Tuesday, May 27, 2008

An Overdue Rant

As I think I mentioned, the other week we spent the weekend with Mad Medea and Husband. It was great. We had a lovely time and it was wonderful to see them after so long. Except. (What follows is a rant fully sanctioned by all those involved.)
On the Saturday, MM made a wonderful picnic and we chose a pretty little Cotswold village to eat it in. A pretty village by the name of Bibury. Bibury boasts the "prettiest row of cottages" in the Cotswolds (or something like that, I can't remember the exact phrasing) according to William Morris in 18-blah-de-blah.
Said cottages are now National Trust land although they do seem to be lived in as well. Bibury also has a river running through it and, according to the map, lots of green space. A wonderful setting for an afternoon of picnicking and perhaps a little strolling to look at all the beautiful places like the Saxon church, St Mary's.
On arrival, we discovered Bibury to be rather...full. This wasn't a huge surprise as it was a very sunny Saturday in the Cotswolds. We were not expecting a place to ourselves. We managed to squeeze the car into a space and set off to find a picnic spot.
It turned out that the large green area was ALL taken over by a trout farm. There was no where to sit without paying £3.50 for the privilege. Given the amount of water and the number of midges that seemed to be about the place, it didn't seem much of a privilege. We walked a little in the hopes of finding some countryside. We failed. We thought we'd just plonk down on any old patch of green but there was only one - and it suffered from the midges. Any bits of land not owned by the trout farm were private property of the big swanky hotel.
We thought in the end that we would go and sit outside the row of beautiful cottages. There was only a small strip of green and there were a lot of people but it was pretty - and much less midgy.
But oh no. Mr I Own Everything appeared and said no! No picnics here! It was National Trust land. There was no sign about the lack of picnicking opportunities. But we were not in the mood for an argument (shortly afterwards, I think we were but we let him away with it!).
There was no where left in Bibury, not a single place to sit - except on a stone wall on the edge of a busy foot path. We decided to move on.
Before doing so though, Bibury added one final nail to its coffin. I went to use the loo. I had to pay. I could only pay with a 20p piece. There was no change machine. I don't mind paying for the loo if it is a nice loo, if I can see why I'm paying for it because it is well maintained etc etc. It wasn't pleasant. It was dark and metallic and ugly and had one of those automated hand washer things. Hands here for soap, here for water, here for air. 1-2-3. I hate them.
So just as a recommendation, when you think you might go to Bibury, don't. Find a nice field with a pretty view instead.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Such a Disappointment

One of the things we (ok, I) really missed while in NZ was the wonderful annual ritual of glitz, glam, sequins, silliness and suspense that is the Eurovision Song Contest.
The year before we went was possibly one of the best ever with Lordi's Hard Rock Hallelujah winning (though our favourite was Lithuania's We Are the Winners for extreme silliness). Even the UK entry that year was pretty comical with Daz Simpson's Teenage Life...
Last night, we watched in great anticipation having heard marvellous things of the Azerbijan rock opera entry and generally expecting the usual level of special entries and fun.
Like pulling teeth. It was so boring. Just pop song after pop song. Thank goodness for Latvia's sense of humour and Spain's...weirdness to brighten the evening.
Anyway, the biggest problem was this whole tactical voting thing. The UK song was actually pretty good this time round. Not being biased. Normally, the UK entrant can't sing, is bland, blah blah blah. Not so yesterday. But did the poor guy get any votes?! Well, one or two, but he came last. Joint last, with Poland.
And it just wasn't funny any more. Yes, we know the Balkans and the Baltics will all vote for each other but it has just become too ridiculous. Knowing exactly who everyone is going to vote for takes any fun out of the competition.
To top it all off, El Tel was firing definite warning shots (as Husbink puts it). If there is no Terry Wogan commentry next year, Eurovision will definitely not be getting my vote.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hijacked by hormones

So today and tomorrow are *my* days. Free days to get jobs done about the house but also do all those other things that I like to do and so on. Can I achieve one single thing? Can I 'eckers like!
My hormones have well and truly put paid to any idea of being a useful human being. Not because I'm in uncontrolable pain and need to just lounge about the house. No, I just can't summon up the emotional wherewithall to do anything but eat chocolate and mope. Oh, yippee.
Diagnosis Murder, tea and blankie here I come.


One of the strange little things I noticed about moving countries (and more about moving this way, coming back to the "familiar"), is the slow persistent seep of rebranding your life.
Gone are the Pam's paracetamol and the Razene anti-histamines, replaced with Tesco and Boots own. We had almost reached the point of being entirely UK-ed on this front and then our shipping arrived. Everything wrapped up neatly in the Hutt News. How we miss the comedy letters pages!
We also have many things in our house that we are only used to seeing in their places in Tyndall Street and they jar each time we look at them.
I know we are starting to be incredibly boring. We talked before we left NZ and agreed that the last thing we wanted to do was become the people who spend all their time saying "In New Zealand...blah blah blah". We agreed that if that was the case after a while, it would be a good indication that our hearts really lay elsewhere.
For the first few months, it was acceptable. We hadn't done much here while waiting for jobs and all the rest of it and so to be able to join in conversations, most of our experience did come from NZ. Now we are both working and generally part of "life" a little more, we have other stories to call on. And yet...
Since everything has come together so well over the last month or so, it has sadly only served to highlight that we'd rather be somewhere else. That isn't to say we aren't enjoying life at the moment. We are having some really good times and it is great to be able to meet up with Mr & Mrs SD "just like that" or visit Mad Medea and Husband for the weekend or...these are all such good and important things. Everything is good here but we'd rather be somewhere else.
I know it is only four and a bit months since we left. I know we have to give it longer (and with Husbink's new job, we are going to be forced to give it longer). I know that this could all change and that in a year or two, NZ will be fond memories but not such a drag on our hearts. Right now though, I just want to get on that plane. I don't want to be church hunting when the church I want to go to is Knox. I don't want to be househunting in Yorkshire when I want to live in Waiwhetu. I don't want to go to Tesco when I'd rather be going to Countdown.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The answer is...

Big News from Summer Holiday...

And I so much am going to spend birthday money on the DVD now!

It's My Birthday And I'll Blog If I Want To

Indeed it is and indeed I do!
I'm having a lovely day (and had a lovely early birthday with Husbink's family yesterday). I feel like a spoilt child.
Today, having woken up very early (which actually doesn't have much to do with being my birthday and a lot to do with having woken up early all week because of the light), Husbink eventually gave in and brought me my presents. There was a selection of books (that I wouldn't have chosen myself, to challenge and expand my reading habits!), a selection of DVDs (thanks to Mad Medea for the suggestion of a particularly silly one...) and a box of my (probably) favourite chocolates - Thorntons Summer Collection. Yum! Thus far I've eaten the one I thought I'd like least and it was melt in the mouth gorgeous.
Despite my continual whinging for the past however long (months and months I think), I had not twigged that Husbink would buy me Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Duh-duh-diddle-de-duh-duh!Double disc version. Original Theatrical Version. (As well as silly additional scenes twentieth anniversary version...) The reason the original is SO important? The Ewok Music at the end of Jedi. None of this crazy pan-pipe, doesn't fit with the action at all silliness. Ahhhhh...
Husbink also got me tickets to see Paul Merton and his Impro Chums in a few weeks. Those of you who know about the bunny slippers/dambusters sketch will be able to imagine just how excited I am. If you don't know about it...well, next time I see you, ask for a re-enactment. Or if I won't be seeing you look on YouTube, maybe it is there. Or maybe you don't care. But it's my birthday. ;)
Husbink's family took me out for dinner last night which was extremely yummy. We stopped at their house on the way back for presents. SiL gave me some lovely bamboo needles and a good knitting reference book. The PiL gave me a sewing machine (that came with many additions - a carry case, a bag of fifty different threads, lots of scissors, gadgety bits...), a mountain biking in the Lakes map and (possibly my favourite present) a packet of spring onion seeds. Favourite present because it showed how attentive they'd been to a few passing comments of mine and that is really special.
My mum is buying part of my present in a few weeks time when they go to Brugges as there is a handbag she wants to buy me (also really special for long winded reasons) but I did receive a really cool present from them today too...a Red Letter Day...at a Falconry centre where I get to handle and fly hawks and falcons and see lots of owls and so on too! A little bit scary but cool too!
My bro rang. Now that we are back here, that doesn't happen so much so was really really cool. They were playing with their new Wii while chatting which was very entertaining.
And then I've just had lots of lovely cards and messages and generally feel loved. Ahhhhhh.
And I've had time to bake and start learning how to use my sewing machine.
All of which has led to a great day but not much of an interesting blog post! Like I said though, it's my birthday....

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Big news, big news!

I've tried to blog in the last few weeks, truly I have, but I've lacked vocabulary to achieve it. Still, here I am as I thought an update really was necessary with all the changes that have occurred in the Adventuring household of late.
The first being that we are indeed a household again having moved into our onw place on Saturday. It was all just a touch crazy as Husbink decided to have flu Friday-Monday so mostly I did the moving but there we are with our own roof (and more to the point own kitchen, I have missed cooking!) and everything. It is a short term let as the landlords want to get it back into the student pattern and that suited us fine.
The next bit of news is that I have a job, three days a week in a lovely outdoors shop in town. I had been interviewed about four weeks ago but turned down as the other candidate actually had relevant experience! However, the other candidate then changed their mind. One thing and another meant that I wasn't told this until last Wednesday. I had a wee chat with them on Thursday and I started on Tuesday. Wednesday was an utterly crazy day as I was also offered another job (working for a PCT with a 40 minute commute each way...there were several problems with this job!!). I'd just concluded that I would not get short term work in Carlisle and then two jobs come along, crazy!
The final piece of news is that Husbink has one of these magical mystical training jobs that we'd all but given up on. What's more, it is in Yorkshire (we can't be more specific yet) and so that puts us back nice and near doctor/woman & mr me, Snoo & the Hub and all kinds of other lovely people - as well as just generally being closer to most of the world than we are in Carlisle. Though I will be sad to leave Carlisle and the Lakes so soon. It took me a little bit of getting used to but I'm in the zone now...another fresh start looms!

PS a special prize to anyone who knows what song I'm singing having written that title...