Sunday, January 30, 2005

Not yet mastered the elements

Hmmm. Our dreams of self-sufficiency may have been put back a step by a realisation that we are useless.

We've just been in the garden trying to light a fire so we can burn a load of garden rubbish (twigs, branches etc) and we completely failed. Even a whole copy of the Saturday Guardian didn't help. WE CAN'T EVEN LIGHT A FIRE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!

Conclusion: Even a Cub Scout is better than the two of us put together.

One year later

We returned from our travels a year ago (27th January 2004). In that year we've moved to Cambridge, got jobs, got engaged, got married and bought a house. Phew! Finally, on Friday (28th January 2005) the sale of our flat in Ealing completed and we're no longer heavily in debt with two mortgages - hurrah! We couldn't sell it any earlier that October else we'd have had to pay a hefty penalty on our mortgage, but as soon as our tenants moved out in September we put it on the market. Suddenly all the papers were talking-up a housing-market crash. Grrr! We'd bought a house in Cambridge in a sellers' market and were now selling our flat in a buyers' market.

Anyway, it's all done now and we're finally feeling a bit more secure. Anne's not drunk alcohol since New Year, and we'd had a bottle of Champagne chilling for when the flat sold, so Anne chose Friday night to end her abstinence.

It was a night of celebration. After a tasty chicken-and-roasted-veggies dinner, we settled down to watch 28 Days Later on DVD. This was apt, I thought, since it had been 28 days since alcohol had passed Anne's lips. I pointed out that it would have been more appropriate if we'd watched 28 Days, the movie with Sandra Bullock as an alcoholic.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

...and then seven come along at once.

Hey man - get off my back. Yes, I've not been paying much attention to this site lately, but then it was never menat to be a full blown blog - it was set up as a blog to make it easier to update the site. But then we moved house and I put photos up and then people expected a regular update. So I'll play along OK?

Well, for the moment I can at least post some photos of what we've been up to since the end of November. First, we've (almost) finished upacking all our boxes into our new house. He're a photo of Anne doing just that. With those ears she may look like a mouse. THis is deceptive, since she's actually a cheeky monkey.

Anne had a birthday at the end of November. She's not quite 30 yet, but she's not that far off. She had her lab mates over to celebrate her birthday and her house-move. We ate, drank and played Cranium.

Anne's lab mates gave her voucers for a bird table as a house-warming present. We were excited, since we've enjoyed bird-watching in the garden. We rushed off to the garden centre and chose this one:

We kept the price tag, since we were very amused by the use of an apostrophe on it. I can't imagine how someone got it this wrong:

At the begining of December we again went to the You're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat movie quiz in Highgate, and again came third. We can't seem to break that third place barrier. Still, we got Troy on DVD and a dress-up cardboard Brad Pitt model. I quite enjoyed the movie, though was pleased I'd not paid money for it. The acting in it was pretty poor. Anne enjoyed the dress-up Brad Pitt thing. She took it to work and took this photo. It looks like they didn't dress it up too much:

Then in mid-December I turned 30. It's all go isn't it? We were both quite stressed at this pint about snag with the sale of our flat in Ealing, but Anne did her best to relax me by telling me at thirty I had "a portfolio of properties". Yes, that's true, but I was keen to get rid of one of them. It's all about spin. Anne made me a birthday cake, which was very nice indeed. Here's a photo of the cake alongside my grinning mug.

A week before Christmas, we went to Welwyn Garden City to see a bunch of my old school friends (we're friends, and we're "old school"). We try to all meet up around Christmas, and part of the evening involves a quiz. This year, Anne and I wrote the quiz. I think some of the rounds were a little too hard, but otherwise it was OK. We also had a £3 Charity Shop Secret Santa. This was a secret santa where the gifts had to come from a charity shop and cost around £3. I received a Kylie notebook, on which I write shopping lists and take to Sainsburys, and Anne received a marvelous clock with a train made out of clock parts. I really can't convey how natty this clock is. It takes pride of place in our downstairs loo. I realise now I should have taken a photo of it for this site, but I didn't, so for the moment you'll have to make do with the following photo.

Here are Dom, Matt and Alex - the winners of the quiz.

I've added a few external links on the left (a couple of other people I know have started blogs) and I've fiddled with the site to make it run better on Firefox. If anyone cares, I heartily recommend Firefox as an alternative to Internet Explorer. It's just fabbo.

Right. That's it for now - I'll try to keep up to date a bit more in future, though I'm sure I'll just end up with short bursts of activity followed by nil for a few weeks.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Chickens: perhaps. Pigs: I think not.

Kerry got Anne a book on self-sufficiency for Christmas, so Anne's now dead keen on getting the garden set up for growing veggies and being all Felicity Kendall.

I'm up for this too, though am trying to keep Anne's wellies on the ground.

Our only new year's resolution is to recycle plastic (our council don't collect this so we have to make the effort). It's meant we hardly fill the bin up (though often fill up our big box for plastic bottles) so I'd recommend you all follow suit. I'd not realised quite how many plastic bottles we get through! I've already got my mum on board, and I'm sure she's cursing me as she fights past all the empty plastic bottles in her garage.


Hello again. I'm here to give you an update on Anne's and my Christmas. It was rubbish (though not as bad as many people's on the other side of the world, so I'll try to keep the whinging to a minimum).

I started to get a bit of a cold on Christmas Eve, but I wasn't that bad. Off Anne and I popped up to Lincolnshire to visit Anne's mum. Through the day I gradually got more sniffy.

On Christmas Day I was in a state. I ended up going back to bed (and I never go to bed when I'm ill). I felt anti-social, so I made the effort to get up for food, but that was about it.

The next day, after we'd distributed boxes to the staff and told them to have the day off, I felt worse and worse. I spent most of the day in bed, getting up briefly to watch half an episode of Columbo in the afternoon. I returned to bed and hallucinated about Columbo for the rest of the afternoon. My fever broke that night and I felt much better, though still crappy.

So, yes, a bad couple of days, but the worst of it was over for me. However, everyone else then started getting ill. I'd missed the point and rather than emulate the Virgin Mary over the festive season I'd gone and done my Typhoid Mary impression. Silly me. Anne's mum and step-dad cancelled their New Year plans due to illness, Anne spent a day or two in bed, Anne's sister Kerry's boyfriend was ill while visiting his family in Spain, and I later found out her other sister, Rebecca, was also ill. All because I didn't want to stay in bed and be anti-social. Oops! Sorry everyone.

Anne and I were still ill at New Year. it was a very tough bug, and it was a good few weeks before we were getting back to normal (our normal tired selves). I guess hitting 30 took it out of me a bit.