Bathroom, Birmingham and Business!

It has been a busy few weeks!, in the last few weeks, we had a new bathroom fitted, visited family in Birmingham and both Tracey and I had interviews!.
Let me jump back in time a little…

A couple of months ago, a letter from the council arrived, informing us that we needed a new bathroom (coming less than two years after our new kitchen!).
Needless to say, we contacted the contractors and arranged a date for them to start.
Within a few days the work had started and we were once again playing host to a seemingly endless stream of craftsmen pouring in and out of our home from morning till dusk.

I even printed out a little sign requesting that they closed the front door after themselves as we didn’t want Milo getting out, surprisingly, a couple of them even took notice of it! one in particular paused at the doorstep to read it, looked at me, then opened the door and walked upstairs leaving it wide open, why the guy felt the need to perform this petty act of defiance was beyond me, it was a simple enough request and I feel didn’t put anyone out.

The first day they ripped out the old bathroom and installed the new one, we thought that they would be done by the end of the week at that rate, but alas, it would be another couple of weeks until the work was declared complete.
We managed to keep Milo (our kitty) out of their way and the noise was only bad for the first few hours, after that he was fine and we hardly noticed the workmen were there!.
We had full creative control over the colours and took photos at the various stages for our own records.
After the chaos of the bathroom died down, I had an interview at a major shopping centre for a cleaner position, which I consequently got offered before we went away to Birmingham to visit family.

Every day, we took a nice, long walk around the local park and enjoyed the hot weather, even spending a day up the local high street, hunting around the many charity shops (where i found a couple of books and a collection of Star Trek games for next to nothing).
Sadly, the Star Trek games were too old to even install except one (Starfleet Academy) and the expansion for Starfleet Academy wouldn’t even install under win XP (even though the base game did!).

Time to crack out DosBox!
On the way home, we decided to make the most of the day and walk back, though we got turned around somewhere and ended up using my phone’s GPS to navigate back through unfamiliar streets (which was more fun than it sounds!).

It was so nice visiting family we hadn’t seen for a long time and having someone else do the cooking!.

When we left, we were given some Thyme, Rosemary and Sage to pot up when we got home.
Our friend who looked after Milo and our flat for us while we were away, met up with us in town and bought us a coffee (which was SORELY needed!).
Finally we got home, put the herbs in water and crashed out!.

Since then, we have potted them up, bought some Basil, Mint and Parsley and planted some chilli seeds (which started to come up today) and I managed to get all my mods installed for The Elder Scrolls and Fallout games (though that is a post on its own!).

Within a couple of weeks, Tracey had got herself TWO interviews one after another!, she then had another couple of calls from potential employers wanting to “check her details” and now she is just waiting for ‘that’ call that means she will be working too!.

I am so proud of her recent achievements and it goes to show what you can do when you apply yourself!.

So now we sit, enjoying watching TV while I try to get some writing done!.


Smart Meter, Rummy and Books!

Well we have just had our new Southern Electric Smart Meter installed and said goodbye to the Engineer after a brief demo of our new system.
We can now monitor our electric and gas usage in real time which is really cool and has had me switching things on and running back to the hand held monitor to see the difference!.
The only weird thing is when i plugged the monitor into a free plug socket and switched it on to save the batteries, our usage dropped, not sure why.
Over the next seven weeks, it will learn our usage habits and adapt itself accordingly, so it will be interesting  to see what happens!.
While the Engineer was busy downstairs, we had no power for a brief time, so with no Internet, PCs or TV, we were forced to rely on other ways of amusing ourselves for the duration.

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Christmas Music Already?

logoWe went out with our close friend Philippa last night in part to celebrate my one year alcohol free.  We chose to go to Cafe Parfait in Southampton, which we went to once over a year ago and really enjoyed.
After a few bottles of Becks Blue, a delicious Spaghetti Bolognaise and some choice music courtesy of my iPod, we started to get ready for the evening.

After the girls meticulously applied their make up, decided what to wear with great difficulty and emerged from the bedroom as a stunning pair of beauties, I threw on a nice shirt, had a shave and put my dress shoes on in case the bouncers had an issue with the boots I normally wear.  We jumped on a late night bus which was running on time for a change (probably because it was about 2130 and everyone was already out).  We shortly arrived in Southampton and walked the remaining distance to Cafe Parfait itself.

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Christmas Preparation Underway

We have had a busy couple of weeks.

A while back, my wife Tracey found a cheap second hand bookcase on facebook.  When it arrived we then promptly spent the next two days sorting out all of our books into a large database and filling up the new bookcase.  We also went through the ornaments on the mantlepiece and in the cabinet and threw some out and others were moved to the top of the bookcase.  Figuring that the rest of the lounge may as well be done now, we then had a huge clearout and general tidy (not that we are untidy per se just a little cluttered).

Now, with a tidy lounge, my wife decided now would be a great time to sort out the bedroom, which quickly followed suit and now we are left with the fallout of all this sorting and clearing – a large collection of boxes, bags and assorted bric a brac in the shed all ready to be thrown out in the spring (when we have our huge annual clearout).  The amount of stuff we have to throw out would probably fill a skip! you don’t realise how much stuff you accumulate over time!.

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Football Manager Addiction!

Football Manager was named in 35 divorce cases in the UK.

Having played a fair few hours of it over the last couple of weeks I can see why.

I am not a huge follower of football and will be the first to put my hand up and admit I know next to nothing about football strategy and tactics (though I have printed out a few guides and read a lot of articles to increase my knowledge somewhat).  I understand they have streamlined  the game and improved vastly upon it since my last foray into Football Manager (2012) and I have found this version (2014) to be a lot simpler and more intuitive than the last one I played (I know it’s all a matter of opinion but I am getting on with this version better than 2010 or 2012 somehow).  Even though I am not a huge football fanatic, I still find this game highly addictive and think about it even when i’m not playing it and planning for my next session!.

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Games, Glorious Games!

Well, it has been a long time since my last post.

I think it is for a variety of reasons, chiefly being the fact that I am now well and truly back into my games and spend time on them when I should be writing.

I have definitely turned into a steam addict and my game collection grows by the week (though now Tracey has given me an allowance each fortnight!).

Lately, I have been mainly playing Crusader Kings II (where I am trying my hardest to become the King of Ireland [unsuccessfully] as YouTube recommends to new players), X2:The Threat (I am making my annual attempt at an X:Marathon where I start with X:Beyond the Frontier and progress through X:Tension, X2:The Threat, X3:Reunion and X3:Terran Conflict building my empire before finally getting my hands on X3: Albion Prelude and finally X:Rebirth if my PC can handle it).

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A Relaxing Weekend?

Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy

Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just got in from a rather hot walk up to the big Tesco’s up the road.

Tracey made the whole trip there and back without stopping which is a huge achievement at this stage of her recovery.

Now we are both sat down with a cold drink and I thought it would be a good time to write.

Yesterday, we had to make another trip to Southampton, firstly to return a cheap pair of speakers we bought for Tracey’s computer, and secondly to return a game (Stardrive) that we bought from CEX and turned out to be a Steam game that had already been activated.

CEX were great, they refunded me straight away and the voucher went towards… (and I am almost ashamed to say this)  LEGO Star Wars The Original Trilogy.

In my defence, I am trying to get more games that both Tracey and I can play together and we are both Star Wars and Lego fans and the games came recommended so thought it was worth a try!.

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