xmakina: (south park)

I had been hoping to get some overtime in last weekend, so cleared all my plans. Sadly, BT decided to play silly buggers and broke my phone line the week before so that was scuppered. Me and Una nipped into Oxford so I could pick a new wallet for Valentines (Una is getting a watch, we’re going with “stuff you’ll always have on you” this year). We came home via Cowley Road so we could have a rummage in the charity shops and Una found herself 3 more ponies, the response to spotting them being “poniesponiesponiesponies”. We came home in plenty of time to snuggle up and watch lots of Stargate and the snow starting to fall.

On Sunday we went for a walk around the two parks that separate Greater Leys from Blackbird Leys to enjoy the snow. It also seems the locals have a habit of standing in the snow smoking weed. Who knew? After our little walk we came home and planned to do chores but then we both felt quite ill so Una tried to sleep it off and I took it easy playing on my PC.

I had a job interview today which, if I get it, could be very exciting (and well paid). If I don’t, it’s no concern. It’s nice to be in that position.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

WIDATW

Jan. 30th, 2012 12:03 pm
xmakina: (south park)

Need/Want to get back into the habit of writing up at least a summary of what I’m doing with my time.

Hayley came over for the weekend, arriving Friday evening and she was on my bus home. We came home to find the internet, and indeed phone line was dead. Asked next door and same thing. Phoned up Plus.Net to sort it out. BT will apparently look at it on the 31st so clearly not a major outage. Suspicion is cable thieves. Bastards.

Since we couldn’t order any take-out, we had the closest thing to a “home” meal I’ve had in forever, scampi with mash, veg and gravy. Will definitely make that again. Since Una was away Friday night seeing Hannah, me and Hayley watched the last few episodes of Game of Thrones (which Una doesn’t like), so now we’re both psyched for Season 2!

On Saturday me and Hayley went on a charity shop run around Templar Square and Cowley road. First we went to Spoons though for a (now customary) breakfast from there. During our wanderings, Hayley got 2 plushy unicorns and some ponies, and then we struck jackpot when Hayley spotted a “party crate” (read Wooden box) edition of Apples-to-Apples for £4. Given we’d been looking at the standard edition in Gameskeeper for £30, this really is one of the best finds ever. We headed home and, after something of a saga involving left behind backpacks and cancelled trains, Una finally got home and we all enjoyed jacket potatoes and wine (well, Baileys for me, natch) in front of Jurassic Park and finished the night with Starship Troopers.

On Sunday I took the girls to Build-A-Bear for a Valentines present. They both really enjoyed themselves and there are lots of little touches I didn’t realise they did, such as putting in the heart before sowing the bears up and the birth certificate. Hayley got an adorable pink kitty she called Nymphadora and Una got a patchwork bear with a fedora hat she named Bradley. We then did a bit of browsing before heading over to O’Neils (an Irish bar Una really likes) for a nice big lunch and drinks until it was time for Hayley to head home. After walking Hayley to the station we headed home.

It was a lovely weekend and more than made up for the fact I’ve cancelled the next two weekends to get in some much needed overtime in for work.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)

So this Friday I moved from The Island to my new house! The new place is on a cul-de-sac in Greater Leys, a quiet suburb of Oxford so it’s a very pleasant part of the world. It’s a middle-of-3 terrace, with a kitchen and lounge downstairs and a bedroom and bathroom upstairs. It’s also got 2 good sized cupboards to store things in and a coat/shoe cupboard which is very much appreciated after 2 years of throwing coats wherever we can find!

The move started on the 23rd, when the contracts were exchanged and we’d been boxing things up ever since. On the evening of Thursday 29th, Jonty brought the van round and we spent the night loading everything on, finishing the job on Friday morning. On Friday morning we packed the bed and sofa bed and all the other bits and pieces that weren’t boxed up yet. I got a call about 12:30 explaining the sale had completed but the seller had not dropped the keys off which was a bit worrying. We pushed on, finished the packing and started to clean the place up when I got a phone call telling me the keys had been dropped off and we could come pick them up and move in!

We decided to leave at 2 to beat the traffic but ended up getting snarled in the school run and a 30 minute journey took nearly an hour! I collected the keys and we made the final push to the new house, arriving about 4. We started to unpack quickly, just putting boxes and furniture in the lounge. As part of the deal, I’d agreed to help Jonty collect a piano from Wiltshire and bring it back to his place in Bedfordshire, quite a big part of the day still lay ahead of us! I was able to introduce myself to the neighbours and we found out one of them wanted to leave about 5 so that gave us all the incentive we needed and by 5:20 the van was unloaded, Una had been cuddled and told to get some sleep (she came down with a nasty bout of sickness that morning and had spent most of the day napping) and me and Jonty were on the road again. Both of us were impressed how quickly and well that had gone! We’d even loaded up the washing machine that the owner had asked me to dispose of as a trade for the bedroom cabinet and a leather two seater in the lounge. Disposing ended up being completely free as Jonty wanted one so that was that!

The journey to Wiltshire was amazing. We passed through the Ridgeway (a Neolithic highway, containing stone circles and Stonehenge) as the sun was setting, creating a brilliant mix of colours in the sky and a low, bright, thin crescent moon to our left gave a real feeling of magic to the incredible landscape. We arrived and collected the piano (which became over an hour of pushing and pulling and lifting and pivoting) and set off back to Bedfordshire, arriving at some time past midnight. When we found the piano wouldn’t get between the door and the balustrade of the stairs, Jonty demonstrated one of the joys of home ownership and took a saw to the balustrade.

We put the piano in it’s room, dropped the van off and I was brought home for about 2am (2 hours ahead of schedule!) where I promptly cuddled up with Una on our bed in our cluttered new house, still a bit excited so we chatted for about 30 minutes before the adrenaline and excitement wore off and I finally fell asleep.

On Saturday, we had the gorgeous Indian Summer to welcome us in which was a marvellous start to the new place. We needed to get something in for breakfast as well as needing to do some exploring of the nearby furniture shops so we took a gentle stroll to the nearby Spar for breakfast pastries and then onto the bus into town. We priced up a few things and looked around for ideas as well as exploring the big retail park near us which has an Asda Home, TK Maxx and B&Q so plenty of shops to get the new house furnished if needed.

When we got home we prioritised and after a bit of worrying about the space we ended up getting the kitchen unpacked and in a state where we could at least make pasta carbonara! As we still hadn’t got anywhere to sit we sat out in the garden, with a good drink each, and enjoyed the cool of the evening. It was nice. It’s been ages since I’ve had a garden I want to actually sit in. Having realised we had nothing to sit on the next big task was building some things!

We discussed how the lounge was going to be laid out, only to realise we’d put the wrong table (the small one) upstairs and we needed to by a TV stand! We swapped the tables around and I built the big table which now houses Una’s Mac. Thankfully the alcove in the bedroom was big enough, but only by a few inches. We’d have been a bit stuck otherwise! The table built, I was ready to tackle the sofa bed and, with Una’s help, I was able to get it built. We’ve set it up as an actual sofa rather than the bed it used to be in. With the leather sofa left by the previous resident we now have 5 places to sit in the lounge which means no more faffing around when we have friends over. We can still drop it into a bed easily enough so the offer of crash space in Oxford still stands!

One thing we did realise was there was nowhere near enough space for the dining table as well so, as it hadn’t been used for eating on in well over a year, it was kept dismantled and stored in the cupboard. When we have company over we can move the lounge around and set it up in the centre for a dinner party, but otherwise we’re eating on a fold up table in front of the telly like philistines, which is just marvellous! We cuddled for a bit on our new sofa before heading to bed for an early night in front of QI episodes on the Mac, an excellent test passed with flying colours. The remote control is a real boon!

On Sunday we awoke early, neither of us sleeping too well owing to us still learning the new sounds. The main sound that kept confusing me is a low humming that I assume comes from the nearby power relay. It sounds like something is on downstairs or the heating is on and is quite disorienting whilst in that half-awake/half-asleep stage. After cuddles and realising we were quite hungry we treated ourselves to bacon and pancakes on the new cooker. The whole thing is gas but must be lit by a flame, a set up I’ve never encountered before and not really chuffed with. I’ll be talking to OCHA (our landlord organisation) about getting this improved.

Full of tasty noms we planned to head out early to avoid the worst of the sun but after going up and down the stairs only a few times I realised it had been nearly 3 days since my last shower and in this heat it was well beyond tolerable. The bathroom leaves a lot to be desired, the main offender being the shower. It is neither wall mounted nor, indeed, works. Again, a chat with OCHA today should get this sorted out. We both had a bath we thoroughly needed and then headed off to the shops.

We spent the worst of the heat in Templar Square (our nearby big shopping centre) and we eventually got the only TV stand that was both small enough to not be hit by the back door and in our budget. It was quite a bit heavy so after a few stops and rest we eventually got it home and built up. The telly looks lovely on it and with that built and rigged up, turns out I need a signal booster, I moved on to my PC. That has been set up in the back of the lounge, with the leather sofa at a right angle against it creating a nice second space in the room.

With the PC rigged up and only a few boxes left in the lounge we called it a day and sat down for some cheese and crackers. Me and Una chatted, since we couldn’t watch anything, worked out what still needed doing and cuddled for a bit before heading upstairs for a game of Gloom and then cuddling up for sleeps, feeling like the new house was slowly becoming a home.

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (south park)

So this weekend was, simply, awesome!

Backstory: A few parties ago Amy, Bobz and myself discussed the idea of getting together to play video games together and with recent needs to rebuild and strengthen my social life as well as the new Pokémon release, we decided to throw the whole thing last weekend. When I found out the lovely Hayley is also into Pokémon I invited her along and conversations on Twitter brought in the delightful Lola and Dan too! The stage was set for an awesome night of nerdery, pretty girls and hilarity.

The actual weekend kicked off Friday night with Hayley arriving into Oxford and us going out for Atomic Burger. Turns out you need to book a seat there for Friday nights, unsurprising really (the place is awesome, if you’re in Oxford you should go there). So, after some gentle coaxing that it’s not really that spicy I took Hayley to Nandos instead and we had tasty chicken burgers. Side note: I forgot how good proper mash potato is! As is tradition, after Nandos we went over to G&D’s for ice cream.

When we got back to The Island we were stuffed and I learnt that Hayley is also as big a Mistie as myself so we cuddled up on the sofa for “The Magic Sword”. We also had a Pokémon battle where I got my ass handed to me.

Saturday morning we got all our stuff together and headed off to London. The journey was swift and pleasant and aside from a bit of a mix up with buying a ticket and the underground not letting us out we got to the House of Joy 2.0 for 4:30. The evening was a heady mix of Pokémon battles, geekery, cuddles and sushi (well, noodles for me but still super tasty). We all turned in for about midnight after a wonderfully fun evening.

Sunday was also a lot of fun and we came home in the middle of the afternoon, with plenty of time to have tasty Chinese at The Island in front of “Hercules And The Captive Women” and then cuddles before turning in for the night.

This morning I had to leave Hayley in Oxford as her train wasn’t until 11:30 but I pointed her in a few directions and the photos suggests she had a fun time exploring the city!

A truly excellent weekend, yes! Now I’m counting the hours down to Wednesday when Una will be coming back to The Island for my birthday…

Originally posted at Contradiction In Terms. Please leave a comment there.

xmakina: (Default)
So I should probably report back on what I've been up to. France is the big one, a week long holiday in a châteaux in the Loire Valley with the House of Joy 'n' Friends. Honestly, there was so much good stuff that I don't think I'll remember even half of it. Suffice to say, second best holiday ever. (The best was when me and [profile] miss_amaranth got engaged, so it's only second on a technicality!)

Highlights:
Losing a few years due to the stress of surviving Parisian roads. Huge thanks to [profile] lord_don for not getting us killed, despite the French trying super hard.
Being awoken by a beautiful sounding owl at 6am and only being able to think "STFU STUPID OWL".
Waking up in a châteaux, in France. Sure beats Backdane!
Getting to meet some very lovely new people.
Getting to know some people much better.
Finding more kitties to fuss and be fussed by!
Cthulhu Chicken, Cthulhu Piggy (gribble!) and Failboat.
Purely cuddle cuddle pile.
[profile] werenerd being as awesome as always.
Tasty tasty food. Especially chocolate bread. Nom!
Lounging around in the pool, naked with many lovelies.
Losing 3 hours cuddled and (accidentally) napping with [personal profile] serina_ds.
Missing [profile] fred_wednesday, making every day feel that little bit longer.
Playing Underground.
Watching the beautiful people.
Rebooting the Castle.
A mouthful of cereal watching a naked (and very bouncy) [personal profile] emanix gather up ice and warm water.
Carrying on as normal afterwards.
Gaming with [profile] lord_don.

"Heaven is lying on a comfy mattress, in front of a fire, being stroked by 2 beautiful girls as they watch you play Pokémon."

I can't thank [profile] werenerd and [personal profile] emanix (and everyone else involved in putting the whole thing together) enough for such a wonderful holiday! And everyone who was there, thank you for making it as amazing as it was.

ION: Me and [profile] fred_wednesday are doing really nicely. We've been on a date, spent lots of time together and I'm very very glad I'm on a contract with unlimited texts *grin*

And, as I have already mentioned, I've blagged myself a new job! Awesome times! It's working for a pretty specialised company, developing a web based application in C#. They're really eager to get me started so I hope to be there from Nov 1st. It's in Summertown at the moment, with plans to move to Cowley at some point. The better pay means that, hopefully, I'll finally be able to stop watching every bloody penny (as I have been doing since I lost my job at Andrew Francis, despite being employed ever since!) which will be nice. It should also mean I have a few quid for actually treating people with. Also, as I'm going to need a bus pass anyway, doing things in Oxford has become a lot less expensive as I won't have to pay the bus fare any more! Also, as I'll be in Oxford already meeting up with friends after work can certainly be considered too!

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xmakina

February 2012

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