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Bank Holidays and Babysitting!

1st September 2011

It's been another busy week, busiest day by far was bank holiday Monday as me and my wife were looking after our friends two girls, they're 6 and 8 (apologies parents if I've got that wrong!) Not having kids myself, I wasn't fully prepared for being responsible for them for a whole afternoon, yeah not even a day just an afternoon! We decided the best course of action would be to take them somewhere, so took them to Down at the Farm. This was a brilliant idea as there was plenty to keep them occupied, however they wanted to do everything, and NOW!! They have so much energy and will power. They definatley had the upper hand and I found it very hard to say 'no' (I'm definatley the 'fun' one, Laura was left to say 'no' most times). It did have it's disadvantages as I did a lot of chasing around and pushing on toy vehicles, and up hills! It also became very obvious that I got bored quicker than they did, and all the parents also had the same look on their face and I did keep hearing the same sentence being shouted over and over "...ok then, just one more go."

It also amazes me that anyone would have more than one child, let alone three. They double team you and run in different directions so you have to split up, and they know it's easier when they get you on your own, especially me as I can't say 'no'! On the whole though I think we coped pretty well but it was really nice to hand them back at the end of the day, but I'm sure the call will come again to baby sit.

Other things happening this week was FREE Cake!! The Midweek Treat has started and no surprise it's going down well. The only snag with it is everyone is very generous and they keep offering me cake, but I have to politley decline. Two reasons behind this, I can't keep eating cake every week otherwise I'll get fat, also it is the Great North Run in two weeks and I'm meant to be training. As I write this I have seventeen days to go and although I've done some training, five miles is still the furthest I've gone. I'm looking for a miracle on the day that I'll just find the fitness from somewhere, you never know it could happen.

It's the Peterlee show this weekend and we are there all weekend, so I'll Blog about it next week as I'm sure I'll have plenty to tell you about.


Posted by Mark Black at 3:05pm

Walking Weekend

22nd August 2011

It was a busy weekend for the station with the Derby (least said the better) Ali Campbell performing at the Nissan Sports and Social and the Marie Curie Walk Ten at Herrington Country Park. I was at the Walk Ten which turned out to be a great event, and the rain held off!! (well, untill the very end just as we were clearing up) I should make it clear that we weren't walking we were justing hosting the event... somebody needed to relay important information to the crowd!

The event got underway at 6pm with everyone arriving in a sea of yellow with the walk begginning at 7pm. Once we had everyone in posistion I had been given the job of pressing the air horn to send everyone on their way, BUT it didn't work too well. I had been told that it was a little tempramental and it would need a real good squeeze to make a loud enough sound. So there I was on the stage, hundreds of walkers at the start line counting down, ...4-3-2-1 press...and I pressed down on the buttopn. The tiniest of sounds came from the horn, followed by a great deal of laughter, led by Marie Gardiner!, which was probably louder than the horn itself. I tried again, and again but still no louder so I sent them on their way. Obviously everyone was ribbing me about the noise, but it really wasn't my fault, there must have been something really wrong with the can., honestly!!

The whole event was really well organised and we had a running order of what was meant to happen and when the walkers were estimated to arrive back. We thought around eight thirty, which seemed fair both myself and Marie have run 10k and it took around an hour and 15minutes. So we weren't expecting anyone until after eight thirty to be honest, until at around five past eight there was a lonely figure heading towards the finish. Surely they couldn't have done it that quick? To make it even worse this was a gentleman who was at least twice our age and he had completed the WALK quicker than we could RUN it, completley putting us to shame.

Slowly but surely the walkers started to come through and we welcomed them back. Most had picnics which they had brought along and they positioned themselves in front of the stage ready for the entertainment to start. There was a percussion band who performed, to me it just sounded like a lot of people hitting drums, but I'm sure there was a tune in there somewhere!!

We rounded off the night hearing from Paula, who is a Marie Curie nurse and hearing how the money raied will be spent. It really is a remarkable service and we were given time to reflect on this through a minutes silence, memory lanterns laid out in a heart shape and a fire work display to bring proceedings to a close. It really is an amazing charity and being part of it this year is very special. We have been involved in so much already and there is so much more to come before the end of the year.


Walk Ten 2



Posted by Mark Black at 3:36pm

Smiles and Stars at Sun FM

12th August 2011

Another busy week at Sun Fm towers, and when I think about it two things stand out, Joe McElderry and new photos being taken of the presenters. So Monday morning I turn up to work and everyone looks a lot tidier than usual it was very obvious we had all put an extra bit of effort into getting ready that morning. I'm not the best at taking photo's and have always found it a bit strange, especially proffesional photos. It is always really dark apart from the massive spotlight they bring with them so you end up squinting. I did think it would take ages and I would have to pull allsorts of faces and poses, but it was over pretty quick, this you would think is a good thing. When it is over that quick you keep wondering if it's a good thing, did they really get enough good shots or did they just give up becasue they could never make you look good! We should see the photo's in a week or so and apparently we will be airbrushed, so you will be very disapointed when you see me at events as I will not look as good as my profile pic!

As well as new photos I had Joe Mcelderry on the show this week. He's been in a few times and is always lovely. It's great to see he has managed to continue where so many have disappered after X-Factor. It seems like he has taken charge of things and has more say in the music he is making. We had loads to chat about and you can hear the full interview in our interviews section.

Posted by Mark Black at 3:51pm

Just Hanging Around!!

5th August 2011

This week I spent an afternoon at Beamish wild with Marie Gardiner, it was brilliant, scary...but brilliant. We had been invited down by the manager to sample what it was all about. There is loads to do there but we only had time for a couple of parts, the Birds of prey enclosures and the adventure section.

They have a wide selection of birds of prey, some have been bred in captivity and some have been rescued. They all are beautiful birds and really interesting as well. We both were lucky enough to hold some of the birds which is an odd experience, to be that close to them. The handlers did say something interesting though, that the birds who have been bred in captivity think they are human. They have been hand reared by humans and therefore think that they are human! Marie's favourite was the little owl she got to hold, and I did think we might have to check her jumper when we left just incase!!

We also did the adventure part which was great fun, but very scary in parts. Basically it was a series of rope bridges between trees which got progressively higher until you were 50 foot off the ground. The other thing I should mention is that you are responsible for your own safety! You have two ropes to clip on at each stage which you check and check and check again. At each stage before stepping off I found myself tugging the ropes, just to double check. Marie also did the first section before deciding she didn't want to go any higher, and I did have to give her a little push on the zip wire! It is the weirdest feeling as you know very fine well that you won't fall because you are secured on with not one but two ropes, but still there is that tiny doubt in your mind. Atleast if the instructor had cliped you on you could blame him if you fell, but no, it's all down to you.

Once you have worked your way up to the highest point which is 50ft high you literally jump down to the ground. They have a device which was developed for the military to simulate a parachute jumps. You'll have seen them in movies where they drop from the helicopters on a rope, it was basically that. Once on the ground it was a lot of fun, and I wanted to do it again, it's just the initial step off. You literally step out into nothing. For the first few seconds you are literally falling then the machine kicks in and takes your weight and lowers you to the ground.

All in all it was a fantastic day, and to get to do it as part of my working day was a bonus. Obviously taking Marie along means there is video evidence, and apparently this is the best bit of footage from the day...enjoy!!


Posted by Mark Black at 2:18pm

It's not just Kangaroos that Bounce!!

11th July 2011

I love my job and get to do things I would ordinarily not get the chance to do, in saying that it certainly doesn't mean that I will be any good at any of it!! Last year I went along with Marie Gardiner to a trampoline session with AAA. It was very basic stuff, bouncing on my bum and back up again, easy stuff, you do this kind of thing on a bouncy castle. This year we were invited back to do a DMT session. DMT stands for Double Mini Tramp. So for a start there are two trampolines, this is already far past my skill level! The idea is you take a run up, jump on the first trampoline land on the second do some kind of move and land on the mat, sounds easy enough in theory. My tip for anything that looks eay is that generally it isn't, and I was right in this case. It was as if I had no control over my legs as they flapped around mid air not doing anything close to what I was meant to be doing.

The thing with this is I knew what I was meant to be doing and was sure I could do it, so time after time I tried and tried but still couldn't quite pull it off. Also on the run up I was told to take 12 steps, I think, and this would put me perfectly in the right position to push off on my stronger foot. I couldn't even get this bit right, I developed a nice little shuffle at the end to get me on the right foot. Also having Marie there meant I was watching what she was doing, and although not getting it completely right, there were elements that I thought were better than me which in turn spurs you on to keep going.

I probabaly should also mention that this whole session was being filmed and thought nothing of it really, until it came to their annual award ceremony. Both myself and Marie had attended the awards last year and presented an award and we were pleased to be asked again this year. I had forgotton that the session had been filmed until a couple of the AAA members came up and said they were looking forward to seeing the video, suddenly the penny dropped, myself and Marie would be starring in the awards ceremony. So after they had shown a video of how it should be done, we made our starring role.....  



As you can see we weren't that good and provided much humour to the room.  Also must add my little scream was for comedy effect and I wasn't really scared...honest, no really, you don't believe me do you? neither did everyone in the office when they watched it.

So that was our attempt at trampolining, it was great fun and I would encourage anyone to do it, and I'm sure with a few more sessions I would have got the hang of it.

Posted by Mark Black at 3:41pm

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