| Friday 31st December 2004 19:04MST | → 0 Comments |
Yesterday we spent the day with Denise who is house-sitting a friend’s pad in Alton. It’s a beautiful place with a fantastic garden and surrounded by countryside, thought bf seemed less impressed as the interior design didn’t meet with his approval (maybe a bit too funky). Oh well. It doesn’t bother me as we’ve already agreed that our interior tastes differ - I prefer what I call an ‘post-industrial’ style whereas his is more ‘American contemporary’.
Afterwards we wandered into the centre of Alton, which I found disappointing. Every other shop seemed to be a charity shop. However, there were two butchers which is something of a rarity these days.
I made my donation to the relief efforts for the Asian Tsunami through Unicef as they already have office in the region and can put the money to work more quickly. Also, I never give to religious-based charities which excludes a lot of the others.
Today I got a new pair of glasses. Actually, I did the eye test and paid for it all but the lenses/frames won’t be ready until the week after next. It came to
| Wednesday 29th December 2004 18:19MST | → 0 Comments |
Today we visited Hampton Court Palace. Despite it being winter, bf seemed more impressed with the gardens than the interior. He also became adept at avoiding any of the historical re-enactments that were taking place all over. Photos aren’t allowed inside so we only took exterior shots. Bf took a number of those as I, as seems to be standard over the past few months, developed a headache in the morning. I don’t know why this it but it always happens around 10-11am. I have a feeling it’s aggravated by ‘rushing around’ first thing in the morning, as we often have done when bf wants to go somewhere and we try to avoid the crowds. It also wasn’t helped by a piercingly bright sun that was low in the sky. It went away eventually and there was enough of the day remaining to still have fun. Later we wandered into Kingston upon Thames for shopping and lunch.
I also bought a Filofax today, partly because I need to properly get all my personal details into one place but also because I really liked that cover of this otherwise-cheapest version. Actually, every time I was in WH Smith before Xmas with bf I kept making increasingly less subtle hints to him but he didn’t quite get it and bought me an ordinary diary instead.
Wave toll ‘could exceed 100,000′ claim the Red Cross. That’s a loss that any one person can’t fully comprehend. I hope the countries of the world actually honour their aid pledges. According to that story the US is setting up an ‘aid coalition’. I don’t know why they can’t work through the UN (which is in there already) but I really hope it’s not for ‘political reasons’.
| Sunday 26th December 2004 20:10MST | → 3 Comments |
Xmas day has come and gone. It was fun (and surprisingly sunny, which made up for the lack of snow). I had sixteen presents and bf had twenty-one (though fifteen of those were from me). Amongst other things I got some t-shirts, a couple of books I’d asked for, some choc, three very snazzy cushions (two of which bf had specially made from material he’d chosen), some designer mugs, a couple of DVDs, a cool looking black bedspread and, most bizzarely of all, some Simpsons patterned kitchen towel.
Bf recieved some rather nice gifts from my mother and sister. He’s written out thank-you cards already!
We had dinner late at around 5pm and beforehand went for a long xmas walk around Guildford and surrounding landscape. In total we were out for three hours and I was frozen by the time we got back. In the evening we watched one of my DVD presents, Spiderman 2 (which I found considerably more ponderous than the first, though still enjoyable).
Meanwhile, a lot of my time has been taking up creating a (separate) website for bf for all the pictures he’s been taking over the past month to show off to the folks back home. It will be made known to them after we’ve visited Hampton Court Palace later this week.
| Friday 24th December 2004 17:23MST | → 0 Comments |
My landlady came up trumps and got a plumber around here within two hours! He fixed it and we have hot water again (actually, he set the temperature too low but I have since learned how to adjust that - though it does require the airing cupboard to be mostly dismantled).
We went into Godalming to pick up the turkey. Bf also bought a pheasant which we’re apparently having for dinner tonight (with rice) along with a home-made treacle tart - one of a number of recipes I found in my Good Housekeeping cookbook I wanted him to make.
He’s also latched onto the british word ‘grotty‘ and now uses it to excess. Never a dull (or quiet) moment when he’s around.
| Thursday 23rd December 2004 14:03MST | → 0 Comments |
Ack! Now the water heater has gone wrong and keeps throwing the RCCB (trip switch) so I’m without hot water now and might be throughout xmas. I left a message for my landlady - hopefully she’s just out doing some last-minute shopping and not holidaying in the Bahamas for two weeks.
BTW a lot has been going on over the past week - it’s just that I haven’t had time to write it up. We’ve been doing a lotta visiting.
In the meantime, I came across this pie chart from the Universal Postal Union on international mailing volumes. What intrigues me is how there’s a ’slice’ covering ‘industrialized countries’ but Europe and Asia/Pacific are separate slices. Obviously only North America is industrialised and the rest of us are still banging the rocks together.
| Thursday 16th December 2004 22:38MST | → 1 Comments |
Two pieces of good news today: David “little people don’t need civil rights” Blunkett has resigned (and there’s hope his successor won’t continue in the same vein, i.e. further right than the Tories, making David Davies almost sound like a moderate) and the Law Lords have ruled that the Government’s detention without trial is unlawful. Unfortunately, in the latter case, it doesn’t automatically strike down the pernicious section of the ATCSA, which is why we so desperately need a written constitution to protect us from these abuses.
Yesterday’s dinner party went well. Bf’s two days of cooking paid off and there were compliments from all. I don’t think any of the party will be joining us for xmas dinner, so that rather large turkey ordered from Secretts may be our staple diet for weeks to come.
Today I was working at the other office, ostensibly because we went out for a project lunch to celebrate an accepted customer delivery. It was at ASK. Yummy.
Tomorrow is my last day at work before the xmas break and the following days have already been ‘booked up’ by bf for various adventures. The first, and most daunting, is us visiting my mother on Saturday. On the Sunday we’re going to the farmer’s market in Milford and on Monday bf wants to go sightseeing around Canterbury.
In technical news, I’ve successfully installed Wine (Windows emulator) and hence Internet Explorer 6.0 on my Linux box. The fonts are a little rough but it does actually work and should make website browser compatibility tests easier. Speaking of websites, I’ve come to the conclusion that all the bells and whistles I’ve added (i.e. RSS feed, WAP version, SOAP interface, message board, adding entries via WAP and via email) are not enough; I’ve been thinking about how to do mobile phone image uploading either via MMS or email, which I believe is technically possible with a little command-line PHP and qmail hacking. Or I could just get a life.
| Tuesday 14th December 2004 14:15MST | → 0 Comments |
It’s been some time without any comment and I still can’t be bothered to go into detail so it’s just summaries:
- The Vodafone website has been playing up recently and has now seemingly given up the ghost completely. This means I can’t top-up bf’s mobile, unless I do it the scary old-fashioned way by actually talking to someone in their customer services
- I still haven’t put up all the pictures of our trip to RHS Wisley last weekend (or the weekend before as it now is). It’s on my list
- We’re having Denise, Valentina and Daryl over for a dinner party tomorrow. I don’t know what’s on the menu but bf has started cooking already. Actually, he started the dessert over a week ago! It is something to behold.
- On Saturday we went shopping in London with a bit of sightseeing thrown in. It was packed everywhere around Oxford and Regent Streets and we only stopped off briefly in Harrods to buy some coffee for my mother (a rather unique brand called Swiss Water Process that she likes), wherein we got separated and bf discovered how useful mobiles can be.
- I added a rather nifty extension to my Firefox that displays the weather forecast for the week ahead in little icons on my status bar.
- I saw Van Helsing the other day on DVD. It was a lovable romp.
| Tuesday 7th December 2004 20:40MST | → 1 Comments |
Bf is becoming surprisingly proficient with a mobile phone, considering that he’d never used one before coming here (and, as is typical of such people, associated them with devilry). However, he’s even mastered the principle of text messaging and has been calling me each day, usually while shopping to ask if I want something. Today it was regarding the exotic meats found at Guildford Farmer’s Market, which I’ve never been able to go to as it’s on a weekday (just how stupid is that?).
BTW I gave him my Nokia 3410 as it’s easier to understand and also goes onto keypad lock after 5s so there’s less danger of him accidentally calling out the emergency services every other day.
| Monday 6th December 2004 20:39MST | → 0 Comments |
We went to Wisley Horticultural Gardens yesterday (I’d never been even though it’s just ‘down the road’). Bf really enjoyed it despite most things being either dead or dug up due to winter. However, everything was alive and well in the glasshouses and the landscape itself is very well laid out and fun to walk around - very hilly in places so you could get good views around. I took 230 pictures which is why it may be a while before I put them online. Bf thought it was better than Kew, though that might have been because the weather was arctic when we visited Kew last year.
Practically all my xmas shopping is done, mostly because I got bf to do it while I was at work. One more weekend in London should do it, when bf also wants to do a bit more sightseeing. Amongst other things I want to get a certain type of coffee from Harrods for my mother that she likes.
I got my second essay back from the OU and received a ‘well achieved’ in all four marking criteria, which is the strange way they mark ‘Openings’ courses but is essentially the best that can be achieved. However, I’m even further behind now (about three weeks) and they’ve written to me saying it’s time to start my final assignment. I may or may not do so. My interest has waned again but I’ve got until 14th January. Who knows what might happen (i.e. will I end up writing it at the last minute in about 2 hours, like last time). I’d prefer not to disappoint my tutor, who I’ve barely spoken to in the past few weeks.
The UN news site, UN Wire, is normally excellent in its independent coverage but I wish it would give it a rest over the alleged ‘Oil for Food’ corruption and wait for the report. Today’s issue goes on about nothing but, when criticism is coming only for carpet-biting neo-cons in the Bush administration who vicerally hate the UN. As the Financial Times put it:
The witch-hunt against Kofi Annan and the United Nations over the Iraq oil-for-food scandal is, quite simply, a scandal all on its own. The leaders of this lynch mob in the US Congress and the rightwing commentariat are not gunning for Mr Annan so much as aiming to destroy the UN as an institution.
… the oil-for-food policy was devised and run by the member states of the UN Security Council, not by the UN Secretariat. All of the roughly 36,000 contracts were approved by a Security Council committee dominated by the US and the UK.
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| Thursday 2nd December 2004 17:48MST | → 0 Comments |
I would like to dedicate this petit-entry to my boss, Bharat, who has only recently stumbled across my site and will undoubtedly make use of it to embarass me in the presence of my peers at various random and inconvenient moments in my career (assuming I still have one).