Adam Bird

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Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Peas and Carrots

Last month my good friends Stuart and Aimee announced their engagement after returning from a whirlwind tour of Venice.

As we approach the end of this month, I am happy to congratulate another of couple, who are great friends of both Steph and I whom also announced their engagement this week.


Image: Will and Olivia in Australia


Will and Olivia returned from Eqypt on Sunday as an engaged couple after Will finally managed to pop the question!

Will and Olivia are the textbook couple whom met as childhood sweethearts. They met each other as innocent 16 year olds and became each others first loves. For the past 10 years they have both fulfilled their own personal ambitions of university and travelling, whilst remaining true to themselves and one another.

I said when Stuart and Aimee got engaged that it was destined to happen, but something in the stars happened the night Will and Olivia first met. From that moment there was only going to one outcome. To live apart for three years during university and remain strong as ever was their biggest test, and both of them survived with flying colours. They are now both enjoying the fruits of their labour as they begin to carve successful careers, which I am sure will be long and varied.

Steph, Oliver and I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate both Will and Olivia, and we are proud of you both!

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

A Moral Victory

Last month I became another victim of the banking code, whereby a person goes 12 pence overdrawn the day before payday and the bank feels well within there rights to charge you £30 for the privilege.

By chance I was surfing the BBC website when I came across this article, which is an indepth look at the process in which to claim back your "bank charges". Not only does it highlight the problem faced by millions of people daily whom are a victims of banking greed, it shows you step by step how to claim back, not only for you most recent charge, but for charges accumulated over the past 6 years!

The best thing about the article was the fact that they had already prepared three ready made templates for you in order to save, tailor and print out in order to make your claim, it really was supposed to be that easy.

I wasn't going to do anything about it, I just thought that it sounded like a great idea, but nothing would happen in practice. However, I then came across the Penalty Charges website and read the many testimonies of people who had come across the BBC article, across the Penalty Charges site and made a claim against there bank. Everybody had been successful.

Encouraged by other peoples experiences I downloaded the template which estimates your bank charges as I didn't have any back statements left over after my recent shredding exercise. I sent off my letter with a figure that I thought was accurate, and threatened to take them to the small claims court if they had not settled within 14 days.

On the 14th day my bank phoned me, apologised and wished to settle for half of the amount in which I was claiming. Neither amount was massive, which in retrospect I wish I had bumped the numbers up a little bit, but to be honest I am more than happy with the figure they offered!

It's not so much the figures that count at the end of the day, it is the practice of standing up against huge banking organisations whom have been charging ridiculous money for nothing.

Since my successful moral victory I have come across many more examples of people, whom like me have made claims against there banks, and so far, I have not heard of one person whom has not been successful.

In the Sun newspaper this morning there was another article, with a link to the Money Saving Expert, whom also claimed in today's article that nobody has yet failed!

Take a look around the links in this article, Google to your satisfaction, and do the same. There are emails that get delivered to your inbox claiming that if you do this, you get that and other scams and hoaxes, but this is one thing that has spread across the internet that has been a success for me, and hopefully for you too.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

A Personal Touch

I read this great story on the BBC Website about the Gravesend and Northfleet Chairman ringing up all his season ticket holders in order to inform them that Saturday's kick off against Morecombe had been brought forward by an hour.

I know it would be practically impossible for Mr Scally, the Gillingham chairman to do the same, but it goes to show what a diffference a personal and friendly chairman can do for a football club.

A lesson for not just Mr Scally, but for most of the league chairman I am sure.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

A Shorter Blog

Yesterday a friend of mine, Will, commented on the blog saying that it was too long and I needed to add some shorter entries...

So here it is.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Settling Down

I wrote just before I came back to work about how we needed to find a sense of normality and readjust to having a baby in our lives

The transition has been quite straightforward really, after the first day back it felt like I had not been away! Now four weeks later Christmas and the birth is but a distant memory.

It is amazing how time passes and how we remember things. The birth was an amazing experience and Steph suffered hugely, but if you ask her she won't remember the pain of the birth at all, although the sewing up after still sends a shiver down her spine.

Being at work, getting home at eight o'clock and sometimes later has not been ideal, but we don't live in an ideal world. Seeing Oliver at night and first thing in the morning is better than not seeing him at all. Working is the one thing that I need to do in order to feed and dress him each day. A little sacrifice is not a problem as far as I am concerned.

Every second we spend with him has been amazing. It is incredible watching him develop so far. He is only six weeks old and he laughs at me and interacts with both Steph and I. When we stand him up he holds his weight, which from what Steph tells me is really good for a baby his age. When he cries it is normally because he is hungry. So far we have emptied shelves at Sainsbury's and Tesco trying to keep up with his demands for formula.

I did develop a slight complex on my first week back at work. Whenever I got home Steph would say how wonderful Oliver had been during the day, smiling, playing, sleeping and being generally peaceful. Quite a contrast to ten minutes from me arriving back home. Tantrums, grizzling and crying until bedtime! I thought perhaps he hated his Daddy and preferred it to when he had Mummy to himself! A couple of days later he was fine and has been since. A great example I think of the little stages he has been through in his short life so far.

Last weekend I had my lowest moment of fatherhood. I locked Oliver and myself out of the flat and the car.

Trying to prove to Steph that I was Mr Domesticated by doing twenty things at once I thought I would take the rubbish out at the same time as going to the car on route to my Mum and Dad's. However, we have a separate set of keys for the bin store, which I picked up, but forgot to get the house and car keys! It wasn't until I was about to unlock the car that I realise I no keys! I immediately panicked of course! Oliver was wrapped up snug and sound in the car seat under a blanket, but it was blowing a chilling wind and I didn't want him outside for too long.

Steph was en route to Lakeside with my Mum and Sister, whilst my Dad was at home looking after Craig and the girls, so neither could come and rescue Oliver from his embarrassed father.

In the end I had to walk into town carrying Oliver in his car seat! I don't know how far people tend to walk carrying babies in car seats, or if it is the norm to see a man carrying a child in a car seat down the road, but I felt everyone's eyes on me and imagined voices of disapproval at the idiot over there carrying a baby down the road.

I finally got into a taxi and made my way to my parents house with my tail firmly between my legs.

Despite my one bad experience I am enjoying fatherhood and the responsibility it brings. Seeing Oliver smile, seeing him looking up at me with his bottom lip quivering as he is about to cry is just about the most amazing thing you can ever imagine.

Seeing Oliver laughing wildly as Steph blows a raspberry or tickles his double chin is just as good as seeing him react to me, and it is impossible to write just how 'hardcore' those feelings are.

Talking of love and respect, congratulations again to Stuart and Aimee whom announced their engagement at the weekend.

Stuart and Aimee have been good friends of ours for a long time now, and like Mark and Nicola whom are marrying later this year have been destined for marriage since they first got together.

It is great being part of such a close group of friends whom are all sharing experiences together, we all got together at similar times, we all moved in together at similar times and now we are all marrying and having children at similar times too.

In order to avoid writing a completely soppy blog I wanted to say the following:

  • The iPhone announced by Apple at the beginning of January looks AMAZING!

  • Season 6 of 24 has been AWESOME so far!

  • 21st July is going to be a LONG day! Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comes out on the same day Mark and Nicola get married!

  • Kelly Jones's solo album 'Only The Names Have Been Changed' - Download NOW from iTunes!
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