Sunday 31 December 2006

This just doesn't seem right

OK, I'm not a mother and I'm not presently consumed by the burning desire to become one, so maybe I don't understand why these women are so desperate to have children. But surely this is not right?

The house is so quiet

Just the three of us since Friday afternoon. I tried so very hard to get Mum and Dad to stay on for longer but they weren't having it. I suppose they couldn't change their boat tickets and it would have been a bit OTT to just lose them.

We went to Auchan in the morning and got cheese and odds and ends, then I sorted out their wine while Dad walked the dog and went to get Hubby. Off to the Maison Commune for a leisurely lunch, then they were gone. The dog has really been missing them and has looked for them the last two nights. We've been missing them too!

Still, tonight Hélène, Stéph and Jean-Charles are coming round are we're going to watch DVDs, and eat and drink too much. Hurrah.

In other news:

The car is fixed, it doesn't make a whirring noise anymore.

The dishwasher is a wonderful modern appliance that makes dirty dishes clean by magic.

My feet are cold.

Tuesday 26 December 2006

That's it for another 364 days

So Christmas is over now for another year. It's been different for us this year. First off, we weren't in Scotland as is the custom. Because of Hubby's lack of holiday days we had to stay in France. Fortunately Mum and Dad came to us instead :) Less fortunately, Hubby's mum did too. I know that sounds very unkind but if you have any knowledge of past goings on you'll understand.

So, for the second year running we haven't been able to enjoy Christmas as we had been becoming accustomed to. However, I think that we were starting to have rather high expectations of it all, so possibly a couple of dud years will do no harm. But next year we better: 1/ be in Scotland; 2/ be able to get drunk like usual; 3/ be able to relax!!

Belle-mère (French for mother in law) arrived Friday. We had already planned to have Stéph, Hélène and Jean Charles round that night so we decided not to change our plans following the last minute arrival of belle-mère. Hélène has now named her schöne muti! Mum and Dad got here on Sunday morning. In the evening we went to the Anglican church in Lille, which was really nice. Mum and I had our imaginary assessment sheets out and they scored quite highly so maybe Hubby and I will go in the new year. He and his mum went to the church in the village, but we didn't because we can't take communion there. And anyway, Catholics are strange because they only take the bread and not the wine. Can anyone explain why?

On Christmas day I gained new respect for Mum. I scurried around and tore my hair out to make Christmas dinner (pheasant with assorted vegetables). And with Mum and everyone else's help I managed to cobble together something more or less hot and edible. But Mum seems to create a marvellous Christmas feast with everything ready at the same time, without forgetting to prepare the fruit salad, and without getting in a flap. Hubby says she succeeds in this because she makes the same thing every year so she knows it inside out. Mum says she just ensures we're all slightly sozzled so we don't notice whether it's any good or not! I don't agree, but hey.

Apart from a couple of heckle-raising incidents, yesterday didn't go too badly. Parents and I are a bit disappointed as schöne muti will be here until Friday, which is also when parents go, but I suppose these things are sent to try us.

Now Dad and Hubby are at the DIY store buying things to plumb the washing machine in with. The washing machine will then be able to go and live in its new home in the larder and we shall be dishwasher-enabled! Hurrah, much rejoicing.

Wednesday 20 December 2006

One day to go!!

And then I won't have to go to work for ... oh, quite a few days. Hurrah.

Have progressed no further with Christmas preparation. The house, which I did attempt to tidy and clean at the weekend, is back in its usual state. Hey ho. I have all day Friday to run around in circles I suppose.

My Amazon order has arrived already. One less Christmas gift to worry about. That reminds me - silly Hubby ordered books off some obscure French website, because he had a 10% discount and free delivery. He ordered them over a week ago and they still haven't shipped. Why he didn't go to Amazon I really don't know... Plus he got fleeced to the tune of 10 euros per book too!! Tsk. A word of advice - never buy books in France unless you really can't do otherwise. Or be prepared to pay well over the odds.

No sign of Dad's chicken. I hope at least the mouse mat will arrive on time.

In other news:

The car is making a funny noise. I think it needs a bearing in one of the rear wheels. I'm fairly sure it has already had the bearing in that same wheel replaced (it got one for the other wheel too at the same time because we're kind like that). Dad says I should take it to Renault and not Euromaster (kwik fit type people) because they'll fit a proper Renault part and it won't wear out as fast. True.

Just watching news 24. Some mean-spirited primary school teacher in Devon has told pupils that Santa doesn't exist so there's no point writing to him. I think that's really mean. Think I will switch channels now though because they're on about Shane Warne. Cricket is a sore point in this house! Still, Shane Warne is one heck of a bowler.

Ooh, talking of sport - we should check out if our trip to Scotland coincides with any 5 nations er 6 nations fixtures. Hmmm. I'll get my brother on to it.

I can hear Hubby upstairs sounding like he's tidying. It's making me feel a bit bad. I should maybe go and help. Ciao bye.

Sunday 17 December 2006

Christmas Eve is just a week away

In fact, in a week, Christmas Eve will soon become Christmas Day. That's a frightening thought. At least I've managed to post most of my cards. I even bought some presents. And I ordered the pheasants yesterday.

Still feeling very un-Chritsmassy. Almost certainly because we're not going to be in Scotland, which is a thought that makes me feel quite miserable so I won't talk about it.

It froze last night. It's only the second frost there has been this winter so far. I'm expecting it to be pretty cold in the new year. I know it's sort of old wives' tales, but it's been so mild I'm sure we're in for some pretty tough weather in another eight weeks or so!

We went to the flicks this afternoon. The Disappeared. Let's just say we didn't pay for the tickets and the car park was free so no regrets. Not the best film I've seen.

I finished The Adventure of English at long last. It's hard for me to read clever books late at night, so it took some time. It was interesting, very interesting.

Hubby worked very hard yesterday and sorted out a load of stuff in the larder. He's preparing the way for the washing machine. The washing machine is going to live in the larder so the dishwasher can enter into service and wash our dishes. Hurrah.

We went and got a tree. It is smaller than last year's. Which is more sensible. I cursed and swore as I untangled the lights but it's looking pretty good now. I don't understand the thing with the tree lights. Each year, when we take all the decorations down, I take care to put the lights away properly. But then during the year something happens and they tangle themselves up.

Right, 'm'off to eat my tea. Bye.

Friday 15 December 2006

Dear Santa...

I have been mostly good all year and for Christmas I would like a new job for Hubby in Edinburgh so we can go and live in Scotland. That may seem an odd thing to want, given that I live in a country full of fine wine and cheese and with a slightly more clement climate than Scotland's. But that is what I want more than anything in fact.

Monday 11 December 2006

The cleaner that doesn't lose suction

I'm going to become a domestic goddess and vacuum with my Dyson every day!!!!

Ha ha ha.

Tuesday 5 December 2006

New links

Have added my brother's blog to my links. He never updates it but I suppose Natty-spratty uses up rather a lot of his time. I'll miss seeing them this Christmas :(

Have also added Willie's blog. Willie is a mine of music trivia and thoughts. He can also recommend some good books.

129 all out

A dire 2nd innings in the 2nd test - a classic England collapse. Am starting to believe last summer's Ashes win was in fact a hoax.

In other news:
It's been another wild and windy day here. Somehow a few trees here and there are managing to clutch on to their last leaves, but another couple of days like today and all will be on the ground and naked trees abound until spring. At least it will keep the water tables replenished! Except it probably won't because of all the tarmac and no proper drainage... Hey-ho.

Hubby is at the supermarket (extra loyalty points on Tuesday). I gave him a list tonight, thought it was wiser. We don't need much stuff actually because we're away at the weekend, and round at Stéphan's on Thursday, so just for tomorrow in fact. Oh, and tonight.

The dog is curled up on my lap. She was angling for a stick but I think she's forgotten about it for just now.

Mum is having fun in Poland. She says there are lots of good shops. I think I need to go there. Or maybe not.

Have not progressed with Christmas shopping, except gifts for Super nephew and Carmen, which I'm having sent to parents' because Early Learning Centre only delivers to the UK. I did post a grand total of 3 Christmas cards today. I really must finish the rest of them and get myself to the post office. We also have all the French thank you cards to post. Hubby printed them last night.

Oh, Hubby has just appeared with two new electric toothbrushes. We are having to replace the current ones as it is impossible to get new brush heads for them. Which makes them a bit redundant.

Oh I know, I know: we ordered the dishwasher on Saturday! Did I already post this? Maybe. Anyway, it should get delivered next week sometime. Hurrah! An electronic maid. A new place to put dirty dishes.

Before I opened up the laptop to do this post I was thinking of lots of stuff to write, but I've forgotten it all now. It was clearly not at all important.

Right, 'm off, the dog wants to play. She has just brought her squeaky hippo toy and dropped it right in front of me. Bye-eee.

Sunday 3 December 2006

Not been a good blogger lately

So what's been going on?

Well, work is quiet. Very quiet. It's the calm before the storm. So much so I had Friday off, which was nice. Doggy and I took Hubby to work then went for a walk in the park. Then I went to that nice butcher and bought braising steak and mince. Then I went to the supermarket (braving some weapons grade plonkers out on the roads!) and bought proper bread-making flour for the bread machine. And some other stuff.

Then I made a loaf of bread (read put the stuff in the bread machine and pressed the button). And some stew, some shepherd's pie mince, and some bol sauce, all of which is now in the freezer. Much to Hubby's disgust I might add.

Yesterday we went and closed our French gift list (about time). We have ordered the dishwasher but right now it has nowhere to live! They said delivery would take about 5 to 7 days so that gives us a bit of time. We also got a new kettle and toaster. But the main thing is the dishwasher. Oh joy!!

We also went and got stationary to do our French thank you cards with. Need to get them done. My Christmas cards came yesterday too so I should write them today. Actually, the weather is really foul, so what better to do than write my Christmas cards? I think Cléo would like to go for a walk, but I also know that if I take her outside, she'll look at me like I've lost the plot. Doggy doesn't really do wind and rain! Right now she is pawing at me because I have the laptop on my lap, and she thinks she should be there!

I also could use today to sort out my Christmas gifts. Haven't really given them much thought actually...

Today is Grandad's 90th birthday. I mustn't forget to call him!!

Next weekend we are going to Reims to see Charlene and Jean-Paul and Chantal. Should be fun. All the more reason to do my cards this weekend, as if I don't I really will run out of time.

Right, I'm off to make another loaf and give this desperate dog some love.

Saturday 25 November 2006

The shiny new software

With the shiny new toy, I also got some shiny new software. Some photo software even a big dummy like me can use! And I've been using it to make some of my OK photos look quite pretty.

Like this one:

Or this one:

Or even this one:

I have to stop now because Top Gear is on. :)

Tuesday 21 November 2006

Tuesday's book is Mystic River

By Dennis Lehane. I haven't seen the film, have no idea if it's any cop. But the book is you can take my word for it. Good reading.

Nice cup of tea

Can you get tea on national health? You should. It is well known for its cure-all properties.

Is cold here this evening. I had to wear my gloves to drive home tonight. Dog is cold too.

Hubby at supermarket. I have asked him to get soup ingredients. It is definitely soup weather...

Monday 20 November 2006

France effing Telecom!!

We got a letter today from the world's most mishap-prone telecom company - France Telecom, informing us that they had effectively taken note of our cancellation of that special offer for unlimited calls practically anywhere for not-much-per-month. Except we never asked to cancel it... Turns out that the fool who entered the subscription activation on 6 October didn't do his job properly and so the damn thing never got activated. Now given that I thought we had unlimited calls, I have been calling unlimitedly. So who agrees that the rather massive phone bill we are about to receive (and will not be paying) should be docked from this chap's wages? His name is Jean-Jacques Jacquet. I will be finding out where he lives so I can organise a campaign to make his life a misery (as if working at France Telecom wasn't punishment enough).

Sunday 19 November 2006

The book that inspired the name of this blog

Attention All Shipping by Charlie Connelly is an entertaining record of the author's journey around all those far-off and remote sounding places you hear in the shipping forecast. It's informative and quite funny at times. Mr Connelly's style is easy to read and the whole thing is well worth a look. You will certainly learn something and you might even remember it!

Such a lot has been happening

Haven't blogged for quite a while, there's been a lot going on.

Start of November we were joined by Mum and Dad, Matt and Marianne, and Macleod and headed off to Blois for mother-in-law's "wedding party". It was quite a lot more fun than we expected! Was a pretty tiring weekend though!

Then Hubby forgot my birthday.

Since then:

We had dinner round at Sophie and Olivier's. As usual, was lovely to see them and they entertained us with their holiday photos which are pretty amazing. Anthony and Stéphanie were there too and that was nice.

I did management training at work. Nice to have two days off :) And the course content was quite interesting too. Hopefully I'll maintain my current level of good will to put some of the stuff we covered into action.

My shiny new toy has arrived. Am using it right now. Like very much :)

Yesterday we did the wine fair. No Mum and Dad this year which is a big shame. But they sent us a shopping list and we went with Stéphan, Hélène, and Jean-Charles. And despite me having said that we were not going to buy any posh wine that you have to keep for ages before drinking, Hubby went and bought posh wine you have to keep for ages before drinking. !!


Hubby decided he was proper fed up at work and was going to look for another job. And then decided that maybe he'll stick around a bit longer because maybe things might improve. That rather deflated my balloon of hope that maybe we could find him a job in Scotland and escape...

Mum and Dad brought our John Lewis wedding gifts with them. That was fun. All our presents are lovely. Thank you everyone!

Doggy is full of beans. Her coat is starting to grow back over her leg but still seems very thin on her tummy. Fortunately the weather has been ridiculously mild so far. Well, fortunately for her but not really for all the beasties and birdies, and flowers, who will all get a big shock when it eventually turns cold.

And that's all I can remember for now.

Wednesday 8 November 2006

Happy Birthday to me

Happy Birthday to me.

Am quite drunk. Hubby has been plying me with alcohol so I'll gloss over him semi-forgetting my birthday...

Tuesday 31 October 2006

Stitchless dog

Cléo had her stitches out today. She is making good progress, hardly limping at all on her peg leg and getting back to all her unpleasant habits so she is definitely on the mend!

Got a lovely pic of Carmen from Andreas today. She is tiny and lovely. I'm sure Andreas is looking forward to having her and Jeni at home at last. Jen said they should both be able to come home by the weekend.

I had been thinking of another book, but I can't remember which or what I wanted to say about it so nevermind.

Sunday 29 October 2006

Lovely shoes

Have got shoes! Found them on eBay. They are pale lilac suede slingbacks and the colour is perfect. Was a bit of a gamble to buy them on eBay but they are such pretty shoes it wouldn't have been a total loss if they didn't go. But they do! Hurrah. I love new shoes. :)

Wednesday 25 October 2006

Carmen Jaeger

This news deserves a post all of its own:

Jeni and Andreas Jaeger are the proud parents of Carmen! She arrived today at 9.28am, and weighs 2.37kg, measuring 48cm.

Welcome to the world, Carmen. You're a lucky girl because you have a great mum and dad, and your family is full of lovely people. And your parents have some pretty cool friends too :)

Another book to read

The "book a day" concept was a bit ambitious, but then no surprise there.

A book for today Life of Pi by Yann Martel. This is an enchanting, harrowing and clever book. It has such a twist in the tail that it's practically U-shaped! I really enjoyed it, even though at times it's quite tough. And the ending is ... well, read it and see.

Freaky science

Watched Horizon last night. It was all about the singularity principle and how one day, soon, scientists will have full understanding of how the brain works and around about the same time, computing power will have equalled that of the human brain.

It was freaky!

Amazingly, I didn't have any nightmares last night, but it was freaky. This one chap was hoping to be able to download his mind on to one of these future super computers. Eek! And another had implanted electrodes in a monkey's brain and then he recorded its brain signals while it played a simple computer game. And a freaky thing happened: the monkey realised that if it just thought about playing the game, its brain signals being sent to this other computer were enough to make the game play, so it stopped moving its monkey arm and just played the game through thought.

And there was this other guy who had created a remote control rat! It had electrodes implanted it its ratty brain, and when the guy clicked left on the computer, the rat turned left!

Am shivering just thinking about it. Hubby said that it was good science because people with severe paralysis could really benefit. I disagree. I mean, it's not that I don't care about people with really severe paralysis but there is no way anyone is plugging electrodes into my brain. Nor is anyone downloading my brain to any computer. Humans as a species are dangerous enough with our current physical limitations, let alone if we could plug our twisted human brains into machines and what have you.

Maybe I lack faith in humanity, maybe I'm seeing the downside only, but it can't be good science. Because even if there are good aspects to it, the potentially "bad" applications of this sort of thing are just too scary.

Surely the world's scientists be better employed at 1/ finding a cure for cancer (could be not far away: see this year's Nobel prize winners), 2/ sorting out our energy/climate change problems, 3/ developing a way to ensure EVERYONE has access to clean water.

Sunday 22 October 2006

A book a day

OK, a book a day is a bit ambitious, I admit. Having said that, I'd love to have the time to read a book a day.

Today's book is The Beckoning Silence by British mountaineer Joe Simpson. Some of you may know of Joe through his first book Touching The Void, which was adapted to film a few years ago (and will maybe be the book of another day). His fourth (?) book deals with his decision to quit mountaineering. Too many of his friends are dead and he feels the whole game is getting beyond him. But before hanging up his crampons for good, Simpson decides to have a crack at that most mythical of mountains - The Eiger.

I really really like this book. It's quite introspective, it's mature, it's a bit nostalgic, it's just a good read. So have a read.

Saturday 21 October 2006

Pet hospital

Cléo has had her op, which went very well. She was very dopey all yesterday evening following the general anaesthetic, valium, and three shots of morphine!

Vet put two pins and some prosthetic ligaments in her left knee. She must have only gentle exercise (walks on the lead!) for two months then progressively more active walks for a further two months. Back to the vet on 31 October to have the stitches out.

We didn't sleep very well because we were both listening out for her. She is moving around a bit now but doesn't put her back left paw down yet. She has had a lot to drink and is eating again too. She even had a few barks today so she's getting back to her usual self.

The patient:
As you can see, she has also had a bit of a radical shave. It will grow back soon enough I suppose.

Other news:

There is a caterpillar on my nasturtiums! Proof if it were required that the current weather is far too mild. That's climate change for you eh.

Bought some shoes on ebay. Two pairs in fact. Pair mauve suede slingbacks, pair silvery satin kitten heel court shoes. Hope the silver ones go with my trousers! I don't think the suede ones will but they looked nice so I thought I'd have them anyway.

Monday 16 October 2006

Photo CD in the post today

Dave and na sent us a lovely CD with wedding photos and some short films of Dad's and Hubby's speeches, and of some of the dancing. It is lovely. Thanks Dave and Léna!

Hubby is on a UMTS training course Paris this week until Thursday. He left at a shockingly early hour this morning and nearly missed his train from the village into Lille. Why was this? Because the train left the station four minutes early. Honestly! Trains must, of course, leave on time, and if possible arrive at the final destination early, but they shouldn't leave in-between stations early. Should they?

The dog was a bit miserable this morning, naturally. We went for a walk when I got in from work, and when we got back to the house I opened the door to let her in and then stayed outside to close the shutters. She's such a glue pot doggy she had to come back outside while I did that, to not be more than three feet away from me. I wonder if she does that to Hubby when I am away? She is curled up in the armchair by the computer right now, and seems quite happy.

Had a meeting this afternoon. It was actually quite useful and lots of subjects were covered. Some in more detail perhaps than necessary, but that's the nature of a meeting. We also heard from JPH on some of the latest projects they have going on at the Foundation. They have just donated 200 bikes to young girls in southern Morocco. The idea is that these girls can continue a secondary education even though they live in outlying villages, sometimes up to 10km from the school. It's great, because it gives them an opportunity to have a brighter future, and, for once, it's the girls who are enjoying a bit of "special treatment" and not boys.

Weather has been ultra mild again. Having said that, it was bloody cold this morning! But lovely sunshine this afternoon, like we've been having for the last six weeks or so. Now I don't know if it's my overactive sense of paranoia that we're all going to die because we wrecked the planet, but when I was little, it was cold on 16 October. Temperatures were certainly not in the low 20s celcius...

I have nearly finished the thank you cards! Only have ten or so left to do, most of which are to French people. This is my excuse, you see, because I have to think a bit to write them in French.

Still have no shoes for 4 November. Went all around Lille on Saturday. I have been in all the shoe shops in Lille. Honestly. I even went in shops that sell shoes for 330 euros, so desperate am I. There were no suitable shoes in that shop, as it happens. But then, even if there had have been, I couldn't bring myself to spend that much on shoes. That's a third of a laptop.

On the subject of which (laptops), I have finally settled on one. I don't think it has a toggle thing in the keyboard to use as a mouse so I'll have to learn how to use a touchpad. And I'll also have to save some pennies first. But Hubby and I won't have to squabble over the PC any more!

Right I'm going to go. I need to think about what I can have for tea. Maybe some cornflakes. Nice balanced dinner there.

Sunday 15 October 2006

Three things today

Number one:
Nadia Eweida is suing her employer, British Airways, for religious discrimination after she was asked to either conceal or remove a small crucifix necklace. I hope she wins.
See the story:

Number two:
Supply teacher Aishah Azmi has shown herself up as a total hypocrite. She has been suspended because she refused to remove her full face veil (a niqab I think it's called) when teaching primary school pupils. She says she said she would remove the veil in front of pupils but not male members of staff.
Firstly, Muslim scholars say that women are not actually required by the Koran to wear a full veil in the presence of children.
Secondly, Ms Azmi herself admitted to not wearing the veil when she was interviewed for the post, this despite of the presence of a male school governor.
This is not about religious freedom, this is about hypocrisy. Ms Azmir, you are a hypocrite.
See the story:

Number three:
French MPs seem to think they can dictate to us what we are and are not allowed to say (think?) with their parliamentary vote on an Armenian Genocide (or mass murders) of 1915 denial law.
Denial laws are stupid. If someone chooses to stand up and deny a historically irrefutable truth, they are just making themselves look silly, aren't they? You can't make saying stupid things against the law, because you'd then need to lock about 98% of the population up.
So the deaths of 1.5m Armenians in 1915, like the Holocaust, are historically proven. Why do the French (of all people) feel the need to shore up this truth with legislation to protect it? Do they feel it is such a fragile truth as that?
The real story is the huge anti-Turk feeling in French political circles and France in general. They have already passed law that subjects any further enlargement of the EU to French referendum, so Turkey will never be granted membership. This move is just vote-chasing by mostly left-wing MPs. There are around 500 000 French of Armenian descent, that's a big electorate, right?
I'm not defending Turkey, I'm just outraged at the barefaced cheek of French politicians sticking their noses where they don't belong. Surely some full public investigations into the mass murder of Algerians in the 50s and 60s, and more recently the French involvement in what happened in Burundi and Rawanda (and why not Sudan, which is happening right now) would be a better use of parliamentary time.
See the story:

Oh, and I want a flex-fuel car.

Saturday 14 October 2006

Dog op scheduled for Friday 20 October

It's not actually displasia (my mistake) because the problem is her knee, not hip. But it's similar. Her left knee is in fact permanently dislocated, because the ball at the top of her tibia doesn't lock into the socket under her kneecap. And her knee cap just slips off the top of the whole assembly anyway.

So the vet is going to cut some bone away, add a new bit, put a pin in and strap some artificial ligament over the whole lot, which should mean her knee will then fit together like it's supposed to. Hurrah.

I know this is pathetic but it's quite daunting all of this. She has to go in at 8 on Friday morning, and we can stay with her while the vet puts her under. When the vet's receptionist said this I had tears in my eyes because in French they say "put her to sleep" (or send her to sleep I suppose). And that of course means something entirely different to my British ears! We can take her doggy blanket in so she has something familiar. Also, she'll need to have a lampshade on her head after because she's destructive and she'll pick her bandage to bits given half the chance. Poor Doggy!!

Other news:

Glad it's the weekend. Weeks would be alright if it weren't for those five days in them where one has to go to work, eh? Still, never mind.

Cold is colonising my throat now. It's not really on the move, just expanding its territories. Need to do something about that.

Spoke to me brother last night. That was nice. He has a blog. Well he has two, but he's forgotten what he called the first one. D'oh. Click here to see his new one. I will be lobbying him for photos.

Spent some money yesterday! That was nice too but probably only in my opinion. Bank probably feels differently ;) I bought a blouse and two tops from Esprit. Blue. All three of them. Also tried on two skirts. One was just not right. The other, a dark chocolate coloured cord skirt, looked fantastic with the tops. But I don't have any suitable shoes (black just don't go). I *did* see some boots that would go perfectly. But I had set myself a budget and didn't want to overspend, so no skirt and no boots. And then when I told Mum about it, she said I should get the skirt and boots and one of them could be my birthday present. Yay! Mum understands these things you see.

Thursday 12 October 2006

Got a cold

Feel sorry for myself in that cold-y way.

Nose full of snot.

That's possibly more information than you needed.


Monday 9 October 2006

Boosted Ikea's profits

Hélène and I spent the best part of three hours in Ikea on Saturday. I swear that shop is like some sort of tardis/time machine/black hole. You go in there and time is suspended. Well, inside the shop it is. And outside the shop it whizzes by very fast.

Hélène got stuff for her bathroom, a ceiling light for the hall, and a chair.

I got new covers for the sofa cushions, a new bathmat, an ivy to go in the bathroom, a watering can for my house plants, and a plant and a plant pot for Hélène. The new sofa cushions look pretty good. Isn't that clever how you can do a simple thing like changing the cushion covers and you've got a practically brand new sofa. So the white ones have gone in the wash which is the best place for them!

On a completely different subject, I finally called the vet and made an appointment to see the chap on Friday. Cléo has displasia which needs an operation, and the vet has already explained it to me but I'd like to go over it all again before. Depending on his schedule she could get booked in as early as next week. Poor Doggy. Of course I'm being soft and it's for the best because an operation now will save her a lot of potential arthritic pain later on. But still. Poor Doggy.

I have to order photos from the photographer. Maybe I should have done that this evening. Maybe I'll do it tomorrow.

Outlook at work is "quiet" for this week, which will be nice. Maybe get in a couple of early finishes!

Saturday 7 October 2006


Scotland 1 - 0 France.


Tuesday 3 October 2006

Found the iPod!

And guess where it was? Well, you won't guess I'll have to tell you. It was in my jacket pocket!! How crazy is that?? Last night we were round at Jean-Charles' and I was telling Hélène how I'd lost my iPod. She says, "what, the one that's in your coat pocket?". I lent her my jacket on Sunday and she said she'd felt something in the pocket, and, forgetting it wasn't her coat, stuck her hand in there expecting to find her phone. And she pulled out a "pink thing with an apple and iPod written on it". Of course, she didn't know I'd "lost" it, so she didn't mention it. Can't believe it. Hey, they only made one of me ;)

And on a completely different subject - I had an interesting meeting the UK marketing & communications manager today. I learned some stuff that has enabled me to say a big fat "told you so" to some self-righteous ... persons at work and I'm basking in the glow of being vindicated. It's nice from time to time when people get what's coming to them.

Am I mean?

Sunday 1 October 2006

A good braderie day

Hélène joined us for what was a successful braderie I think. We sold a whole load of rubbish for nearly 70 euros! We also sold some stuff of Jean-Charles' for a few notes too. He couldn't believe people wanted to buy it. I suppose that's the beauty of a braderie, isn't it? Was better than last year I think because it stayed fine despite the doomsayers at Meteo France forecasting rain. One shouldn't listen to the French weather forecasters they always tell stories. It did get a bit chilly at one stage though. Poor Doggy got cold, so we put her t-shirt on, and got her snuggled up in her basket with a cover and a hot water bottle! Took a couple of pics so once I've downloaded them to the PC I'll post if she's cute enough.

I finished On Beauty. It was odd at the end because it just stopped without, I feel, ending. Does that make any sense? I'd say it's worth a read though it's easy enough going and is nicely diverting. It's sort of about these two families and how their paths cross.

Mum says she's enjoying Ghostwritten. Can't say as I'm surprised. I thought it was excellent. A very clever book indeed. It's not really about anything, but it's intriguing. Probably worth a second read quite soon after the first read. You would almost certainly pick up on different aspects and notice more stuff the second time round.

Hard to say what is next on the read list. I did say I was going to finish all the books that are "in progress" before starting any new ones. I have lots of "in progress" books. I think I need to have a methodical approach and do them one at a time. Let's see how long that lasts. Oh, just writing about reading makes me want to scoot upstairs and pick out a book.

Friday 29 September 2006

We can now go "official" in France

Our French marriage certificate arrived today finally. So now we can go "official" here. Of course, that means that I'll have to make up my mind on what my name's going to be ... No rush, right?

Round to Jo's tonight to celebrate his birthday, which was on Tuesday. Then it's the braderie (sort of yard sale/car boot sale thing) on Sunday morning. Early on Sunday morning. I need to seriously set aside time tomorrow to go through what we'll try and flog. Hope we make enough for a nice meal out!

Poor Hélène still not properly moved into her new flat. The painter and the plumber seem in absolutely no hurry to finish all the work. Lazy g1ts.

Been a busy week at work. I did the stats tonight before I left - September's figures are comparable to YTD. Which means we've been more productive than usual, as we're down to 2, and we have project management, daily admin, satisfaction surveys and all the rest to do on top of the translations. That's given me a boost because it's been pretty hectic all month.

Oh, and this is something I should already have posted: to those of you who pray, please remember Joffrey and Sophie Catteau who lost their son Elie last weekend.

And on that rather low note I'll leave it there for now. Be back on Sunday (maybe!) to gloat about how much easy cash we made. :)

Sunday 24 September 2006

Lovely photo

The Incredible Adam Spark

Book by Alan Bisset. Read it. It was one of my 3 for 2s from the other week. Really did enjoy it.

Have now resolved to finish all the books I've started before I 1/ start anymore, 2/ buy anymore, crucially. Don't know how long I'll hold out. In fact, I might do quite well because I'm skint so that should keep new book purchases down.

We helped Hélène move yesterday. Poor Hélène, in her new flat the decorating's not finished and there's no electricity! The chap who's doing it says he'll be done by Tuesday though so not long until she'll be all settled in.

Still no progress on wedding thank you cards. Got to do them. If I finish them by Monday night I might get to the post office on Tuesday to post them!

Still no news on missing iPod.

Think I'll take the dog for a walk.

Tuesday 19 September 2006

Pfff ...

France is a stupid country.


But there it is.

Monday 18 September 2006

Fish & Chips tonight

Not forgetting the mushy peas.

Spoke to Jeni last night at length. Her bump is growing mighty fast apparently. She sounded happy but a bit frazzled with work. Her maternity leave starts soon so she needs to get everything in place for while she's away.

Work for me is going better. We are installed in our new offices and, setting aside some teething troubles, it's incomparable to the mess we were in for the last two weeks. We don't have people digging up the ground right next to our office or knocking the walls down or (even better) digging through the main power cable into the building!!

Work for Hubby appears to be as inspirational as ever (not). Of course, he needs to get his CV sorted out so I can start finding him a job he'd like to do. As I don't really understand what he actually does currently, there is only so much of his CV I can write on his behalf.

We had the usual suspects round for drinks and nibbles on Friday. We finally met Delphine! She seems nice and Jo is happy and that's what counts. Everyone seemed good. It was a good evening.

I got a start on the wedding thank yous. Still have about fifty to do I reckon but at least I started. Mum says she'll pick up the photos tomorrow. I'm a bit jealous that other people will see them before we do but that's life.

Talking of weddings, we still don't have our French marriage certificate. I sent a rather pointed e-mail to the consulate in Edinburgh today to find out what they're playing at. It's not that I care about their stupid French paperwork (after all, we have the marriage certificate issued by the registrar in Scotland that's the main thing), but we actually need the French marriage certificate to sort out more stupid paperwork here. And some of it has to be done within a certain time after the wedding. French administrations, what can you say.

I read one of my 3 for 2 books. It was called Only Strange People Go To Church. I have to say I thought it was going to be better than it was. But it was an easy read and passed the time and did have a couple of funny moments. Don't buy it though you can have my copy.

I'm reading The Incredible Adam Spark now. It's much better. It's one of those "stream of consciousness" type books. It's a bit odd when you start but I'm quite well into it now and it's a good read. Buy it. Of course, I could offer to lend you my copy but I haven't finished yet.

Anyways I have to go my fish & chips are ready.

Sunday 17 September 2006

Spending other people's money

Got a new outfit yesterday for this party thing in November.
Here it is:

The top is creamy coloured not white but the sun was a bit bright.

And here's a big fat spider (that's what I'm looking at in the photo above):

There are about eleven spiders like this in the garden at the moment. It's the season I suppose. It's also the season for blackberries but there are not very many of them right now. We had a bumper crop but they all were ripe when we were away! :(

Warm again here today. I think we should take the dog to the park then get on writing our wedding thank you cards because we really must do that.

On the work front, I have finally moved to my new office! It's quite different but I'm sure we'll get used to it soon enough. Not that Céline and I really have time to dwell on our new surroundings - far too much work going on!

And that's about all I have to say about that.

Saturday 9 September 2006

S'me I'm back

Was just pondering this one, I really need to get into some new music. I mean, the trinity of Bob, Brooce and Bowie is all very well and all. But maybe I need some new stuff on my playlist. My iPod must be bored surely. I use that Pandora site and it's pretty good. Maybe I should set down a challenge to myself. I need to get at least one more artist onto my playlist by Christmas. Then I could maybe ask Santa for a CD and not a book.

A CD AND a book sounds better.

Talking of books, I went in Waterstone's last week. They had a 3 for 2. I was only going to buy one book. But as I was queuing I felt that it was too bad to waste the 3 for 2 opportunity. So I went and got two more to go with my one. I'll tell you what they're like.

Coupla piccies

Here's the world's loveliest nephew:
And here's my hubby:
And that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday 5 September 2006

Oh, I forgot

If you would like to see the wedding photos, go here:

Plotting my return

We've been back in France since Sunday night. Was really hard to leave after this visit. I've been on the interweb looking at recruitment sites in Scotland!!

Wedding was great, it all went so quickly it's not fair. I wish I could do it again and get the time to have a proper chat with everyone. We really loved seeing everyone there it was the best time. We had fine weather, good food, a lovely service, great wine and champagne and the best wedding guests ever.

Barcelona was an interesting place. I've posted some pics on the magicalfairy site but there are many more to come. I need to get my SLR prints back and see if any of those are any good. Both our digital cameras ran out of batteries but that was *after* visiting Casa Batllo so disaster was averted.

Hubby went back to work yesterday but I took an extra couple of days off. Maybe the time would have been better spent sorting the house out and cutting the grass (looks like some sort of jungle out there - it must have rained LOTS here). But it's also been nice to do not much.

Saturday 19 August 2006

One week today ...

Indeed, this time next week Bloke and I will be married. What an odd thought!

We arrived in Scotland late last night having got up frighteningly early to catch an early eurotunnel crossing. As we wanted to stop in to see the elders on the way, I suggested we take the A14 and just pick up the M6 so we'd be on the right side of the country. Well it was one of those times when a crystal ball would have been a useful thing because just after leaving Stafford services we spent three and a half hours in a tailback! It took us from just before one until gone half past four to get from just south of Stoke to Crewe. Which meant we didn't get to the elders until lateish, and then with warnings of foul weather coming in from Dad, I made another executive decision and we took the A7 rather than the A701. And got stuck behind a caravan. Result was we weren't home until gone 11pm, making for a day of around 19 hours on the go.

This morning we were both awake early so no hope of a lie-in to recover. The menfolk went into town to get Bloke's kilt and Mum and I tried my dress on.

Then Bro came round with Super nephew. The menfolk went out again to pay the bill for the reception and buy some boxes (?), and Mum and I babysat 'cos Pete got called in to work.

And then the menfolk returned, taking over with Super nephew so Mum and I could go to the florist. Confirmed the composition of the bouquets and buttonholes/corsages so that is another thing to tick off the list.

Half of me wants to go to sleep, and the other half thinks that there are surely some things to be doing. Any ideas?

I think quite a lot of me would probably enjoy a cup of tea and a listen to the test match though.

Tuesday 15 August 2006

Should you happen across my blog

Welcome, unsuspecting web user. Welcome to the World of Lis.

Yes, this is my humble blog. Maybe I'll be quite good at updating this unlike my website. Ha ha ha.

Only time will tell.

As I don't have anything of note to say today and should really be doing other stuff (like defrosting the freezer -- be still my beating heart), here's a photo:

Yup, it's Fay enjoying a rather large glass of beer in Bruges. Cheers.