style and I think I would have always felt like a guest there...(She was cute though!)

I actually have a start date for the job now. JANUARY 2nd. Which means I will be going up on New Years Day - so no big NYE for me this year!

Yesterday I went to see The Levellers at The Carling Academy in Brum. with Dave B.Good gig. I felt I ought to have paid for my tickets in magic beans or pixie dust though!

Today I had my assessment at the gym. I must give in my notice there. Its no use paying for membership when I am going to be 85 miles away!

I went for my first cycle in a long while on Thursday morning.....aaaagh. Anyway...time to pack!

Oh yes am reading Rhona Cameron's autobiography '1979' - She was a bit of a teenage stalker! Good book, very honest!

I hope you read my 'Open Letter to Gordon Brown' feature in The Mercury...

Huggles xxxxx

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Lovely Ola etc...


Well the radio interviews seemed to go down well. And its all practice for the new job eh?!

Polish/Canadian Ola arrived on Saturday and I took her to Lichfield - we chilled in the cathedral and chated to an elderly man who told us some really interesting stuff...

My favourite thing in the church is a tomb of two 'sleeping' children and he told us the family history and how they died...

In the evening we just chatted til the early hours about old times and the people we know in Korea... (Ola was my partner in crime - we used to have bizarre adventures in Asia!)

It has been five years since we last saw each other and so much has happened to both of us in the meantime - but we clicked again straght away..

Today we went to Amerton Working Farm and talked to some goats, pics and horses and went to the rescue centre...well worth a look. (pics to go on my photo site soon!)

(My favourite golden pheasant (well I only know one) lives there!)

We went for drinks with the usual suspects in the Park Gate and had a Sunday roast there before going for a wander on Cannock Chase (damn cold).

Erik, Diana and Mark came round and we had coffee before it was time to take Ola back to Burton - typically there are works on the line so she had to get a bus to Derby and a train to Sheffield before getting another train to Hull..

Well folks I have to go now as I have the village new to write and a couple of articles for local papers before tomorrow (when I have my IT exam...)

With my a-drive not functional I will have to go to the library post-gym to practice my IT before the exam.....ho hum............

One week (and a bit)till Prague
Five days til Levellers!

MUSIC: Katie Melua (well its windy!)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ashes to Ashes, Junk to Junky

Hiya Blogettes,

Thanks for the emails. I hope some of you heard me on BBC Radio WM and Radio Oxford. I have also got some newspaper freelance stuff as a result of the Gordon Brown thing...

I did another IT mock today, while a tutor watched, I was dead nervous and made loads of mistakes..... NOT good for confidence as I have the exam on Monday!

At least I unwound a bit at the gym this morning. I then undid it all by having lots of pasta and spicy sausage at lunchtime! Doh!

Tonight I am catching up with Mr W at our regular drinknig hole and then tokmorrow Ola is here for the weekend....(my Canadian/Polish friend who I knew in Korea)

I don't know yet which station she is arriving at but as my car has been serviced this week I don't really mind.....

Well done England - at last something to cheer about in the cricket....

I just picekd up an email from Halton Council...I have passed the medical and am all clear to start in the New Year......:)

Sorry this is short and and sweet...need cofffffeeeeee. xxxx