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June 2004 was another of those end-of-an-era months (or perhaps more an end-of-a-mini-era months) - I completed my Access to Combined Studies Course at the City of Bristol College. This meant that I could get on with the gardening, the travelling around the Uk visiting folks and the admiring of my little nephews poos...
June 2004 Highlights: The summer starts here: a trip to our Pembrokeshire get-away; a REAL wall calendar; nice bus-t; how to sell a very old car in a day; oversize ego (I've passed my course!); jobsworth bus drivers; I do like to be beside the seaside (with a beautiful lady!); mum and dad's HDRA Open Garden; the Welsh Garden Project; a yurt party; my nephew's poo; Milton Keynes Temple innaugoration; the joys of being on hold ...


Sunday 6th June 2004 - 07:55 GMT+1 on my beanbag, Bristol, England

The summer starts here

Although my college course officially runs until early July, as far as I can tell I've done everything I need to do. Indeed, I've been such a good boy that I can afford to drop a couple of final modules, having worked so hard up until this point. Thus yesterday, rather than revise cognitive development I installed a light in the cupboard under the stairs. Almost as exciting, I know.

Earlier this week Melanie, Tim and I took a trip to Pembrokeshire, where they own about 28 acres of woodland and meadow. This was no holiday though. No, this was a bramble-bashing mission: the blighters are trying to take over the land. Mind you, I discovered that it wasn't so much the brambles that were the problem, but more the blackthorn. Nasty stuff: it had spread almost two metres from the banks, its thorny stems shooting up everywhere, calling for a lot of bow-saw action. I showed it who was boss; it showed my arms and legs what a liking for blood it had.

Melanie and Tim, off to bash some brambles...

It's a good job that along with the meadows and woods Melanie & Tim own half a river. After a long days work a thorough wash in its FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZING cold waters was thoroughly refreshing! I think that was the first time that I've had a bath in a river. The cold is all psychological you know, just like big hills and bicycles.

Once back here in bristol I began to panic about all the stuff I have to do this summer. I have four jobs lined up, all of which will demand a lot of my time. Then of course there's the Kanji - the third Japanese alphabet. I'm determined to learn at least the first 500 of the 2000+ characters over the next 12 weeks. Then there's birthdays, a Japanese temple inaugoration in Milton Keynes, hospital appointments, a festival to work at, severeal other festivals to attend, a friend's visa application to sort out, a course in the Alexander Tecnique to do, a Japanese evening class to finish...

You get the idea. All of these were pressing down on me, preventing me seeing my summer "holiday" with any clarity. Then, two days ago I visited my friend Jo, who showed me her revision plan that she'd made: 7 pieces of A4 paper stuck on the wall, ith each piece representing 4 days. Could this be the answer?

Here we have it then, the Joseph Tame Summer 2004 Planner. Three month's worth of days all clearly laid out on the wall. Here not only can I see what I'm doing next week, next month, but also I can keep track of whether or not I'm done my shoulder excercises, how many kanji I've learnt and how many days it is until I start at Sheffield!

Sunday 6th June 2004 - 16:00 GMT+1 on my beanbag, Bristol, England

Nice Bus~t

Childish? Yes. Sophisticated? No. But funny none-the-less.

Whilst on the way to the Theatre a couple of nights ago to see a splendid production of Richard Sheridan's 1775 play The Rivals (starring Mrs. Mallaprop), Tim, Melanie, Angela and I found ourselves just inches away from the largest breasts we'd ever seen. We were at the front of a double decker bus whose driver loved to pull up as close as possible to the bus in front.


Who says travelling by bus is no fun?

Sunday 6th June 2004 - 16:17 GMT+1 on my beanbag, Bristol, England

Sell it by midnight... or scrap it tomorrow

With Emma (my sister) now having the use of her partner's car, she couldn't justify splashing out on tax and insurance for another year on her old Nissan, which I have also been driving since my return to the UK last year. I couldn't justify it either due to my anti-car environmental attitude. The insurance expires at midnight tonight, so this morning we decided that if we hadn't managed to sell it by then we'd phone the scrap yard tomorrow and have it crushed to bits. I stuck notices up in the windows which read:

It was astonishing how much attention it got parked outside her house. Virtually everyone who walked by stared at it, commenting to their partners on what a bargain it was. One bloke took my number and said he's call back later. However, it was this afternoon when waiting at traffic lights that the final buyer saw us. He was just walking by, and signaled to us that he was interested, so we pulled over, and he checked out our little Nissan. Half an hour later he phoned saying yes, he'd take it. We returned to the meeting place (by the traffic lights!), then drove him and his two friends to the hospital where a fourth Namibian was waiting with £60 ("that's all he could get out of the machine!". Cheeky...!) Still, they were a nice bunch, so we took the money, said goodbye to my sister's car (of 5 years) and walked home. Not sure how happy the DVLA (Driving & Vehicle Licensing Authority?) will be about the fact that we've sold a car to someone holding a Namibian license! He insisted that it was legal!

All of this happened in the midst of my sister moving house! Talk about getting a lot done in one day!

<UPDATE! 24th June 2004>

Yesterday we got a speeding fine in the post - dated for after we'd sold the car!! Looks like the police haven't updated their owners database, and the folks who bought the car off us have been having fun cruising the streets at 2am at 52mph in a 30mph zone!

Tuesday 8th June 2004 - 07:36 GMT+1 on my beanbag, Bristol, England

Today's the day the Joseph Tame has his pi-----cnic


This evening marks the end of my one-year Access to Combined Studies course at the City of Bristol College.

I am pleased to report that I have achieved the highest possible grade for all 23 assignments.

In addition to this, my attendance has been 100% across all subjects.

I have completed the course several weeks ahead of schedule due to forward planning and dedication.

Now get down on your knees and praise me.

Friday 11th June 2004 - 10:01 GMT+1 Sitting on a bench at Bristol Bus Station, England


Oh how I love British bus stations. Such wonderful places, full of charm, sophistication and underclass families with 13 screaming kids called Antwon, Nike and Jordan, all wearing baseball caps. The mothers, fag in mouth (and not a single one under 100kg) shouting at them in menacing Bristolian accents, "GET YERE NOW!! IF YOU DON'T GET OVER YERE RIGHT NOW I'LL SMACK YA!!! The children turn and run further away.

I got to the bus station today just as the bus was pulling out of its bay. Seeing that the road leading from the bus station was temporarily blocked by an unloading truck, I ran after my bus and then knocked on the door as the driver waited for the blockage to clear. Initially he ingnored me. I knocked again, to which he reacted by turning to me and shaking his head - he wasn't going to let me on.

I stood in disbelief for a further 30 seconds. he just wouldn't open the door, despite knowing that the next bus wasn't for another hour.


Still, there must be a reason for this. Maybe I'll get a better ride when I hitch-hike the final stage of my journey into Wales this morning.

I've been a busy bee this week. The end of my college course marks a whole new beginning you see: the start of my hardcore Japanese studies which will continue indefinately.

I've already drawn up my study plan for the summer: a minimum of 15 hours study per week of the third Japanese alphabet - Kanji. So far so good, although as it only came into force last night that's not really surprising. Hhm, actually, maybe I should do some now. I'm feeling a bit vulnerable sitting here with a laptop - this is a British Bus Station after all.

Tuesday 22nd June 2004 - 08:31GMT+1 Oxford Railway Station Cafe, England

Waiting for a train

That's what I'm doing, waiting for a train. I'm sat in Oxford Railway Station listening to a man who's talking very loudly on his phone. He's very angry with Terry for not making the phone call and causing a good deal of trouble for the Australian branch. He'll take it up with Helen, and ask her to look into which are the best performing products this quarter. Jolly good.

So yes well what a buzzy buzzzy boy I've been. Last Thursday I think it was, I set off on my voyage around the southern counties. Initial plans to hitch-hike were soon scrapped in favour of the comfort of a Virgin Train - ooh, I do like those virgin trains... So it was that at 5pm at Brixham Bus Station I met up with Katsura, my friend (nudge nudge wink wink) who has endured about 10 months of working as a volunteer in the most depressing old-folks home in the world. In a fortnight she'll be moving to London to make a fresh start. I'm mightily proud of her - despite knowing absolutely no-one in the city and speaking very little English she is determined to make a fresh start on her own. It's so good to see her follow her heart: she's a strong girl, having the strength to face the challenges that her chosen course of action will produce.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside... Harry the crab engages me in conversation

I've been missing her since Friday. Ah! The curse of attatchment! It's always like that after we've had a good time together, only natural. Still, she's going to have all the excitement of the City to distract her, whilst I have university to look forward to.

open garden

Mum and dad have always been keen gardeners. Now retired, they devote the majority of their time to planning and tending their incredible garden. Last Weekend saw the climax of months of work as they opened their gate to the public as a part of the Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA) Open Gardens scheme. HDRA is a major player in the world of organic and biodynamic gardening, at the forefront of research and guidance on all aspects of organic horticulture.

Dad demonstarting the merits of a coldframe support to a friend who thankfully has an understanding attitude towards mad Tames


I think they had about 80 visitors in all, including friends, family and members of the public. The biggest surprise came on the Saturday evening when the Chief Executive of HDRA turned up to admire all of their hard work!

I'm very proud of my mummy and daddy. They're so clever.

the welsh garden project

I've been hard at it again on the Welsh Garden Project Site. Check out what I did last weekend: this beech hedge had gone completely wild, but it didn't take long for the Tame to work his wonders.

From this... this

I really enjoy working there. It's so rewarding, gives me the excercise that I need, and enables me to soak up the summer sunshine. AND, I have the freedom to only work when I want to, which is fan-dabby-tastic for me, a contract-loather. It's the perfect job!

However, all was not champagne and peach sorbet last weekend. My beloved Tilley Hat, which I have had but three months, is gone. I lost it whilst hitch-hiking. I think I left it by the roadside outside Chepstow Racecourse. I revisited the site 3 days later, but there was not a sign of it. I also tracked down the guy who'd given me a lift in the hope that I'd left it in his car. The wonders of Google. Sadly he hadn't come across it... It's not all bad news though. All Tilley hats come with their own insurance as standard. I've contacted the UK headquarters and they'll send me a voucher enabling me to buy another one half-price. My bopnce shall benefit from Tilley Protection once again...


I took a trip on a bus yesterday. It was a long trip, and I was tired. I fell asleep - only to wake up with a long dribble coming out of my mouth and a very wet shirt.

A Midsummer Night's Madness

Milton Keynes. What a bizarre place.

You may recall I spent some time in Britain's largest new city last September. The majority of the UK population tend to regard this rapidly expanding network of roundabout-linked estates as a monstrous example of tarmac heaven inhabited by car-addicted commuters with no sense of community... but I don't feel that that's the case. Whilst it's true that there are more car parks than pigeons, and yes, it does resemble one big out-of-town shopping centre, it also has many oddities that mark it out as one of Britain's most diverse connobation.

Take this weekend.

I arrived at John John's Saturday lunchtime. Having fixed his answerphone and installed his printer (I loathe Macs. They are designed with the explicit intention of driving people up the wall), I was told that we would be attending a Yurt Party.

I was intruiged. What would a Yurt party entail? Where was it? Who would be there? All was revealed that evening as we drove to the outer reaches of town, and into an isloated wood situated in the middle of nowhere.Stepping from the car we followed the signs to A Midsummer Nights Madness; they led us down a long track, over a brook and deep into the trees. Candles appeared on the trees to light our path, and it wasn't long before we were greeted by a very large elf, a jester and a whole bunch of fairies.

What a lovely evening it was. The yurt (whose completion we were celebrating) was a little lacking in structure due to some last minute difficulties with the roof, but nonetheless, there was a party to be enjoyed and so enjoy we did. There was music (provided by the group pictured above), food, drink and a great atmosphere... There must have been between 40 and 50 people in the woods that night, of all ages from all walks of life.

I felt really privaliged to be a part of this most unusual gathering.I smiled at the fact that this kind of magical event lives on, despite the pressures of "modern life"... that media-created-entity that is responsible for the invention of the automatic-driverless lawnmower and the dominance of supermarkets in the retail sector.

I even managed to locate a Japanese woman in the woods! She was pretty surprised to be greeted in her mother tongue!

It was all quite surreal really, in a thoroughly fantastic way.

Tuesday 22nd June 2004 - 22:18GMT+1 On my beanbag, Bristol, England

all this travel... making me feel rather unsettled. I returned to Bristol today, but don't feel at all at home. It could be because I have 1001 things to do tomorrow. It could be because I know I'm leaving again at the end of the week. It could be the fact that my computer's knackered, again. I think my housemates find my coming-and-going rather unsettling too. They never quite know where they are with me. The father of one them is on his deathbed, literally, and this is naturally having a great impact upon her, poor thing. She's exausted from all the emotion involved.

I'm feeling pretty lost really. without my base. I feel like I've left Bristol and I can't quite grap a hold of any stable ground with which to bring myself back down to Earth.

Well, I'll go to bed, study a bit, and hopefully sleep very well. Tomorrow I'll tell you all about the temple celebrations on Sunday, and our private party that followed.

In the meantime I'll leave you with this: My very clever nephew Jamie who at the age of 9 months is already using a potty in the mornings, without any pressure at all from mummy and daddy. He's such a clever chap.

Here's this morning's sausage delivery.

poo pooooooooooo

Thursday 24th June 2004 - 12:18GMT+1 On my beanbag, Bristol, England

Yes, Milton Keynes really does have spirit

It's not all roundabouts, shopping centres and dry ski slopes.

Last weekend I took part in a celebration of the inaugoration of the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist Temple in Milton Keynes. Under construction for the past twenty years, the temple is now home to a group of monks who first came to MK under the direction of Nichidatsu Fuji. Horrified by the effects of the Hioroshima Nuclear Bomb, Fuji decided to resurrect the practice of building peace pagodas. One member of his order came to England, where he was soon introduced to the Milton Keynes Development Corporation, whose mission it was to create a truly cosmopolitan city for the 21st century. The land on which the peace pagoda and temple now stand was offered to Fuji in exchange for the planting of one cherry tree per year (in lieu of rent). Kinokuniya, Japan's largets book retailer donated 2000 trees which were then planted in memory of all victims of war - and paid the rent up until the 4th millenium!

Gathered on the grassy slopes around the temple last Sunday were hundreds of people from all over the world. Prayers and chanting were followed by singing and dancing, plus some really great indian food! Charlie Chaplin dropped in too...

I was especially happy to see my mate Tom's mum and dad. I briefly met his mum last year in Tokyo - it was great to catch up on all the gossip. Ann's recently been released from jail (again) for peacefully demonstarting against the arms trade fair that took place in London last year. She's also been known to attack a nuclear submarine with a hammer... now that's the kind of example I wish more parents would set for their children. I have great respect for her and her husband.

monks by the pond
the peace pagoda

As with the Yurt Party, this was a memorable event. It was fantastic to meet up with so many different people from all walks of life, all with peace in mind.

Thursday 24th June 2004 - 13:02GMT+1 On my beanbag, Bristol, England

what a handsome chap!

It was great to visit my little sister Jessie, her fella Danny and their lovely little Peanut, Jamie. Isn't he just so cute!

Thursday 24th June 2004 - 13:08GMT+1 On my beanbag, Bristol, England

Q. why is joseph like a carton of milk?

My three days in Bristol this week are almost over now. Tomorrow morning I'm back off to the Welsh Garden Project site to earn a few more pennies. If I carry on at this frantic pace the summer is just going to fly by, something I don't mind at all due to my move to Sheffield on September 19th.

My twice daily routine of study and excercise now takes 3 hours to complete. Yesterday I began a course of private lessons in the Alexander Tecnique. I don't have any specific aches and pains that I need to address, but I am aware that being relatively tall can lead one to adopt bad posture and lead to great problems later on in life. I thought I'd make myself aware of the risks of not being consciously aware of how I hold myself now, before any issues come to light. Anyway, I've been given some homework by my teacher to add to that given by the sports injuries specialist, and of course my study of the Kanji. There's just not enough hours in the day!

Right, I must go and buy a piece of string and touch up my painting work in the bathroom - tattaaa

(A. Because he's pastyoureyes before you can see him)

Wednesday 30th June 2004 - 17:06GMT+1 On my beanbag, Bristol, England

the joys of being on hold

all I can say is it's a good job I've got a phone with a loudspeaker on otherwise my arm would have frozen into position holding the handset for so long... I'm doing battle with Toshiba today to try to get them to extend their manufacturer's warranty on my laptop which has been pretty poorly since it was last repaired (in February). They didn't return it for 6 weeks that time, so I was reluctant to send it off for a second time until I'd completed my Access course. Now that's over they tell me it's too late to have it repaired again under warranty! Cheeky monkeys.

a few minutes later...

Yes, for most of today I've been listening to some lovely music being played by a computer in Istanbul. Yes, my local Toshiba support centre... in Istanbul. Then, when my call is finally answered (by an Australian bloke most of the time) I'm put on hold again and transferred to the UK contact centre... whereupon a chap called Paul answers and says "Ah, yes, you need to talk to our technical services helpline. I'm afraid I can't put you through though".

"Why?" I ask. "Are they in Istanbul too?".

"No, they're in the room just across the corridor, but we have to follow procedure..."

Eventually I get through to a very nice man called Richard who says he's going home at 5.30pm (it's 5.25pm by now), so he'll call me back tomorrow.

I don't feel too frustrated though because he's a very friendly man and has told me that he thinks we'll be able to sort something out.

In other PC related news...

I've just sent an email to a friend who has an AOL address. It was returned, with the error message

All of my emails (with the exception of those sent to people whom I admit to lusting after on The Daily Mumble) carry my signature (as shown below)... so what I want to know is why exactly is The Daily Mumble generating substantial complaints from AOL members? Too much sex, drugs and Buddhist Charlie Chaplains? Or is it that practical joke I played whilst living in Tokyo finally catching up on me (when I pretended to be a woman and had over 50 men with red roses looking for me one Sunday afternoon in Shinjuku)...

Watch this space.

I'm really rather happy today (despite being on hold). Not only was I able to help someone out who came round for a chat about bankruptcy over a cup of tea (not actually going bankrupt over a cup of tea - the judge might decide to section you rather than accept your petition for a debt-free life), but also, this morning I made the drastic decision to NOT spend the entire summer leaning the third (and most difficult) Japanese alphabet - kanji. I'd had this plan to learn all 1845+ characters before I started uni, but, well, it's been really stressing me out, and I don't actually need to at all - it's just me trying to be clever and get ahead.

No Joseph, I told myself. There's no need. That's such a classic example of Rat Race syndrome, living for the future at the expense of the present.

The first result of my decision is that instead of containing only 22 images, my June 2004 Web Gallery now contains 100 photos! Aren't you lucky?!


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