tinyjo: (music/immersion)
Yay! I'm knackered but I have reduced the level of house related chaos again! I have:

* finished off the curtains in the living room (extra hooks, securing ends)
* painted the final windowsills (except for final coat)
* fixed shelf unit in cupboard below sink in bathroom
* all filing
* tidied up living room (aggressively. There is NO crap in here now! Yay!)
* swept & hoovered living room
* fixed full length mirror to dressing room door (instead of on stand in dressing room - took up too much space)
* swept bathroom and 2/3 kitchen

Still to do is basically the kitchen work surfaces and the upstairs rooms but this is definite progress.

I thought it was going to be spring on Thursday and Friday but now it's become all wintry again. Also, noticed when I was in Oxfam on Saturday that they're doing mail order plants now! Seems like an odd business to get into at first sight but I haven't looked it over yet. Site is at http://www.oxfam.org.uk/plants/
tinyjo: (wine)
Well, I didn't get all of my list done (unsurprisingly) but I did get a hell of a lot done and I feel like for the first time in a while the house is significantly less chaotic than it was which makes me feel *soooo* much better! There's still a tonne to do to get it into the state that I'd like but I feel less like it's going to immediately drive me nuts now I've made a dent.
tinyjo: (relaxing)
Well, because know you're all gagging to know (!), I thought I'd better post to say that the window installation actually went sucessfully. The only issues were with openning handles in the wrong places which they spotted before me and offered to fix free of charge - so far so good. Of course now I have no curtains in the living room but I'll get to that tomorrow along with starting the windowsill painting.

I have such a huge backlog of photos waiting to go online, I really ought to get on with posting them. Of course, they're at work so I can say that without actually posting any now. Charlie looks very cute climbing the Christmas tree though :)

I suspect that I'm going to have a bad week next week - from the Friday afternoon phonecalls Damian was getting I think there's going to be a bit of crisis development going on next week. Sigh. Would people be up for pubmeet at a slightly later time - say 5:45/6ish? I should be able to escape by then. Also, note to self, if you start off on port you're bound to get very drunk, foolish girl! Also, take red wine next time.
tinyjo: (who's a rock star?)
Well, looking good so far. The outside looks excellent, the insides are coming along well. My garden is full of wood! I've taken some to use in the fire before they take the rest of it away for me (tomorrow I think). No longer to huge drafts blow in and the remnants of the outside blinds (!) and the wasps nest inside the sash box have been removed. Conservatory roof failed to fall in despite having someone walking around (on a board) on top (I was in two minds about that - I wouldn't have minded a new conservatory!). Now to try for a bit more work...
tinyjo: (vibro-cat)
Well, the window fitters are here. It's kind of scary - they're saying rude things about the surveyor - but they haven't come to me with any problems yet...
tinyjo: (relaxing)
As promised, new photos uploaded to flickr: Charlie and the fireplace
tinyjo: (candle trail)
Yes, the fireplace fitter actually came and actually fitted the fireplace! It looks fantastic. It's bigger than I remember and is now definitely the focus of the room but it looks amazing. Photos to follow when I connect my phone to my PC again. I can't have a fire in it for 2 weeks while the concrete goes off but that means that by Christmas it'll be good to go. woo!

Now if I could just get the conservatory finished, everything would be hunky-dorey. Yesterdays rain showed that the roof is still leaking in places, which is a huge pain. I got the chest of drawers put together though, which looks good so now a lot of the mess has been put away and it look a bit more like a dining room and less like a utility room with a big table. I can't wait until we get the shed done so that some of the stuff can go there. The things that I have planned for the house seem to all be happening/need to happen now which is a little overwhelming, but we're getting there. Does anyone know where I could buy a car-port or open-sided shed? B&Q and Homebase don't seem to have them.

I did have a really manic weekend plan but ended up cutting it right back, partly due to feeling ill :( I can't really figure out what got me this time unless I'm allergic to venison, which would be a real pain. I suppose it was fairly rare - I like my steaks to be French medium - but that shouldn't be a problem, right? I'm still hoping to make it to Los Diablos tonight though.
tinyjo: (iPod)
I've gone into a bit of an online withdrawal phase at the moment. I'm still reading my friends page but only really once a day and I have hardly touched the support board this week. It's one of my odder moods - I recognise it and I know it will pass but I don't really know what triggers its start or end.

In my weightwatchers experiment, btw, the week that I stuck to it, I took off weight but then I didn't stick to it the week after and put some of it back on. I really need to find a better way to respond to feeling stressed than eating and drinking more. I guess it's just that it's such a pleasant distraction. I'm doing well so far this week, which is good as I have a Christmas meal with the Oxfam crew on Friday and I want to save up for it.

In related news*, the electrician finally managed to come over and have a look at my fireplace hole yesterday. A little bit of investigation on his part revealed that the heavy duty socket wire wasn't connected to anything! Yes, really! So we just cut that one off. The earth wire is connected to the bathroom as a safty device apparently but was easy for him to splice an extra length into so that it could sit safely under the hearth. So now all I have to do is pin Blazes down for a date to finish the installation. There are pictures but I haven't uploaded them yet - soon, I promise. Today is the day the chimney sweep comes (I called to confirm - I'm getting paranoid!) so I'm working from home, writing this while I wait for my unit tests to run.

I lost my Ikea virginity at the weekend with [livejournal.com profile] cleanskies - it was ace! We took [livejournal.com profile] jintys car to the London Brent Park Ikea which is vast! The only blemish was that as they still had the builders in half the loading area was full of girders leading to enormous amounts of confusion and lack of signage but we made it and after our worrying at the checkouts it turned out we could have got loads more furniture in if needed. My favourite purchase is the one I haven't put together yet - the big chest of drawers for the conservatory. Again, photos to follow.

* It's related because it was the cause of last weeks stress.
tinyjo: (laden coal creature)
It's not my day. It really isn't. The fireplace men got 1/3 of the way through opening up my chimney when they found that someone had run electrical wiring under the plaster about half a foot from the floor horizontally across the chimney opening and plastered it over. Cue all work halting.

We hunted for the wire but it disappears into the wall between the livingroom and bathroom and never comes out again so we've no idea what it's for. In the end, it's decided that they'll finish opening up the hole (being careful of the wire) and tomorrow an electrician will come for a look, after which there will be a conference to decide what to do now. So I have a hole.

I did a bit more work and then realised that if I wanted any of Damians cake (10 years!) I'd better head for the office. Out I head in my bike and poncho (for rain is just beginning). By the time I'm at the Donnington Bridge road it is absolutely chucking it down with hail. I actually have to pull up so I can protect my face from the stinging.

Finally I got here and there was cake and there'll be drink and dinner later but still. Not my day.
tinyjo: (Default)
In boring domesticity, by the way, after last weeks boiler related trauma, everything is looking much better. There must have been some huge misunderstanding or mishearing on the Monday evening because having got the invoice for the boiler work, they've only charged us about 200 for the extra work on the gas supply which is fine so crisis over on that front.

We've also agreed for Zenith to come in and do our windows for us (Fiona, who was it who did yours? I can't find the posts now), which I'm quite excited about. We didn't think we'd be able to afford this for a while even though it really needs doing but as I'll be getting a legacy from Granddad, we can manage it now, which is really cool.


The fireplace is being installed next week (woooo!) and then the chimney sweep is coming nearly a week later (earliest I could get him) after which we'll be able to have real open fires! I'm really excited about it. All in all, come February, you won't recognise the place. Perhaps we'll have a second house warming or something.

Finally, in the faith in human nature section, I managed to leave my purse in the pub on Friday (yes, I know, I'm really ditzy at the moment - not sure why) and not only did I get it back but all the cash was in it too. I'm monitoring the cards for fraud but it looks like the good guys might have come up trumps for me!
tinyjo: (Default)
Friday morning: Fed up with waiting for quote from other plumber to arrive, we have arranged for a new plumber to come round and do a quote. He turns up when he said he would - all good so far...

Saturday morning: Boiler dies. No hot water and no central heating. Alex and I discuss and conclude that as it's been fairly mild so far and we're planning to have the damn thing replaced soon anyway, we can manage without paying emergency plumbers to come out and fix it.

Sunday: Parents arrive. Lunch. Recipe waaaay over estimates the amount of rabbit required.

Sunday evening: We go to Fall gig (which was very good, by the way). Mum, at home, calls me to say that the power to all the sockets in the house has gone and she can't get it to go back.

Sunday late: We return from gig and fiddle with electricity. Discover how to get the power back in (the circuit breaker switch needs to be put to off from trip and then to on) but it keeps going off again as we plug random things in. After some fruitless speculation, we try switching off the central heating circuit. Everything downstairs except the fridge is switched off at this point but as the power is on we decide that nothing else needs to be working tonight and leave it and go to bed.

Monday: Wake up - alarm clock works so sockets have stayed on all night. Yay for fridge not being off. Shower works and boiling kettle upstairs seems OK too. Look in porch, water on floor. Rain stops before I have to cycle to work. Look in conservatory while getting bikes - water in middle of the room on table. Not good. Leave parents to experiment with electricity and let me know if it goes off again (if it doesn't I'll assume it's related to boiler problem and was solved by switching off central heating ring). Go to work and try to contact plumber to get boiler replacement quote. Leave answer-phone message.
tinyjo: (cat don't care)
The plans for the fireplace have motivated me to get tidying around the home and I think I might finally have the living-room arranged in a long term configuration. Sounds sad, I know, but say yay!

Next order of business is to get the damn server fixed upstairs. We think it needs a new processor but we don't know what kind (because I have no idea what the motherboard is). Working from home on the laptop is all very well (and in fact, pretty cool because of the dual screen setup) but I can't use the keyboard because it's PS2 and my laptop has no PS2 connector. I tried a PS2 -> USB thingie but that didn't work either. Googleing suggests that this just happens and don't buy the damn keyboard if you don't have a PS2 connector. Which we do on the server.

I have given up on the previous plumber ever managing to actually send me the damn quote so have arranged for 2 others to give quotes (or at least, one is coming on Friday and one said "We'll call you to arrange a quote"). I *will* have my dishwasher! I am determined. Also, I've found a music shop I can take my cello to now I have a car to get it fixed, which would be really nice.

Sadly, my new radio, listed as "digital" on Amazon, turns out to be digital in the sense of having a digital display, which is why it was so cheap. Sigh. I was quite looking forward to having access to Radio 7 in the kitchen. Never mind.

Tonight:
* Tidy tech room
* Hoover bedroom
* Washing up?
* Start review for Zetti
* Plan Sunday menu
* Check in on schools
* Bath
tinyjo: (Default)
Well! Last night, the traffic out of work was utterly appalling and so I didn't get home til 10 to 8. I don't know what the problem is with the traffic at the minute - it's been terrible all week. I hope that now the train strikes are off next week it won't be so bad. Anyway, I finally got home and Alex, Ian and Ruth came round. We role-played for a while (another fight with kobolds and a great big weasel - I shot 2 but the weasel had attached itself to Ruth in the meantime :( - and then attacked by rats) and then my parents arrived for their visit. Tea and then bed and hugs :)

Then today, we lounged around in the morning and then made the trip to B&Q where I bought paint to cover the institutional yellow on my walls with much more tasteful lilac. Then, in the way of these things, Mum and I got rather enthused about the whole thing and decided to get started with the painting. We've done the whole first coat and about 2/3 of the second and it looks really nice which is a relief. It actually goes much better with the carpet than the yellow did and I'm really pleased with it but now I'm zonked :)

Off to the Ashmolean tomorrow and then the Petit Blanc (Raymond Blanc's Oxford brassiere) for birthday dinner :)
tinyjo: (Default)
Really, now that I've got the [livejournal.com profile] pocketlj client I should write these bit by bit, closer to the time. I still baulk at writing long stretches of graffiti though - I may too many "typos" (I suddenly wonder where that comes from. What would be the equivalent for graffiti?) and it just gets a little awkward after a while. I guess I'm also usually doing it in a situation where I have nowhere to rest my arms/wrists - writing on a notepad when you've only got your other hand to support it becomes tiring after a while too. Anyway... my weekend )
tinyjo: (Default)
Good thing: Have finally (fingers crossed and touch wood) shaken off the squits.
Bad thing: Whole week of being ill/insurance woman/etc has meant that I haven't got any revision done at all

While obviously that's not a huge problem because I haven't booked my exams yet, it's not good because I really need to get on with it and finish the MCSE.

Good thing: Sky have sent me my viewing card for my forthcoming satellite dish
Bad thing: They haven't sent me my contract yet.

It's always possible that the phone conversation etc was sufficient but I'm sure I remember the guy saying that I'd have to send a photocopy of my tenancy agreement with the contract so that they could be sure that I wasn't the previous tenant trying to sneak in under a new name. Hmmm.

Update They have now sent me my contract. Phew. Sorted.
tinyjo: (Default)
I have learned how to run a really hot bath in my house. This is a very good thing. It doesn't count as a proper bath unless it steams slightly in my book.

Also, thinks.

Does anyone know any good stuff on modes of government because I'm starting to become cynical about democracy as an idea - watching Blunkett fight with the judiciary and with the Lords over the Terrorism bill has definitely shaken my faith in the whole idea. This is not to say that I think that the House of Lords should remain hereditary - far from - but there must be some other way to choose people to govern than popularity contests and short termist mob rule. What we need are people who are experts in their fields (economists, philosophers, medical ethicists, diplomats, lawyers/judges) not people who want to go into politics - it does seem these days to be a bit of a case of those who can do and those who can't become politicians. I am also suspicious of the (particularly American) almost religious attitude that the West is taking to democracy - we WILL make all other countries democratic or know the reason why!

Basically I feel like democracy is running out of steam or possibly collapsing under it's own weight. The politicians have become so good at telling us what we want to hear that no-one believes what they say any more. Maybe there will have to be a new way of doing things soon - after all, what will they do when less than 50% of people vote?
tinyjo: (Default)

So, it occurs to me, reading back the entries here from the last week or so that I have spent far too much time bitching mostly about work and so I think it's time for a blessing count.

  • My health: While this is not as good as it could be (i.e. I get colds all the time) it's not like I have to go to hospital ever or anything like that so I think that counts as a plus
  • General: I live in a country where I have freedom of choice about my religion and orientation and where no-one will actually try to kill me on behalf of the state for taking drugs or committing adultery. I have plenty to eat and if I couldn't provide that for myself there are safety nets there. I don't have any problems keeping warm or dry. I may bitch about Britain sometimes, but it's not bad compared to some of the alternatives.
  • My house: It has made a huge difference to my quality of life living in a house I really like in a city I love. I was so lucky to find this place - it ended up being a last minute thing because the place that I was going to have (which wasn't nearly as good) wasn't going to be ready in time and this place was pretty much the only one I could find within both my price range and the area of the city I wanted (i.e. not too far out) so I was pretty much going to have to take it whatever happened and then it turned out to be lovely. Hoorah.
  • My job: I know I bitch about it all the time but actually my job is not bad. There may be a couple of annoying people here and it may be a bit of a commute but the work itself is fairly interesting, I get to work fairly autonomously, I have quite a nice boss and I get paid frankly far more than what I'm worth which has to be good. Also, they are still paying for me to beef up my CV with useless qualifications. Plus, it would appear that GE have unofficially given in about the tea in that our security passes will once again let us into the nice coffee bit but no-one has announced this. Bless
  • My friends: Are fantastic. They're good fun, have great ideas, organize me to go out and do things and are generally all round fab.
  • My family: Are also fantastic. I'm very close indeed to my immediate family (as those of you who've been reading this for a while may remember). They're always there for me to whine about whatever's bugging me or share whatever I'm happy about. They're a great laugh and we enjoy lots of the same things (my Mum is one of the best shopping partners in the whole world :) ). Yay for them
  • My boyfriend: Ahhhh, he's so lovely. Plus he puts up with me being endlessly soppy and adoring with remarkable good grace, suppressing his natural cynicism for the cause. He lets me bully him into making me tea pretty much whenever I want (with the exception of being the first one out of bed in order to perform said task) and lets me worm my little head under his arm pretty much whenever I want a hug (i.e. pretty much all the time :) ). He puts up with me when I'm depressed and when I'm happy - both of which can be a strain. And he loves me loads*. And he's fantastic in bed.

So, there you are. It's great to be me.

* I am as certain of this as it is possible to be about the feelings of a person who is not myself.

tinyjo: (Default)
Memes are very strange things but kinda fun. I wonder if any psychologists have written papers on them yet. This one reminds me of the "Viral marketing doesn't work. Tell your friends" t-shirt although it's only really the same in that its artificial. Still, I'll have to check out some of the tests which appear in the stats.

The play last night was a bit mixed I have to say. And really I think the crux of the problem was that play was the wrong word for it. There was very dramatic music - a mix of Indonesian traditional and jazz I think - and the actual show was performed by shadow puppets! They raised a big screen up and shone light through it and did puppets! It was actually pretty cool and the puppetry was incredibly skilled. They started off with shadow backgrounds and then as the setting moved towards now moved to more computer generated slides and the whole thing was very slick. Unfortunately it was rather marred by the plot. They took the traditional tale of Rama and Sita and basically did a "modernization is bad and we should all go back to subsistence farming" message version of it. It was the simplisticness which annoyed me most - there was no attempt made to suggest any other point of view except for a coda in which the 2 main characters cast their votes and it wasn't clear what they were trying to do with that at all. If I go to see something billed as a play I expect a little more subtlety and intelligence than that. Maybe they should have billed it as a dance/ballet or "shadow puppet spectacle" or something then people wouldn't expect so much from it.

Good news for those of you who are fed up with me posting "I'm tired" entries in that the ginseng seems to be kicking in already! I woke up feeling much more rested this morning although I did have more odd dreams. It was bloody freezing in my room when I woke up - I'm going to have to set the heating on earlier again I think. That's one of the problems with only having me living in the house - I don't generate that much heat on my own. Oh well, I'll just have to have Alex over lots :)

The other piece of rousingly excellent news is that I can have my deposit back on the flat in London (you know, the one that I moved out of 2 months ago!) - they rang me up this morning to get my bank details and even now (or at least by lunchtime) a BACS payment should be winging my way. At last! Finally I don't have to worry about paying my credit card bill.
tinyjo: (Default)
Ah, what a lovely weekend. Nice quiet Friday evening pottering round the house tidying things up, followed by hugs from Alex. Lovely lay in on Saturday morning listening to Saturday morning Radio 4 through a haze of semi consciousness. Then up and dressed in time for my parents to come round at lunchtime for their stay.

Its a funny thing, but everyone I know seems to think that my relationship with my parents is slightly freakish (except the rest of my family). Basically I had a very happy childhood and because I was fairly bright my parents treated me like an adult from quite a young age both in terms of what I was allowed to do and the sort of things that we talked about. This has resulted in my having a very close friendship with both of them where we chat and exchange work gossip and things like that. It also helps I suppose that I get on quite well with several of their friends so we can goss about them too. I have a special deal on my pay and go mobile phone where I get free calls to a land line of my choice so I get free calls home. I make use of these almost every day (often on the bus on the way home) to give them a call and have a chat to find out what's going on. Its also very rarely more than a couple of months before one of us will visit the other. When I describe this to other people though they all give me a *look* as if to say "Wow, what a freak!" and I'm always vaguely surprised that other people don't really seem to like their parents very much or want to keep in touch but force themselves to ring every couple of months or so out of a vague sense of duty. I know that I'm pretty lucky to have had it as idyllic as I have but I still find it surprising that I'm pretty much the only person I know who has this kind of relationship with their parents.

Anyway, back to my weekend! Alex having escaped to Dawns (ex-girlfriends) in London after the second hand record shopping phase of the day had finished we headed for B&Q. I know - I've turned into a middle class person! You can't say you didn't suspect after my R4 habit though. I bought myself curtain pole and gardening tools and we went back to get started - after a cup of tea of course. I now actually have a lawn mower of my very own which is kinda cool in a way and once we'd raked the worst of the leaves off and mowed the grass it actually looked quite tidy although it did show up the fact that really it needs replanting. Then yesterday we turned to the business of taking down the annoying blind in the front room and replacing it with curtains. Eventually - after a bit of hacksawing to get the net tracks to fit in the windows - we got the curtain and the voile up so now no-one can look in and watch me in my living room - or my bedroom come to that cos we put some up there too. After we'd finished all that we downed tools for tea, the Observer and R4 and then went out for dinner...

I'd decided that it would be nice to make my parents visit really special by booking us a table for Sunday evening at Le Petit Blanc - Raymond Blancs Oxford brassierie - for a really good meal. Dad and I are both really enjoy eating out and Dads quite keen on Raymond so it seemed like it would be perfect and I have to say that it pretty much was. We spent ages deliberating over the menu while we sipped our apperatifs (Alex recommends the Electric Margarita) before finally choosing. I had snails, celery, cucumber and misc in a very garlicy and spinach sauce which was absolutely fab and I believe everyone else similarly enjoyed thier starters. We then had a really nice bottle of Cab Sauv with the main. Dad and I both plumped for the confit of rabbit with haricot blanc and green mustard which was georgeous. It was very rich and you got a huge portion too so amazing value. Rounded off with cheese and port it really was a great meal and ended up costing only about £30-35 a head for the whole thing including drinks so amazing value too. I can't really recommend it highly enough.
tinyjo: (Default)
Feeling tired this morning. I guess it is the end of the week so that's fair enough. I'm really looking forward to having all night hugs and then a lie in tomorrow morning. I am not going to the beer festival tonight so I should be able to get all the tidying up done this evening for my parents visit and then pop over to see Damian - the other person who's not going to the festival. Quiet and soothing - that's what I need. And an early night.

Should be quite fun with my parents though. They're coming on Saturday morning and then we're going to do lots of DIY (curtains and things!) and a bit of site seeing for them and then we're going to the Petit Blanc on Sunday evening - I'll let you know if its any good. Should be a laugh although I do feel vaguely guilty about getting Dad to do my DIY on his holiday.

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tinyjo: (Default)
Emptied of expectation. Relax.

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