Wednesday, 23 May 2012

How time flys!!

It's been over 2 weeks since my last blog and its seems that alot has happened in that time so I hope I can remember everything!! I made a rule to myself when I set this up to blog at least twice a week but things have been so busy lately, what with the new job and everthing, it has been hard to find the time. I therefore apologise to my usual subscribers (all two of you!!) for going awol however I will try my best to blog as often as possible!!

As mentioned it has been a very busy two weeks. I am starting to find my feet now in my new job, which is good as there is alot of work to do! It was a bit overwhelming at first however now I have had some time to digest everything I am becoming more comfortable with my responsibilties. Its been very challenging and I've had a couple of frustrating days but in general everything is going well. Outside of work I have been just as busy! Aicha and I are still appartment hunting and we have been spending time at the weekends attending public viewings. We have seen some nice places but nothing we have been prepared to bid for. We are looking at a newly built appartment tomorrow and have few more over the weekend so hopefully we will find something soon!

Over the last week the weather has been really nice here so I have been trying to make the most it. Last Thursday was a public holiday and it was a really hot day so we spent the day in the walking around in the city. We walked around for ages, mostly down by the water side. I got a couple photos on our travels, one in particular of a ship docked in the harbour. The reason it caught my eye was because it had a british colonial flag and seemed to be a cross between a warship and a yacht..........!!

On the Friday evening I had been invited to go with our friend Calle to watch Hammarby play against Assyriska FF. Hammarby are a professional football team based in Stockholm and are considered by the supporters to be 'The Peoples Club'. I had previously been to watch AIK, who are the biggest club in Stockholm, but this was a different experience all together! We met close to the stadium at one of the local supporter pubs at around 5pm and there was no looking back! The beers were flowing straight away!! The game kicked off at 7:20pm (strange time for a kick off I know) so we had a full 2 hours to kill. The pub we were in was the cheapest I have been to since I came to Sweden. The beer sold there cost less than it does in the UK so as you can imagine I had to do a double take when I saw the price!! I found out that the pub only has those prices on matchdays so I had to make the most of it...............but whilst I can drink a bit, I am nothing compared to Calle!! That guy is in a different league! By the end of night I was struggling to keep up!

The game itself was pretty poor and Hammarby lost 2-0. The main highlight (if you can call it that!) was a tear up between a section of home fans and the fuzz! The game was stopped for 20 mins whilst the police tried to control things. I wasn't standing that far away from where it was kicking off and there were even guys barging passed me just so they could get involved. The riot police then showed up and started whacking people which added to the disruption. Whilst I don't condone football violence it certainly made things more interesting!! It was only a small section of supporters who were involved, which is normally the case when this happens. Generally the supporters were brilliant. Even when the oppostion scored the fans never stopped singing! They were mid song when the ball hit the net and they didn't even flinch!! It wasn't the biggest ground in the world but it certainly had atmosphere........

After the game we went for more beers but as time when on I was getting more and more worried about getting home. I had to get the tube to a nearby town which took around 30 mins then take a bus but the problem was there were no buses running from the train station during the early hours!! Calle kept telling me not to worry and that he would get me home, but by 1am I was finished so I had to throw in the towel!! Anyone who has been out with me in the UK knows I am prone to the odd disappearing act. By that I mean I quietly slide off and go home without saying goodbye to anyone................mainly because I don't want to give them the opportunity to convince me to stay!! Suffice to say Saturday was a bit of a write off but thanks Calle for a great Friday evening!!

Things with the Tudor Arms Football Team are going really well. I have played 3 times since I last blogged and each time we have won. My unbeaten run continues and touch wood it stays that way!! My most recent game was last night and we won 9-1! As you can imagine I was merely a spectator for most of the game..............but the strange thing was that I was the only player to pick up an injury!! I twisted my ankle after landing awkwardly but hopefully it well ease off before we play our next game. The club photographer was at the game yesterday and took a photo of the team and some individual photos for the club website. If you are interested in the club you can visit the club website at   The site is in swedish so the best thing to do is search for the website in google and select the hyperlink which says 'translate this page'.
Thats pretty much all from me. roll on the weekend..............!!!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Put to the test

After a couple of brain straining days in the new job I was looking forward to relaxing over the weekend.................but then I realised that wouldn't happen because my weekend was suddenly jam-packed!! On Saturday I had arranged to meet Micke to watch the FA Cup final but before I could do that I had a few things to do around the house. Most of the morning was spent cleaning but once that was done I switched on my laptop to watch the build up to the final! I've found a website where I can stream all the sports I like and 99% of the time its is with the English commentary! I met Micke at 4pm and rest of the day was spent in The Dubliners! It was a really good atmosphere as it was mainly Liverpool supporters. We ended up losing the final (so I won't go into the details of the game!) but it was a good day none the less..................I think the 7 or 8 pints I drunk had something to do with that!!

Now that I have secured a job it was time to get back on the property trail. Last week Aicha contacted the bank to inquire about a mortgage loan and they have now agreed one in principle. In Sweden there is none of that 3 and half times your salary bollocks. Here they just asked us how much we earn, how much we can put down as a deposit and the desired price range. They pretty much agreed it there and then! With that done Aicha booked in some viewings straight away! We saw one apartment on Sunday in an area called Råcksta which is not that far from where we are living at the moment. The apartment building was only 3 years old so everything was fairly new but we weren't too keen on the layout so we decided not to bid on it. The main reason being the kitchen was open plan. We did know this beforehand but I thought we should give ít a look anyway!!

After the viewing we headed to the nearby town of Jakobsberg to watch our nephew Younes play in a football tournament. It was fun seeing him chase the ball around. He is only nine and hasn't been playing football for very long but I thought he did really well! Like all kids in his age group there are some who are better than others but he didn't look out of place. I managed to snap a few pictures of him in the process. The best part of the day for me was when they scored as all the kids went mental and started running all round the pitch!! When I visit the UK next I must make sure to watch my brothers kids play football so I don't miss out!

After Younes' football tournament I had to head off for my own game for The Tudor Arms. We were playing away against Ekero which is a 30 minute drive outside the city centre. We won the game 2-0 and I played really well. I made some really vital saves and ended up as man of the match, doing my chances of a first team place little harm at all! I took quite a nasty bang to head in the process though, but that's football!

Monday it was back to work. Having endured information overload in the first few days I was worried that this week would be more of the same but Monday was a good day as things became more clear to me. I was tasked with doing a piece of work for my boss on Friday and when I came to presenting it on Monday he was impressed with what I had done. I am starting to find my feet now and hopefully it won't be too long before I am comfortable with things.

Today is Wednesday and this morning I had to take a few hours off work to take a Swedish exam at college. Now that I have a job I can no longer attend college during weekdays however they have agreed to move me to an evening class, but to determine which class I should go in I had to take the exam. If I had continued in the day class I would have taken it next month but the teacher believed I was advanced enough to take it now. The exam was made up of four parts. There were two reading sections, one listening and one writing section. I was given the results back this afternoon and I am happy to say I passed!! I got top marks on the reading and writing but not so much on the listening. The reading and listening questions were multiple choice. I made a mistake with some of the listening questions as I understood what was said but I marked the wrong box!! Fortunately it didn't affect my score too much but what it does mean is that I need to focus more on listening to dialogues in future.

The past week has been quite hectic for me, both with the new job and studying for the exam. I am glad the exam is out the way now but I need to make sure that I keep up with the studying, particularly as my evening class will not begin until August. The last 7 days has felt like one big test.................but one I'm lucky enough to say that I have passed!!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Back to work

This week I began my first day at Castrol. I started there on Wednesday afternoon so it meant that I had Monday and Tuesday free. It was a bank holiday on Tuesday as it was the 1st of May. As you know we have the first Monday of May as a bank holiday but here it always falls on the 1st. I'm not sure what happens when it falls on a weekend though! Aicha had a half day on Monday so I met her when she was done. The weather was quite warm so we took a stroll around the city and stopped at a cafebar along the waterside. It felt so nice to be sitting out in the sun again. We were not the only ones who felt that way as there were many people out enjoying the sun!

Wednesday was the first day on the job. I was only in the office for the afternoon so my time was just spent introducing myself to people and trying understand how the business works. The job itself will be to lead a internal pricing project and plan its implementation. I have previously been involved in projects but have never been responsible for one so its quite a daunting prospect! I am a little bit nervous at the moment as the are some time constraints to it so I need to get up to speed as quickly as possible but as its all new to me its taking some time to understand things. Unfortunately I have not had my email set up yet so I can really communicate with anyone! Hopefully it should be set up on Monday though!

On Thursday I spent most of the day in a meeting to discuss the plans going forward. We had some representatives from other business areas around Europe presenting the information and I found the session really useful. In the evening we were taken out for a meal along with some of the other members of the meeting. We went to a really fancy restaurant called 'El Diablo'. The food there was awesome! We had four courses which consisted of bread and pate, sliced duck, beef steak with potatoes and sorbet with biscuits for dessert. It was a great meal and it felt good to socialise with the team outside of the office.

Today was quite difficult for me. I was really struggling to understand some of the tasks I needed to do. Because I don't have a wealth of knowledge there were alot things bouncing around in my head. Next week is going to be quite hectic so I was trying get cracking on some of the things I needed to do but because I was not sure on a few things I felt I was going round in circles! Aicha keeps telling me that I'm putting myself under too much pressure considering I have only been there 2 and a half days and I guess shes right but its difficult get out of that mindset. I found a good website ( which gives some a good advice about starting a new role. so hopefully that will help me along the way.

Tomorrow is Saturday but more importantly its FA Cup final day with the mighty Liverpool taking on Chelsea. Hopefully the mighty reds can win the cup and put me in a positive mood for the coming week!!