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.

Sadly, the bouncers were preoccupied with turning people away due to a ‘leak’ somewhere which required they close until 2315.  This meant that our “Free Entry” tickets would be useless as they expired at 2300.  So, with disappointment in our hearts we settled for the nearby “Goblets” where we proceeded to have a couple of drinks and try to hear each other over the extremely loud people on the table next to us.  The fact that they actually had Becks Blue (alcohol free) was great and my wife Tracey and I had the last couple of bottles!  I remembered fondly visiting this bar many years ago before it ‘modernised’ with another close friend and having a pint of Guinness which the bartender poured with a shamrock on the head!.

Afterwards, we walked back to Cafe Parfait and managed to use our Free Entry tickets after all as it was not our fault that they opened later thankfully.  We walked to the bar and Tracey ordered a “Mocktail” (alcohol free cocktail) from the bar for us, though unfortunately the bar staff didn’t have a clue what she was talking about and called for (who we assumed to be) management and explained that we had been told via their Facebook page that they “served a mean mocktail”.  She countered with the sad fact that they did not in fact serve mocktails but would happily make a normal cocktail off their menu and omit the alcohol (which was good enough for me! and it was about half the price of the ‘normal’ cocktail) Tracey ordered us the “Tornado” which consisted of crushed fruit (Orange and Passion Fruit), Pineapple juice and topped with lemonade or soda water (i’m not sure which) which turned out to be delicious!.

We went to sit on the roof terrace where we sat last time but it had been raining hard and the whole area was almost underwater, so I removed my leather jacket and placed it on the wet seat for the girls and I perched on the dryest part of the wooden seat where luckily for me someone had already sat there and absorbed the worst of the water!.  As time went on, it got quite busy and I had one more drink (Orange and Passionfruit J20) and started to feel distinctly claustrophobic so we all decided to go home early.

Walking to the nearby Taxi rank, we overheard something none of us expected this time of year and it jarred us badly:  Slade singing “Merry Christmas Everybody” from Yates over the road.

Christmas songs in the middle of November? Really?.

With this horror fresh in our minds we managed to find a free taxi and jumped in.

A quick taxi ride later, and we arrived back home and Philippa decided to treat us to a Pizza (after some confusion over whether the restaurant was actually open or not which it finally turned out to be), then we enjoyed a ludicrously unhealthy pizza while watching the brilliant “Shaun of the Dead” before eventually retiring for the night at around 0400 and I sat in bed reading “Doctor Sleep” before finally succumbing to sleep.

Being able to wake up the following morning without a hangover after a great night was fantastic!  it had been so long since we all went out as friends and this was a great night enjoyed by all.

To anyone reading this looking for a great night (even if you are alcohol free), I highly recommend Cafe Parfait (no mocktails not withstanding) it has good music, a great atmosphere, entertainment on Saturday nights consisting of magicians, acrobats and drummers (though sadly none of these appeared to be present during our visit) and they will happily make you a non-alcoholic cocktail if you ask.

Well, that was our Saturday night! Hope you enjoyed the read!.


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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The End of an Era

Well, that is college over for now until we start the Computer Programming course in September (when we get around to enrolling anyway!).  We came so close to finishing our final MS Access test but due to some unexpected issues, we had to come in the week after to finish it.  It was a sad goodbye to our tutor Nina, as we have been with her for two ITQ courses now and sadly Totton College currently do not offer the ITQ3 which we would gladly have enrolled on and had her teach us for level one, two and three!.

I would have had this post out earlier but, there were some computer issues which needed a careful application of Smart Defrag, Ccleaner and Malware Bytes to sort out first.

If your computer is running slow, chances are it either needs defragging or has malware (or even both!) I didn’t have any malware, but did need a defrag.  I can strongly recommend these three programs to help keep your PC in top shape.

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Totton College Taxi Drama

We had an interesting phone call the other day from our tutor Nina at Totton College.

English: Totton College Totton College from th...

English: Totton College Totton College from the Calmore Road entrance. Formerly Totton Grammar School which opened in 1955, the College was opened in 1969. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her and another member of staff, Kirsty had been talking and felt bad that we walked home the week before (and pushing that wheelchair from the college home was very tiring!) and had arranged for a Taxi to pick us up and drop us home for the last few weeks of our ITQ course!.

I was lost for words! I had no idea the college could even offer such a service, and the fact that these two members of staff thought about it and made it happen for us to make our travelling to and from college a hell of a lot easier just blew me away!.

We took a risk and decided not to take the wheelchair as Tracey would only need to walk around the college, but as it turned out we had underestimated the stairs and realised that next week we would be taking the chair anyway!.

It was such a strange feeling sitting in a taxi to and from college like royalty where we are used to walking and it made us both feel a little lazy but my goodness wasn’t it easier and a lot quicker! we usually don’t get home until gone 2200 but we were home a little after 2100.

So if you are reading this Totton college:

Thank you from us both! you have made us both smile and really made it a lot easier for us to complete our course! we look forward to studying with you again in September! (though Tracey will be more mobile by then hopefully!).

Well, time for me to do a spot of Python before going back to modding my Bethesda games (Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas) and I will shortly get a post up telling all about this new exciting hobby!.


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