Month: August 2006

Three days off

Stumbling for my slumber, I plod downstairs, idly stuff a chunk of fudge into my mouth whilst reading the note left for me.

Darling,

Please hang up the washing, and put the box of photos back in the loft.

Please. Ta

Luv ya.

L xx

Ahh yes, it’s the high life for me. Day one of three days off work, the sun is shining and I might go for a wander round the shops this afternoon. If I can be bothered.

In the meantime I’m trying to sort out a solicitor to deal with our re-mortgaging as the one we used previously is refusing to either return my calls or answer his damn phone.

So I’ve phoned someone else, they’ll only charge us £434… ONLY! Blimey. Back to Yellow Pages.

[zip forward a couple of hours and several phone calls later]

I’ve figured out why solicitors charge you so much. As they seem to have an aversion to either answering phones, employing someone to answer phones, or returning your calls, they have to fleece those customers who do manage to speak to them for all that they are worth.

And I appear to have finished the fudge, it’s just as well I’m going for a run tonight.

Tomorrow we are away for a couple of days. It’ll be quiet here. Amuse yourselves, and play nice.

12 + 12 = 24

Thank fuck I’m on holiday for the rest of the week. Two 12 hour days and I’m done in.

So it was great to come home tonight and find a parcel of goodies waiting for me, specifically some yummy fudge (VERY yummy) and some salt water taffy!

Now, I’ll happily admit that my only experience with salt water taffy was that episode in Friends, the one where… something ‘zany’ happened no doubt. So it was with some trepidation that Louise and I unwrapped the little chunks, popped them in our mouths and slowly started to chew.

And whaddya know, they’re delicious! Slightly sour/salty sweet chewy things, very hard to describe but very more-ish. If it wasn’t so late I’d probably just work my way through the lot!

So, many many thanks to the lovely, and very cute, Calista. A package of tablet is almost complete but I really want to wait until Sunday to get some from the farmer’s market as it’s the BEST tablet I’ve ever EVER had, ohh my mouth is watering already.

Random thoughts

How big are your feet? Are they bigger now than they were a couple of years ago? Mine seem to be having just bought a pair of size 11 trainers at the weekend. I’m normally a size 10. Odd.

Passion fruit, nice but ultimately kind of annoying. Tasty, but the seeds get in the way.

Glares. I received a few over the weekend, all from parents. Is it wrong for me to ask their children to pick up something they’ve just knocked onto the floor? Especially when it no case was it accidental? Apparently so, but not wrong enough that any of them said anything, they just stood and glared at me for having the effrontery to point out that their child was misbehaving. Glares backed by guilt?

Do I possess leadership skills or am I just bossy? The next jogging session on Sunday has been cancelled but we all decided we’d turn up anyway. I was nominated to ‘lead’ the session. Flattered, secretly pleased, but still not sure how it came about.

What the BEEEP!

Up and out this morning, a little stiff after my run last night, but feeling good. A few random purchases later – all sale items, including a long sleeved running top for £15 (Ron Hill no less), and a new pair of trainers (to replace the pair I bought some six years ago) – we returned home.

I’d promised to throw out my old trainers, despite them still being very comfortable.. you know how it is… and in general have a tidy up. So, armed with a bin bag in hand I ventured upstairs, opened the spare room cupboard and surveyed the devastation. Don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure most homes have an area like this, a black hole into which things are put “out of the way” only to disappear and resurface only once you’ve presumed that you’ve thrown them out.

Today I found the compass I’d been looking for last month, a USB extension cable I was looking for back in January and a pair of Sennheiser headphones that I’d completely forgotten I’d purchased. Almost like getting free gifts!

As is my wont I had some music on in the background, specifically a CD I had only purchased this morning, Queen – Live Killers. I have this on vinyl somewhere in the loft (another space that is used to “just put things” which I fear may need tackled before the year is out) but not on CD. As it was on sale for £6.99 instead of the usual £15.99, well it’d have been rude NOT to buy it… I mean I’ve got all their other albums on CD, so this one completes the collection. Well almost, surprisingly I don’t have the Flash Gordon soundtrack yet.

Anyway, I thought I may as well rip it onto the PC whilst I tidied up and was happily humming, ok singing along when BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Eh? What was that?? Did my computer just beep at me? Not heard that before… maybe it was the … nah… can’t have been the CD. Can it?

Skipping back to the start of the current track I pause, listening intently when BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Motherfuckers, they’ve beeped out Freddie Mercury!!

Apparently the record label, in their infinite wisdom, have beeped out the line “This is dedicated to a real mother fucker of a gentleman“. Bloody censorship that is… and it’s not like it’s subtle or anything… here have a listen.

See what I mean? Half a mind to take it back to the shop… once it’s finished ripping onto my PC of course…

GORDON MUST DIE!

Those words, writ large on an A4 notepad, have been shown to me three times this afternoon.

Now, I realise that we are reaching that point in the project where tempers get a little ‘stretched’ and that, at such times, we tend to resort to some fairly black humour, but surely that is going a little too far? Don’t you think?

It’s almost as if, whilst he was in the midst of de-bugging a particularly onerous problem (office tip: you can judge the difficulty of the bug by the amount and volume of swearing), someone, who will remain nameless, somehow managed to accidentally unplug his computer.

Ahem.

Black Ink Only

Ohh the wonder, the unbridled joy that is filling in a mortgage application.

For starters I’m having to fill in a paper form, PAPER AND PEN, and with it being a joint mortgage I’m having to fill in everything twice. Sort of…

You see the real bug bear with these things, is the lack of distinct instruction. Some parts of the form, personal details, employment details and whatnot, are split into two columns, one for me and one for Louise. Yet the ‘address’ section requires me to write out our address twice, as does the contact details, age of property, rooms etc etc. In the past, on other forms of a financial nature, I’ve put “see spouse” only to have the form returned as incomplete.

And what of the myriad of questions about being self-employed, dependants and so on. The initial instruction says EVERY question should be answered, but there is no indication of optional questions. So I tick “NO” when asked about dependants but the question after it which asks “Are any dependants over 18” doesn’t have any indication that we don’t need to answer it depending on our answer to the previous question (if you know that I mean). Now it’s obvious to you me, we have no dependants so by definition we can’t have any that are over 18, but I’ve dealt with the anally-retentive, detail obsessed morons who process this kind of paperwork before and I’m not taking any risks.

So, resigned to my fate, I start filling in the form, completing the easy stuff before delving into our paperwork to retrieve current mortgage details, account numbers and so on. So far so good. I turn the page and am confronted with one column into which I need to put details of the property we are wanting to get the mortgage for… except we are re-mortgaging and.. well obviously all the details are the same as the previous page (on which, remember, they are listed twice) but I write them out a third time anyway.

And so it continues, details of existing financial commitments, details of jobs, previous jobs, previous abodes, dog’s name, whether we have a goldfish named “goldie” and so on and on and on and on… I know that a lot of the information is needed and that checks have to be made and yadda yadda yadda… but OHH MY GOD they could make the forms a little easier to complete.

Now, what the hell is my national insurance number…

Too much in my head

Blimey, ever get one of those weeks when, all of a sudden, EVERYTHING starts to happen? Now so of the following I knew was coming up, but the majority of it has kinda snuck up on me.

At work we are counting to down to a minor release, hoping to get everything done for the end of the week. Nothing too stressful in that but it does mean a lot of last minute chasing of bits and bobs.

We are currently re-mortgaging as the fixed rate period for our current mortgage runs out after the next payment. We’ve got a deal we want, and the paperwork has just popped through the door. Need to get on that ASAP or we’ll end up paying another month of our old mortgage and that’ll cost us £85!

Having spotted some cheap flights to Spain we need to get them booked ASAP before the rates go up. However we need to wait until we get the mortgage stuff sorted out, if we have to pay that additional £85 we won’t be able to book the flights (they are only £70 return at the moment!).

And we are away for a few days from Thursday next week, which we are both looking forward to, but of course that shrinks the timescale and it wouldn’t surprise me if the lawyer dealing with our re-mortgaging will ‘urgently’ need something signed whilst we are away. Sod and his flippin’ laws…

Ohh yes, and we are getting quotes for a new front door (the old one is needing replaced) which we’ll need to get done before the winter, I’ve got two websites to design, with a third on the horizon, and we need to spend a day in the garden at some point as the weeds are starting to creep back! I need to find a venue for the next Scottish blogmeet, I’m helping a mate with some DIY in a couple of weeks, we need to visit the caravan to pick up some DVDs and our spare Sky box, I need to buy a long sleeved top for running, and my Mum’s birthday is coming up…

OK OK, so everyone is always busy, but why does it always come in spurts like this?

In other news: Pringles “Gourmet (ha ha) Flame-Grilled Steak and Caramelised Onion Flavour” crisps are rubbish.

BBC News

I WAS going to write about the article on Jacqueline Gold and discuss whether her Ann Summers shops were adding to the objectification of women, or whether they were helping women become more confident, empowered and… something else that fits the feminist checklist.

I WAS going to write about whether being normal was a good thing, or not and at what point ‘being normal’ becomes extraordinary.

I WAS going to tackle, as I said I would, the situation in the Middle East, hopefully offering some suggestions as to what (if I had the power) I would do to help rectify things but, in balance, I’m not sure there is much anyone can do. The simple fact, in that situation, is that there are two diametrically opposed groups, both of which are armed. The only solution is to disarm both. And that’s never going happen.

Instead I’m going to talk about one website that I visit every single day, usually more than once, and which has slowly been evolving.

In particular I want to mention the new ‘Show and Hide’ sections that have been added recently and, specifically the section that will supply “Local news, weather and sport”. It’s a great idea. I really like it but there is a tiny problem.

It loads AFTER the rest of the page!!

Previously when visiting the BBC News website, I only had to pause for a second to let things load and I could start clicking onto stories that caught my eye. Now?

Now I have to pause for a second then, just as I go to click on an interesting article in the top half of the screen… IT MOVES! The “Local news, weather and sport” section starts to load, causing the entire screen to shuffle to accomodate it.

This is REALLY beginning to piss me off, so much so that I even considered switching to another news source, something like FOX News maybe?

So, rather than switch to an entertainment channel like FOX, I decided to just delete the BBC News cookie from my machine so it would forget the local information I’d supplied. Now I can get the news I want, when I want, and where (on the screen) I think it’s gonna be!

Puppies and Mountains

What a wonderful weekend.

Nothing much on Saturday, we pottered about the house for most of the day before heading down to visit our new god-puppies. I’ve not seen them for a week or so but they are growing up fast. They were very excited — I’ve got the scratch marks to prove it — and we had a ball playing with them. The ulterior motive was, of course, to get them knackered out so that they might sleep through the night.

And then, yesterday, we spent the day on a cabin cruiser on Loch Lomond. Photos will follow but I always forget just how stunning the scenery is as you get further up the loch. We stopped off at Tarbet for dinner, at the Ben Lomond restaurant which was excellent, before heading back down to Cameron House. I even got a wee shot, burling the boat about much to the delight of some nearby jetskiers (they like the waves ya see).

Top weekend. How was yours?