Monday, 30 April 2012

Busy, busy, busy...........

On Thursday afternoon I met with Christian to sign my contract for the Castrol job. The job title was written down as 'Analyst' but he did say that there will be more to it however this will all be explained better once I start. The contract itself was in swedish. Whilst I have some knowledge of the language there were a few of things that I needed explaining to me but generally I understood most of it. I will be working with Castrol but officially I am employed by the recruitment company. I will be working as one of their consultants on a temporary basis to begin with but the position could become permanent at the end of the contract period. My contract runs up to the end of March 2013 but they have said that this could be extended if necessary if I have not landed a permanent position. I start there on Wednesday afternoon. My new boss will be meeting with me at 1pm then we are having a meeting with the rest of the team to get me up to speed with what they are working on. I am really excited about getting back to work. I left my job at EDF on 23rd Dec 2011 so it's been well over 4 months since I have done an honest days work!

Friday night Aicha and I went to the cinema to see 'The Avengers'. I have to say its one of the best movies I have EVER seen!! It has everything you want from an action movie and is by far the best film I've seen from the Marvel comic book series. I have never read the comic books or seen all the movies but you don't need to have had to enjoy this film. I wasn't quite sure if having all those famous superheroes in one movie would work but boy was I wrong! The Avengers is an incredible movie, not just a great superhero movie but a really good film. The movie starts off with an introduction to each of our heroes and the bad guy Loki, but it's when the heroes come together that the movie becomes something more. There are a lot of big egos flying around and each one is more used to being the centre of attention, especially Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, who for me steals the show. It's in these heated rows and witty banter that The Avengers becomes something that I really wasn't expecting.................it's really funny! The audience was cheering and clapping all the way through and you couldn't help but get involved. The biggest cheer came when you finally got to see 'The Hulk' in action! For those of you reading this that have not yet seen this film..................book a ticket now! You will not be disappointed!!

On Saturday afternoon I took a trip to the local bakery to buy a cake for the family. Its tradition in the Kermoury household to have cake when celebrating something...............and now I had finally found a job we had something to celebrate! After we had scoffed down the cake I headed into town to watch The Tudor Arms first team play against Stockholm Inter FC. The lads lost 1-0 but were unlucky not to get a point having hit the post and missed a penalty in the last few minutes. The opposition were a very good side and I can see them being amongst the front runners at the end of the season so there were alot of positives to take from the game. I hung around after to see if any of the boys were going for a beer. Aicha was out with her friends in the evening and I thought I would make use of the free time but unfortunately everyone went their separate ways so I ended up heading home for a night in front of the TV! It wasn't too bad though. I got to watch a couple of movies and managed to stream 'Match of the Day' online!

Sunday was football day for me. I had been asked the previous day to play in goal for the Tudor Arms veteran's team before I played for the reserve team in the game afterwards. I very rarely say no when being asked to play football so I agreed to play back to back games.................'Mr Clubman' that's me!!! To be eligable to play for the vets you need to be 35 or over so I made sure I didn't shave the night before! The vets game finished 1-1. As you can imagine its wasn't a high tempo game but very enjoyable none the less. It was a very warm day so the boys did well to get through it and were unlucky not to have won. Whilst I was only in goal, I came off the pitch sweating the most as my goalkeeping kit was all black and had absorbed all the heat!

I was to play on pitch for the reserve team this week as we have signed on a new young goalkeeper and the manager wanted to give him his first start. I had already played in goal so I was well up for a stint on pitch. The team we were to play were called Åkersberga BK who were a team of youngsters. The average age could only have been 18! Before the game we were quite fearful of their speed but what we lacked in speed we made up in strength and determination. I started the game on the left wing and it wasn't long before I causing their right back problems. I came close to scoring on one occasion when I cut inside the defender only to see my shot pushed round the post by the keeper. We went 1-0 up shortly after that and began to control the game. I'm not the fittest person in the world so I glad to get a rest after half hour when the manager took me off. One thing I should explain though is that at this level in Sweden you can come on and off the pitch as much as you like. Its not like back home where if you come off you stay off. This was good for me as I was able to rest for a bit but it wasn't too before I was itching to come back on!

I finally came back on for the last half hour and slotted in at centre back. I also managed to acquire the captain's armband in the process! Playing alongside me at the back was Enda, an Irish fella. He was solid and made me job a lot easier. My job really was to play sweeper whilst Enda won all the headers but there were a few occasions when I would go on a mazy run thinking I was Alan Hansen! The game finished 2-0 and I was really chuffed to have got our first win of the season. I pointed out afterwards that I am still undefeated as a Tudor Arms player. Long may it continue............!!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The job has landed!!

What a week it has been so far! Its been pretty hectic I can tell you! On Sunday night I played in my first league game for The Tudor Arms reserves against Norrtulls. The game finished 2-2 but we took many positives from the performance. It is a new look team with many new faces (including myself) and it definitely showed in the first 15 minutes. We went a goal down quite early following some sloppy marking but as the game progressed we managed to get a foothold in the game. We began to dominate the play and were unlucky not to score in the first half. Just before half time, and against the run of play, we unfortunately conceded another goal but in the second half we showed great determination and eventually got the two goals back. We were unlucky not to win the game in the end as we dominated the second half and squandered some great chances in the final moments. I was pleased with my performance although I wasn't pleased with conceding two goals! I made some vital saves at key points in the game which hopefully will help my push for a place in the first team. All in all it was a good performance by everybody which really bodes well for the season.

On Tuesday I got some fantastic news! Christian from the recruitment agency called me to say that Castrol wanted to offer me a position with them! As you can imagine I was over the moon! They still haven't yet outlined what my duties are exactly as its a temporary position to begin with but I have a meeting with him later this week to sign my contract and discuss the details. The job is full-time and I start next Wednesday which means I won't be able to go to college during the day any longer however they have told me that I can move onto one of their evening courses which is good news. This has been a long time coming so naturally I wanted to go out and celebrate with Aicha. The weather was really nice so we arranged to meet for a drink in the city once she had finished work. Like in England, once the sun is out everyone flocks to the bar terraces...........




On Wednesday morning the college arranged for the group to visit a museum called 'Vasamuseet'. The museum was built to house an old swedish warship (The Vasa) which had been salvaged from the seabed in the 1960's and restored. It sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 less than a mile from where it was launched. The ship had over 450 crew members and was the biggest in the fleet at the time. It capsized in high winds because it did not have enough ballast below deck to counterweight the masts and sails. The story of this ship is very famous throughout Sweden and the museum is one of its biggest attractions. I've been meaning to visit ever since I moved here but never had the chance to so I was really happy that the college had arranged this. The museum itself is really interesting. There are many items that have been recovered and that are on show plus there is the ship itself. There is an auditorium there which shows a film depicting the building, sinking and recovery of the ship. The recovery and restoration of the ship I found more interesting than the ship itself! It took over 2 years to bring it the surface and over 10 years to restore it! I also managed to get a few snaps on my way around the museum..................











This was definitely a fun way to spend the morning! Normally I am stuck in a classroom but here it felt like something out of 'Pirates of the Caribbean'! The ship actually reminded my of One Eyed Willie's ship from The Goonies..................except it did not have any treasure onboard or a fat kid doing the truffle shuffle!! After I left the museum I met Aicha for lunch near her office. I am lover of sushi and so is Aicha so luckily for us there is a sushi bar right next door to where she works! Unfortunately it wasn't all you can eat..................which is just as well really because I would probably still be there now!!

As I had now secured a job it meant that I could spend my afternoon doing something fun instead of looking for work! I decided to head to the cinema to watch the new film version of 21 Jump Street. I can just about remember the TV series with Johnny Depp from the 80's however this was a comedy version. Depp does pop up with a cameo appearance but he has barely two minutes of screen time. The film has had some good reviews and having seen it I can see why. It has some really funny moments and I recommend anyone who is a fan of Jonah Hill to see it.

Today is Thursday which means tomorrow is my last day at college as the school is closed both Monday and Tuesday next week. It will be a shame to leave the group as I have made some good friends there but getting a job was my main priority, and now that I have got one I can tick that box! Happy days!!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

On the bright side............

This week I was feeling pretty pleased with myself as Liverpool had made it through the FA Cup final and things were looking positive on the job front. The game on Saturday was a tense affair with Liverpool managing to win 2-1 over Everton with a goal by Andy Carroll in the last few minutes. The victory was made even more sweeter as it finally shut up an annoying Everton fan who was shouting his mouth off in the pub. The whole game he was in our ear about how shit Liverpool are and what a waste of money Andy Carroll was.....................How do you feel now loser!?!

On the job front things were looking good as I received an e-mail from my old boss at EDF Energy saying that the recruitment company had been in touch about a reference for the Castrol Oil job. This was postive news as Christian, the recruitment consultant, said they would only get in contact with my references if they were going to move forward with me. Whilst I didn't want to jump the gun I felt that I had at least one foot in the door. To my disappointment though, I received a call from Tobias at Castrol saying that they have decided to go with an internal applicant.L

However, he did go onto say that there is another job possibility with them as they are in need of a project manager temporarily. I have not officially managed in a company before however I did mention in my interview that I was looking to move into management some day, so I can only assume this is why they thought of me. He never said why I was unsuccessful in getting the analyst job but if I had to take a guess it would probably be because my swedish isn't up to scratch.................either that or I was over-qualified!!.................that's what I will tell myself anyway!!

I have been involved with project work before and have worked with many project managers so I know what is required. So looking on the brightside this could become a good development opportunity. The job itself is not within the company structure therefore the details of the job have not been outlined. Tobias said he will contact me later in the week to discuss it but nothing is concrete at the moment. Over the last few weeks I have continued to apply for other jobs but as yet none of the companies I have applied to have asked me for an interview. I have however had plenty of responses saying they have gone with other applicants!..................must be the swedish thing again!!

This week I was back football training with the Tudor Arms. We have our first league games of the season this weekend for both the A and B teams. The A team are playing on Friday night but unfortunately I didn't make the squad so I will be playing for the B team on Sunday. This doesn't bother me too much at the moment as I just want to play but going forward I want to be playing in the first team. Knowing myself as I do, I won't settle for being the number two. Whilst I can't expect to walk straight into the first team, my performances in training have been pretty good so if I keep that up and perform well playing for the B team, I should be knocking hard on that door fairly soon.

The training session was particularly fun for me as we had three goalkeepers playing including myself. This meant that during the training match one of us would play on pitch. I fancied a stint outfield so luckily for me I was put on the team with two keepers. The first half I played right midfield and managed to score to put us 2-0 up. By the second half I was knackered so I decided it was time for me to go back between the sticks. It turned to be the perfect match as I did not concede any goals! Gaffer, take note: One goal and one clean sheet...................Happy days!!

Friday, 13 April 2012

New class

Following my stint in the UK it was time to head back to college. It has been six weeks since I began my swedish course and we had reached the stage where we would be slotted into our new classes. The class which you were to be allocated to depended on how you scored on the various tests given over the previous six weeks. Luckily for me I have very well so I was put into the top group...................but it seems that I wasn't the only one as 90% of my new class is made up of my original classmates! Those that didn't make the top class were generally those who could not speak english. I was pleased that most of us made it into the group as we have built up a good relationship with each other since we started.

Hopefully now that I have been moved up I can start to learn less of the basic stuff (of which most I already knew) and more of things I'm not familiar with. So far we have covered introductions, verbs, numbers, directions, weather and food. Recently we have also learnt dates and one of the things we had to do in class this week was ask each when our birthdays were. I felt a bit of tit though when I was asked by my Romanian classmate when my birthday was. I told him the date (which is in August) and he then said "Lion" meaning the star sign Leo. I misheard him and thought he said "liar" so in response I said "no I'm not lying that is when my birthday is"!! When I realised what he had actually said I fell about laughing!................what a numpty!!

With college taking up my mornings, I have the afternoons free to do as I please so on Wednesday I decided to head to the cinema to see American Pie: Reunion. I have been looking forward to seeing it for ages. Aicha didn't fancy it so I ended going by myself.............sad I know! I'm a fan of the film series and can remember seeing the first one at the cinema back in 1999 with my mates. When I say the film series I mean the first three films not those shit spin offs!!

If you liked the original films then you will love this! It was sooo funny! I basically pissed myself for 2 hours!! All the characters were just as great as they were in the original films. Jim, Kevin, Finch, Oz, and of course the man who comes with most of the laughs Stifler are all back, as well as pretty much every single speaking roll from the original movie. I will say this is as good if not better than the original. The story is great and pretty realistic as it relates to what most of us are going through today. We moan about our jobs, we're married or in some kind of rut. We still just want to be the kids we were at school but it's hard because as much as we don't like to admit it we have all grown up!!

Today is Friday which means tomorrow is football day. Liverpool are playing Everton in the FA Cup semi final so I will be watching the game with Micke in my usual haunt The Dubliner. Liverpool's league season so far has been under-par. Even having won the Carling Cup, it would be a disappointment if we do not add the FA Cup to the seasons honours. I really believe we will get through although I think it will be really close game. I can feel the nerves already.................

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Easter homecoming............

Last week the whole family took a trip to the UK for the Easter weekend. Aicha and I were joined by her mum, dad, sister and our nephew Younes. My mum had agreed to let us have her house for the weekend while she stayed with her partner Martin, which was really nice of her as it meant we just had to pay for our flights. Aicha and I slept in my old bedroom which my mum has recently decorated for when the grandkids stay over. There was no bed in the room yet so we slept on an air-mattress. To be honest we would have slept anywhere! The air-mattress was quite comfortable but by the time we woke up the air had leaked out so we were left lying on the floor!

We arrived on the Wednesday night and spent the best part of Thursday shopping in Brighton. There were a few things I needed to buy but unsurprisingly it was mainly the girls who did the shopping! I left them in town around 2pm as I had to head back towards home because I had arranged a visit to my old employers EDF Energy at 3pm. For some strange reason I felt a bit nervous going back there, I really can't put my finger on why I felt like that. Maybe it was because everyone would be questioning me about things here! As expected that did happen, but I was happy to talk about it..................even if I had to repeat myself about 50 times!! It was definitely good seeing everyone again. Nothing much has changed since I left. Everyone is still busy and working hard.....................not that much can change really in 4 months!

That evening we ordered chinese take-out, which is becoming a bit of a tradition when the in-laws come to visit! Take-out is a bit of a rarity in Sweden so they make the most of when they are in the UK. Every night of our stay we had chinese! On Good Friday we did some more shopping in the morning then we met my sister Jo and her newly adopted daughter Emilia at St Ann's Well Gardens cafe. The weather was quite warm so we sat outside. It was really nice seeing them again. Emilia is such a cute little girl and they seem to have a really good connection. After we left Jo, I headed into Hove to meet my friend James for a suit fitting. James is getting married in August and I am his best man so I had to take the opportunity whilst in the UK to get measured up! He and his fiance Jemma had initially chosen the colour for the suits and ties but that all changed once he got to trying on the suits! He ended going for a grey suit with a chequed pink and white waistcoat. I will be wearing the same except I will be in a cream cravat and he will be in a lairy bright pink one! All in all I think they made a good choice with the suits...................especially with the lairy pink cravat as it suits James' personally!!!

Friday night was spent out with my brothers and a few of my old team mates at our local pub. My sister's boyfriend Pete was DJ and he had laid on some karaoke. We had a right good crack! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for a good old sing-song.....................and it wasn't long before I was up on stage belting out a bit of 'Mustang Sally'!! Apart from the DJ only me and one other local got up and sang the entire time! As the night went on my singing got increasing worse with each pint...................such to the extent the karaoke was abandoned! By that point all I wanted to do was boogie so it was left to Pete bang out the tunes! I rolled out of the pub about 1am leaving my brother and a few of the boys in there for a lock-in. I would have stayed a bit longer if I been on my own but I had my swedish family staying with me and I didn't want to be hanging the next day..................or do something stupid when I got in a silly'o'clock! I need not have worried though because my brother took on that responsibility when he came steaming in at 4am to phone a cab and woke everyone up!! Before things got too messy, I did manage to take a few snaps..................









Saturday was less busy. Aicha and her sister spent the day in town with Younes whilst I stayed at home and chilled out. That evening we had all arranged to meet my mum for dinner but unfortunately Aicha's mum Inga was sick so she and Mustapha couldn't make it. It was a real shame as it would have been nice for us all to have gone out together. My brother Chris came as well with the kids and Jenni. It was great to see the boys again. Charlie seems to get taller every time I see him!

We left the UK on Sunday afternoon. I felt great to be back there again but I was also keen to get back to Sweden because I had been called back for a third interview with Castrol. The interview took place today and I thought it went well. Like always there were a couple of questions that I thought I could have done better with but in general I think I did myself justice. They told me that I will hear back within a week so its back to playing the waiting game.................again!!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Roadtrip!

Friday afternoon I met up with Tom in town to collect the rental car for our roadtrip. This thing was a beast! It was bigger than I expected so we had to be extra careful not to damage it when driving out of the city. Visability from inside the car was not great so I had to act as co-pilot whilst we navigated our way through the streets! We could relax once we were on the highway as there were very few cars on the road. That's the thing about Sweden. It's one of the largest countries in Europe yet there are only 9 million people living here! There are are approximately 8 million people living in London alone! Once you get outside the cities its just highways and open countryside.

We were going to be staying in a small village called Nianfors which is around 300km north of Stockholm. It was my job to sort out the music for the trip............and I didn't disappoint! We had everything from rock to indie to brit-pop! Without some good tunes the journey seems to take forever! Music is fundamental to the success of any roadtrip so you have to make sure that you are tuned up! We got there in just over 3 hours and only had to stop once on the way. Whilst at the services I made sure I got myself a picture with the Camaro............



Once we arrived and had unpacked everything, I decided it was time for me to have a spin in the Camaro. The roads around the area were deserted. We were in the middle of a forest so it was a good place to test out its handling! The only disappointing thing was that it was an automatic..............but it still had some bite once you put your foot down! After taking the car for a spin I made us some dinner. As it was Tom's responsibility to get the booze, it was my job to get the grub. I knocked up some swedish meatballs with mash, then we washed it down with some beers! We spent the rest of the evening watching some of my stand up comedy dvd's...............which are twice as funny once you've had a few jars!

Once I woke up Saturday morning the first thing I wanted to do was take a shower. Unfortunately there had been some problems with the plumbing over Christmas and it hadn't yet been fixed so none of the amenities in the bathroom worked. I had to wash myself in the kitchen sink using water from the kettle as the hot tap didn't work either! Anything else we needed to do we had to do outside (if you know what I mean!). We had to use fire to heat the place as well, as only the kitchen had radiators. It didn't bother me too much though. In fact it made me appreciate the luxuries we take for granted..............like a toilet that flushes for example!

We then drove out into the country to find somewhere to buy supplies................and somewhere for Tom to take a dump! After driving for around 30km we stumbled across a small village with a supermarket. Once we bought some lunch we decided that as it was a nice day we would drive on and see what was about. After driving for 20 mins we decided to head back as we felt we were heading further and further into the wilderness. We found a track off the main road to turn the car around but it turned out to be the driveway to someone's house. When we attempted to spin the car around the back wheels got stuck in the mud! As the car was rear wheel drive the wheels just spun and chucked dirt everywhere. My initial thoughts were not of the car but of the farmer whose property we were trespassing on! We were in the middle of nowhere and I had this image of some old redneck walking out the house with a shot-gun! After a few minutes we managed to free the car and got the hell out there! On the way back we stopped off by the side of the road and took some shots of the landscape and of the cottage.............







That afternoon we went out for walk around the area near to where we were staying. It had snowed the previous night so some of the tracks were a little slippery under foot. On the way back to the cottage we decided to take a short cut across a stream which ran alongside the cottage. To continue walking on the path would have added another 5-10 mins to the journey and seeing as we were both hungry we chose to cross the stream instead.................



We managed to make our way through the trees and to the side of the stream but getting across it was another thing entirely! We had to jump across some stones, which doesn't sound too difficult but when they are wet and covered with ice it makes the task a little more tricky! Whilst the stream wasn't deep, the water was freezing cold plus if you fell on the rocks you could do yourself a serious injury. I managed to jump across and successfully make to the other side but unfortunately Tom could only get half way. I was egging him on to jump but he decided against it. It was probably the right move looking back but I couldn't stop myself from capturing his plight on camera!


As Tom headed back towards the path he remembered he had the keys to the cottage and decided to throw them over to me. Unfortunately this wasn't his day and his throw ricocheted off the side of the cottage and into the stream! Luckily the keys did not get washed away with the current and I was able to fish them out! Without them we would have had to smash a window and considering this place belongs to his girlfriends dad it was a good job we didn't need to!

After dinner we sank a few more beers then put on a film which I hadn't seen before called 'Paranormal Activity'. I had heard that it was a pretty intense movie and it even says on the box not to watch it alone. I won't give away what happens but the plot is set around a couple who set up a camera in their bedroom to film at night as they keep being woken up by strange noises and footsteps. I have to say it is probably the scariest film I have ever seen! It is all filmed with a camcorder as well which adds to the realism. I was genuinely frightened afterwards! Sounds lame I know but it really got to me! I even woke up in the middle of the night and could get back to sleep thinking about it. What made it worse was that we were in a forest in the middle of nowhere and every time I heard a noise I was freaked out!

We left early the next morning as I needed to be back in Stockholm by 12pm as I was meeting with Micke to watch AIK at Rasunda stadium. Rasunda is also the national team stadium and was host to some of the games during Euro 1992. There 3 professional football teams in Stockholm, AIK, Hammarby and Djulgården. AIK are the biggest club in Stockholm although (to some) Hammarby are considered to be 'the peoples club'. The game didn't kick off until 2pm however we got there early as its tradition on the first game of the season for the fans to line the streets outside the ground and cheer the players coach when it arrives. I wasn't quite sure what all the fuss was about but then the coach came down the street and this happened...................







Suddenly the flares came out and people were setting off fireworks in the street. It was crazy! At one point there was so much smoke I couldn't 3 feet in front of me! These were passionate fans. They were chanting and dancing about..................and this was 2 hours before kick off. I've never seen anything like it before. You certainly wouldn't see that in England..........................health and safety would shit their pants for a start!!

The game itself was a disappointment. The game finished 0-0 with only 3 shots on target! Not quite the first swedish game I was hoping to see but it was a good experience none the less. The standard is light years away from the premiership but the support the fans showed was exceptional. I was standing (yes standing!) behind the goal with the hardcore fans and they did not stop singing for the whole game! There were one or two dickheads going over the top but generally the vibe was good. The young lads in front of me were winding me up because they had brought this massive flag with them and were insistent on drunkenly waving it every 5 minutes which blocked my view! I wouldn't have minded too much except my view was already obscured by a bloody pillar!!




After the game I headed home to see Aicha and take a much needed shower! It was a really good weekend and one which I would like to do again with Aicha....................providing the plumbing has been fixed! Next weekend we are flying back o the UK which I am really looking forward to. It's only been a month since I was last there but it will be great to see everyone again. Hopefully I will have some news before then on the job front. I am due to hear back from the recruitment company tomorrow so lets hope its good news! Fingers crossed!!