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On Sunday around 10pm the boiler stopped working. It did it in a sneaky way, in that we could still hear it whooshing away in the utility room but heat gradually stopped coming out of the radiators and there was no hot water.

When we went and looked at it there was a fault code flashing. The internet said that this was a common enough fault and we should power everything down, make sure all the radiators were turned on and then wait for half an hour, hit reset and it should work.

It didn't. So we ignored it and went to bed. Thank goodness for electric blankets you can leave on a low heat. Monday morning came and we tried the solution again and no better. So [livejournal.com profile] scarfell went to work, after boiling a kettle to get washed and I stayed at home to call the landlord and boiler people.

Cut for details and ranting! )
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Today I received an email invitation from my 82 year old grandparents to their Boxing Day family party.

You are invited to Boxing Night Dinner at *address snipped* 7pm.

This year, to bring it up to date with 'young person's practice' it


You are asked to think of a metaphorical expression used in every
day conversation, which taken literally does not make sense, and
illustrate it either by full fancy dress or fancy appendage.

Example: "I don't know if I'm on my head or my heels"
Fancy appendage: Head dress with 2 heels. Back of shoes - picture of a

See, quite simple.

Incentive: A small prize for the best
RSVP by December 12th 2008 to *email snipped*

They never cease to amaze me. I need to think seriously about a decent costume. :)
halva: (poppy)
What would your name be if your mother was Sarah Palin? Find out here.

I would be Nam Guadalupe Palin.
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Even though [livejournal.com profile] scarfell and I were knackered on Friday after work, we shoved some clothes in a bag, jumped in the Bongo and drove to Anglesey. We try to make it there at least once a year but because of the wedding we hadn't been at all this year and figured that we should go before it gets to cold to be camping. We arrived at around 10pm, had a cup of tea and went to bed in the roof.

We camped with my mum and dad in Newborough at a site that hasn't changed at all since the 80s. I have some fantastic childhood memories - but today the site is in need of a facelift and we all spent the weekend fantasising about what we could do with the place - if we had the money.

On Saturday, after a large cooked brekkie, we walked out to Llanddwyn Island, which isn't truly an island and only gets cut off at very high tides. We looked around the pilots' cottages and lazed on the beach for an hour or so before walking to a relatively secluded cove. I've not swum off Anglesey since 2000, so I decided to brave the water, followed by mum and dad, while [livejournal.com profile] scarfell probably quite sensibly paddled. It wasn't the coldest I've ever experienced but it wasn't particularly warm either!

On the walk home, we came across a mussel bed and met a couple of brummie guys in a bright pink sea kayak, collecting mussels for their tea. I got all Ray Mears and collected a few, which we then made into the smallest ever moule marinere for dinner. It was very nice but quite gritty, even after cleaning the mussels carefully. Mum and dad barbecued some Moroccan lamb and sausages and I fell asleep while the others watched Casablanca after demolishing 3/4 of a bottle of red wine.

Today we had a look around Beaumaris and walked along the pier where lots of families were catching crabs. It was raining and a bit cold so in true British style we had icecream. There were a lot of very harried-looking seagull parents being followed around by their extremely large, very well fed, almost-fledged chicks. My parents made pithy comments about understanding how they felt.

The drive back was dreadful but it was worth it. I'm glad we got to go before the end of summer.
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Waste and recycling have become one of my big things of late, probably because of where I work. It's also due to my tendency to get slightly obsessive about things that interest me!

I got very excited at the weekend when I heard that my borough is finally introducing kerbside recycling, which will mean the end of my weekly pilgrimage to the recycling banks. The council really has got a bit better but they have been overly reliant on the good people doing their own thing and it's shown in the recycling stats for the area. I'm really interested to see how it will take off. I'm not entirely convinced by their planned setup - a new blue bin is going to be delivered in September, which will take steel and aluminium, paper, cardboard and plastic bottles. I'm not sure putting it all in the same receptacle is a great idea, as not everyone is going to rinse their tins and bottles before throwing them into the bin and that has the potential to contaminate the paper and card - but I'm not the expert here. Perhaps small amounts of contamination aren't a problem.

I am also trying out a Bokashi bin to compost all my kitchen waste so it can go in the black darlek compost bin outside. I got both types of bin discounted from the Recycle Now website. I put the first lot of leftovers and veg peelings in it this evening, squashed it all down, sprinkled on the bran mixture. Here's hoping it works out.

In other news, we might have found somewhere suitable to move to. I'm going to phone the agents tomorrow and get an answer on whether having guinea pigs is a problem. Having somewhere to live where things aren't shabby and breaking would be novel.

Completely unrelated to any of this, I have Girls Aloud on loop in my head. I think it's because it was playing in ASDA at lunchtime today. It needs to go away now.
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I have just realised that the 'thumpy thumpy dance music' I can hear outside is not the neighbours but Creamfields festival going on 3 miles away. Damn, it's loud.
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Been a busy weekend and week so far. At the weekend, when I wasn't failing miserably at 80s computer games, I was cleaning madly for the landlord visiting on Tuesday. Luckily, we took him literally when he said he wanted to "look around the house" as he did indeed go into every room. We still hadn't finished unpacking from the honeymoon, so it was a monster job. Still, the house looks nicer than it has in a long time, which is a plus.

Landlord gave us the thumbs up and then tried to flog us the house again. I think he must be very keen to offload it. We said no again.

Tonight I went over to [livejournal.com profile] anejo's and tried out her Guitar Hero. I sucked but it was immensely entertaining. We also played Wii tennis and boxing, which was great but not quite as awesome as Guitar Hero. In return I need to book her in for an evening when the neighbours are out for some Singstar. Last time we played it, the neighbours came around to complain - I maintain it was [livejournal.com profile] scarfell's rendition of Nickleback's How You Remind Me that tipped the balance!
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Just been killed by the "pale bulbous eyes". Earlier I got stuck in a loop where I escaped the goblin's dungeon only to be recaptured, again and again. Evidently I am no better at adventure games than when I was seven.

Also, my walkthrough has an error!

Geeky fun

Aug. 17th, 2008 10:09 am
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In work on Friday our new starter mentioned that she used to play Spectrum games when she was a kid and they'd had a text based adventure game based on The Hobbit. Cue much excitedness on my part, as until now I have seemed to be the only person that remembers this game. I was around seven, I never completed more than around 16% of the adventure and kept getting killed by the "staring bulbous eyes". My dad and I used to map out the rooms on big sheets of computer paper he brought home from work - and even then we never completed the adventure.

The Speccy has long since been stashed in the loft and, as ours was the first 48k version (with the rubber keys!) I doubt it works and I wouldn't even know how to plug it into a television screen.

I've downloaded Spectrum emulators before but this was 10 years ago and I was never able to find a copy of The Hobbit. So after co-worker and I had finished chatting I nipped on to the internets and, lo, I found references to the game on Wikipedia and even a walk through so I can cheat have some helpful hints if I am not any brighter than my seven year old self and still can't get past the bulbous eyes. Last night I downloaded myself an emulator and copies of The Hobbit, Harrier Attack, Manic Miner, Castle Spellerous (a very basic spelling game) and Paddington's Shopping Mixup.

This morning, if I can get the games to work, I will be indulging in a nostalgia fest, or a frustration fest. Depends how it all works out.


Aug. 6th, 2008 09:35 pm
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So very wrong in so many ways. Someone sent me a link to the Cake Wrecks site today. I can't decide whether my personal favourite is the James Bond wedding cake or the creepy dead baby cake. Works of genius!
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Melllting, I'm melllting. I like sunshine and I like warmth but OMG the humidity here at the moment is a real killer. Thank goodness for cold gin and tonics.

My folks and my sister have both gone away, which means I have sole responsibility for:

A cat
A tortoise
Two terrapins
Two Great African Land Snails
Houseplants including growing tortoise food
Outdoor plants

Must not screw up!
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I have a poorly guinea pig. Poor Amber has not been her usual perky hyperactive self so I took her to the vets, suspecting she had a UTI (urinary tract infection). Turns out she may have had that but she's also got some kidney stones poor thing. An x-ray today confirmed this. Luckily they're small enough to pass but... ouch. So I have some pain medication and instructions to make sure she always has enough water. She's already had a week of antibiotics and is a bit more active but seeing as this is my into-everything-plotting-to-take-over-the-world pig, then I'm still not so happy with how she's looking or behaving.

Here are some piccies taken with my new Canon EOS 400D. They're not fantastic as I've not figured out how to take good pics without the flash inside.

Cut for space )

Work is better-ish, although I have had an old project landed back on me, just when I thought I'd managed to escape. Boo. Hopefully it will only be for a couple of weeks though.
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Today [livejournal.com profile] scarfell and I joined a gym. And bought a squash racket for me. Atypical behaviour I know but something has to be done about our level of couch-potato-ness.

This British summer is decidedly British.

Glass of wine. Reduced Toulouse sausages and garlic butter beans for dinner - total price £1.60 for two, not counting wine. If we're feeling flush we might even rent a movie. No one drop dead of excitement - I know my life is too cosmopolitan for most to even contemplate...

Oh, also, have seen a Honda CRX (Del Sol for the US folks) advertised in the local paper. 1996, 50,000 miles. 1.6l ESI, navy blue. My Civic is ailing a bit, so it may be an opportune time to change. Going to view it tomorrow. Only problem is [livejournal.com profile] scarfell thinks that I would be buying it for him. Hahahaha. He can keep his stinky diesel.

Cat Cam!

Jun. 14th, 2007 12:43 pm
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Very cool. Some guy has attached a camera to his cat's collar. The pictures are here.

I've always wondered exactly what Menolly gets up to when she's out and about!
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It has been a fortnight for earworms. This is but a small sample of what my twisted mind has been torturing me with:

Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
Theme tune to The High Life
Nelly The Elephant
Criticise - not sure about this 80s track, think it may be Luther Vandross
Funky Gibbon - The Goodies

My unconscious has no taste.

Have nicked a meme from [livejournal.com profile] piyer. It's cut for length. LJ Questionnaire thingie )

Was [livejournal.com profile] penwing's birthday yesterday. [livejournal.com profile] scarfell and I committed the cardinal sin of buying something he already owns. Oops. So we now own a full set of the 80s animated series, Trapdoor, which is not such a bad thing in itself but not planned. Play.com have not delivered his other present, which I really, really hope he doesn't have!! The party at the Old Town House in Warrington was great fun - most of us tried the Safari stonegrill, which involved cooking your own bits of meat on a red hot stone. So I have now tried springbok, wildebeast, zebra and wild boar. Very interesting experience!

Now Heroes has finished (sob) we're stuck for a "signature" TV series. Have just started watching Life on Mars so I hope that will fill in. Soundtrack is fab.
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I am looking at broken links checkers. Does anyone have any experience with these? What makes a good one? Ideally, I'm looking for a piece of software, rather than an online one, though if people have any recommendations of good online ones I'm happy to check those out too.

I wish I knew more about this stuff. My web knowledge dates back to writing very basic sites as a student circa 1998.

The car valeting place next door to the office are playing Shakin Stevens loudly. That coupled with the theme tune to The High Life currently playing in my head is making my morning quite surreal.


Apr. 27th, 2007 05:39 pm
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Forgot to post this in the last entry. The guineas are notoriously difficult to photograph but I did get this one of Amber a couple of weeks ago when they went outside for the first time this year. She's begging for food through the bars of the run. The red thing is a piece of strawberry, which she then decided she didn't like.

Cut to save people's screens or if you don't like cute fluffy animals )


Apr. 27th, 2007 03:52 pm
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That would be me on my shiny new wireless internet. I'm not even remotely guilty that I've just spent most of my day off playing on it. I love working flexitime.

Cut for speedtest picture )

Faster than my old NTL connection. More expensive but Zen are supposed to be a reliable ISP so I'm not complaining too much. Plus they're in Rochdale, so I can always go and burn their offices down if they annoy me.

Since last posting, [livejournal.com profile] scarfell and I have finally moved into our new house after literally a couple of weeks of cleaning. The place had not been left in a particularly good state. The couple who rented it before us smoked and the husband was a butcher. We reckon they did about 55,923 roasts in the oven without cleaning it and didn't clean it when they left. We had to soak the shelves in the bath. And the fridge shelves and when I cleaned the paintwork, nicotine and tar ran down the walls. Mmmm.

We've got most of the cigarette smell out but for some reason the bathroom carpet reeks. Do people smoke in their bathrooms?? I am leaning towards throwing the entire thing out because when you turn the shower on and it gets all steamy, you get this interesting miasma of old cigarettes, which is really unpleasant.

Other than those setbacks, it really is a lovely place. We had a housewarming barbecue last weekend and it's starting to feel a lot more like home. The internet connection goes a long way towards this - when did we all get so dependent?!

The guinea pigs have moved in too. They're currently snoozing in their shoeboxes next to me while I type. Every now and then they'll pop out, swear at me to bring them food, realise that I'm not a sucker and then settle down again. I may give in and get them cucumber in a minute.

TV-wise, I'm currently addicted to the new series "Heroes". Thank goodness I found it because we'd just finished Battlestar Galactica and were starting to get withdrawal symptoms. I admit to being quite partial to the young Indian lead character.

I feel the need for another cup of tea.
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I have just sealed my gallop into middle age by having my first mention on BBC Radio 2. Whee!

Listeners were asked what wind-ups they'd participated in. I recounted how I managed to convince my younger sister that the water in the bath was just a layer with air underneath when we were both children. A couple of years later, I caught her holding her hands under the water. When I asked what she was doing she answered "waiting for my hands to dry". Mission accomplished! Bwahahaha! It got on the radio literally about two minutes after I emailed. Blimey! I suppose it is a bit weird. Damn, I wish my sister would listen to Radio 2.

In other news, I am jet-lagged. I've dragged myself home from work in a cabbage-like state and intend to sit and vegetate until someone feeds me and then vegetate some more. I felt vaguley okay yesterday but today I feel like something stomped on me.

Weird being back home. The culture shock is actually quite immense; more than usual. I think this is because we were over for two full weeks and did a lot more travelling this time in a hire car. My brain has got used to driving on the right. It's a good job my autopilot has been kicking in for well-known routes like the one to work. Glod forsake us all when I get on to an unknown road.

Off to enjoy my feelings of fame...
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[livejournal.com profile] astalavista or [livejournal.com profile] dasleben might be able to help me here. I'm looking for information on recycling in German. What is the most common term for recycling bin? I looked up Papierkorb on Wikipedia and got a fabulously detailed page on litter bins. My life is now complete. Is it Wiederverwertung Behälter?

Bah, my German sucks after all these years.

Ho hum, I feel so lucky to have such a varied and interesting job!
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