Tag Archives: christmas

In which I provide updates

It’s been a little while since I just blogged about life.  Mostly it’s been about games or movies or movies about games, or games based on movies about games.  Or books.  Or games based on books.  You get the idea.

We tend to do a little bit of travelling around this time of year, up to the North East to see my family and down to the South Coast to see Grete’s.  In terms of distance there’s not much in it either way, 160 miles North East and 200 miles to the South Coast.  Okay, so there’s 40 miles more going south.  But those 40 miles make a hell of a difference, because most of them are around the M25.  In fact, I reckon it’s about ~45 miles around the M25 from the M1 junction we arrive on, to the M23 junction we leave via.  It’s only 20-30 miles more going around than it would be going across London as the crow flies, but those miles are often the most painful.  This time we went north twice, and each time went up and came back on the same day, it’s about 3-4 hours depending on traffic and stops, and it’s a pretty easy run (especially for me, since I can’t drive).

Going south has traditionally been our nemesis though.  We once missed a wedding while we sat on the M1 and then the M25 for about 5 hours and only just made it for the reception.  The M1 is usually okay, but the M25 is often slow, busy, and inexplicably stop-starty (it might not be a word, but you know what it means).  Sometimes we’ll chug along at 15mph for ages, and then speed up with never any sign of what’s going on.

We set off for the South Coast late morning on Saturday (11am), the weather reports had us concerned and while we would normally head out at 8am, we didn’t want to set off without checking ahead, making sure it looked clear.  The terrible weather of Friday had mostly cleared, most of the main roads looked fine and although there was still some ice on local roads near Grete’s folks it wasn’t too bad.  We made good speed down the M1 and were about 7 miles out from Toddington services when,

  1. traffic slowed to a crawl, it took us about 50 minutes to go those 7 miles
  2. we were passed, in the hard shoulder, by 2 ambulances, a fire engine and several police vehicles (and some cheeky bastard using it to bypass traffic)

We went into the services, there was a maintenance vehicle parked in the chevrons of the junction before which we thought little of.  We picked up some drinks, used the toilets and were ready to set off, when we noticed another maintenance vehicle now blocking the route back on to the M1, and no traffic at all passing down the M1, or arriving at the services.  I can’t find any reports on the web, but from what I heard a couple of vehicles had to be cut open, and the police investigated the causes.  Which left us in the services for about 3 hours.  It’s better than it could have been,

  1. we could have been stuck on the M1, behind the closed junction
  2. we could have been in the accident, and I truly hope everyone involved came away as well as they can be

Once we got going again everything was clear and other than a minor issue on a local road (sheet ice, preventing us from making it up a hill three times before we found another route), we got there fine.  Pretty cold the whole way, made it to minus 7 Celsius at one stage.

It’s always worth the journey of course, both North and South.  Grete’s mum made a lovely roast dinner for us when we finally arrived, and we got to see her sister and their kids, some friends of ours in Hailsham, and my mother, sister and kids when we went North.

But now we’re home.  It’s still bloody cold and we’ve had (well, once again, Grete’s had) a hectic day, but it should be calmer now on the run up to Christmas.  Some quick shopping today, then a physiotherapy appointment for Grete (the first to see if they can work out what’s up with her back), then Grete taking Fizz to the vets to see why she’s lost her meow, and finally Grete went to the gym.  While she was out I quickly tidied, put our Christmas decorations and lights up and sorted out some stuff I’d been meaning to do for ages (recycled about seven hundred free newspapers).

Already three days of my holiday gone, but the next few should be nice and relaxing.

Christmas Eve

Welcome to Christmas Eve.  I’m just finishing a can of red bull before heading into the kitchen to make us a small fried breakfast (mushrooms, tinned tomatoes, hash browns, bacon, eggs, sausages, beans, toast).  While I’m doing that you should all go and watch a video over at Zeeker’s livejournal.

We finished season two of Black Adder last night and started season three.  I really can’t believe there’s only six episodes in each season, that’s mad.  By the way, if you’ve never seen Black Adder (because you’re too young, or you live in a country where it’s never been shown, or you’ve just not seen it) then you should try very hard to see it.  All four seasons are classic comic TV with some truly side splitting moments of laughing.  Still, I can’t beleve there’s only 6 episodes per seasons, although as Grete said, “BBC”, which explained the whole thing in one word.

We discovered half way through season two and into season three that both of us have speech patterns heavily influenced by Black Adder.

I need to write up part 4 of the painting diary after doing some more painting yesterday as well (I write them and and schedule them three days apart so that even if I don’t paint for a couple of days the diaries aren’t too far behind the miniature).

But first.

Breakfast.

Breakfasts!

Ah Christmas week, a week of relaxing and eating breakfasts you’re not allowed to eat during the rest of the year (well, it’s my tradition and I’m sticking to it!)

This morning Grete had Belgian Waffles with Canadian Maple Syrup (pure) and I’m having (too many) crumpets with butter.  Grete has more waffles in the cupboard and some croissants for some point later in the week.  I normally cook a fried breakfast on Christmas day but in the last few years we’ve run into scheduling issues.  We don’t really get the breakfast done cooked until 11 o’clock or sometimes later, and that pushes our roast dinner back until the early evening.  Neither of those things is good for my diabetes really (by the time breakfast is done I’m usually desperate to eat), so this year we’re doing fried breakfast on Christmas Eve and something smaller on Christmas Day, so we can eat the dinner at more like 2 or 3 o’clock.

Ah, crumpets, sweet crumpets already I feel your white flour sugary badness flowing into my blood and making me a little giddy.  Soon you’ll lift me high and then dump me suddenly, alone, cold and shaking in the wilderness of high GI food and yet I shall love thee no less and in two days we shall dance this dance again.

Stress free shopping

Just got back from what has to be our most stress free ‘last shop before Christmas’ in the history of Christmases.  Granted we’d got loads of stuff already buying it in little bits over the last 3 weeks, but there’s always fresh stuff you need, bread, milk, veg, etc. and Tesco was totally empty at 8:30am this morning!  We grabbed some breakfast, and then sorted the last of the food.

No need to go shopping again now until next Saturday.

We’re not penny pinching this Christmas but we’re certainly budgeting, and so far we’re within budget, although I have to pretend I’m not paying for more tooth work in February and I don’t need a new wing mirror.

Pretty tired today

More emotionally tired than physically, and not really able to think of anything worthy to blog about.  The final part of the Lord of the Rings Online review will auto-post at 9pm.  I enjoyed writing that, enjoyed writing something substantial over a number of days, I may try and do something similar maybe about miniature painting.  Perhaps I’ll pick one figure and blog about the whole painting process.  Maybe I’ll get bored long before that happens.

Grete’s dad is visiting today, staying overnight.  The cats will have to cope with his dog so we’ve moved their food, water and litter tray upstairs so they can continue to do what they do (eat, drink, shit, sleep) without being disturbed.  He’s taking our presents for Grete’s sister, brother-in-law and their kids down south with him when he heads out on Saturday.

Good evening!

Had a really good evening today, went out for food with Grete to a local pub, ate far too much including some awesome cheesecake which I’m really not supposed to eat, and then went over and saw Simes and Marie and dropped off their Christmas present and stayed for a good long chat.

All very relaxing and enjoyable.

Two more days of work then holiday!

The Guild?

So I’ve not watched many of these yet but it certainly looks interesting.  From their about page,

The Guild is a independent sitcom webisode about a group of online gamers. It is written for gamers, about gamers by a gamer. Episodes vary from 3-6 minutes in length, and follow the Guild members’ lives online and offline.

Main page is over here, and the reason I found them is this video which is well worth watching (if you’re a gamer) (the msn site sucks, I know hard to believe, but if you wait long enough the right video will load and play in that tiny little window on the right).

Oh, and I found that link over here at Geek’s Dream Girl.

Four Working Days to go

Not that I’m counting, but in four more working days, I’m on holiday for Christmas.  Only a week off, then back for the New Year but I’ll take five days.  I really need a break from it all at the moment, it’s starting to get on top of me.

Ten days until Christmas and we’re sorted.  Presents sorted, wrapped, posted or delivered as appropriate.  Well, technically I still have to wrap Grete’s presents but I enjoy tormenting her too much by leaving them lying around in the open in boxes.

We’ve already bought all the food we can get in advance which won’t perish before the 25th, so we probably need to shop again in the early part of next week, but no mammoth shops like in previous years (standing in a queue in Asda for three hours for example).  Much more relaxed Christmas this year.

Except money wise obviously, the insurance company is being annoying about the car wing mirror (like claiming we don’t have protected no-claims, which we do, and ‘suggesting’ they may write the car off for the cost of the repair which is just insane.  I suspect they’re just trying to put us off claiming).  Either way, it’s another £100-200 I can’t afford at this time of year after the dentist bills.  I don’t begrudge paying out any of the money we’ve spent on presents and gifts at all, that’s money well spent, but the timing of the other bills just makes it a bit frustrating.

Still, I’ve been in debt since the second year of my university course, so I guess another year of it in 2009 won’t kill me.  Since we got rid of the loan our debt has been pretty much consistent in size, it’s grown a little in the last few weeks, but I’ll try and make a big dent in the early part of next year.

Fingers crossed.

So, four days until holiday, ten until Christmas and sixteen until 2009.

Tree Time

Grete sorted out tree out today.  It’s only small (since our house is small) but it’s bright (fibre-optic) and shiny and festive.  Here’s a few (bad) photo’s.

Before

During

And after

And two cool shots while Grete was turning the tree to put the beads underneath.