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Showing posts from 2010

New Year's Eve

Squash was a bit of a disaster on Wednesday - I drew with Pete 1-1 (with yet another marathon game which finished 18-16 to me but left me pretty exhausted), 1-1 with Jonathan (and even then he was injured in the game I beat him in), beat James 4-0  but lost 2-0 to Will, so Will is now only 1 game behind me overall (26-25). I'm definitely suffering due to not being fit enough, it's just about finding time and energy to do something about it. I've also got a mark on my arm where Will smashed a ball against it (accidentally):


We've got a house full of junk food which needs to be eaten (such hardship!) but so far I've put on half a stone over Christmas and I don't want to put any more on, so will have to go for a few walks.

We don't have any plans tonight, and we might not even stay up until midnight! Anna got Inception on DVD for Christmas so we might sit and watch that with a pizza.

Christmas

The bulk of the festivities are now over, I'm back to work and things are mostly back to normal now.
We had a few friends over on Christmas Eve, as we can't really go out anywhere late in the evening, so we just had a few drinks and snacks and had a nice time. Christmas went much better than I'd been expecting, most of the things that I'd thought might have caused me stress didn't materialise and everyone seemed happy, especially Nicky who now has a mountain of new toys!
The last few days we've been at Anna's parents and my mum's, and we've been able to relax a little whilst the grandparents look after Nicky. We've even had two reasonable nights of sleep, Nicky hasn't been sleeping well due to his teeth but hopefully we're over the worst of it.
Got squash tonight, it's going to be interesting after all the food I've eaten in the last week!

Pub crawl

Saturday was supposed to be the day for our annual pub crawl from Hadleigh to Rayleigh, but unfortunately due to the snow we didn't get anywhere near Rayleigh. We did make it to Hadleigh, but in the time the bus took to crawl it's way there the snow was a few inches thick and the bus probably wasn't going to get much further due to hills etc. So instead we retreated back to Southend and went to a few pubs there. The enforced break in drinking was probably a good thing due to my lack of stamina these days, but we still managed to get onto vodka jellies before the night was out!

Christmas shopping is now complete thanks to the final Amazon parcel being delivered yesterday. Now we've just got to get everything wrapped, no mean feat as far as Nicky's presents are concerned!

We're going to have six people playing squash tomorrow so have got two courts between us, it's going to be absolutely knackering I'm sure!

Squash pain

Last night we were all handed a lesson in squash by Jimmy, who played with us for the first time. Despite his protestations that he 'wasn't that good', he beat all of us without losing a game, thanks to his greater stamina and shot selections. I started having some joy against him in my final game, but by that stage I was exhausted - this was mainly thanks to my first match of the night against Pete where I just beat him (16-14) but hurt my back in the process. After that I was running on adrenaline for the rest of the night, and ended up losing 2-1 in games to both Will and Pete, and 3-0 to Jimmy.

It's good to have someone new to play against though, as it means we'll all hopefully learn from Jimmy and rise to his standard - we had been in danger of getting a little stale as we'd learned everyone else's tactics. It's also good that I was thoroughly exhausted at the end, hopefully it'll build up my stamina a little!

It's Christmas

Noddy Holder has said so (heard him saying it yesterday) so it's now Christmas. The Christmas tree is up, most of the shopping is done, just need to prepare as much as possible before the big day. Still need to wrap presents etc...

Had a reasonably good weekend, apart from the football (Hodgson out please!) Went into London for lunch with my mum and brother, went out Saturday night for a friend's birthday (although drove rather than drank) then yesterday went into town to get a few bits. This is as exciting as life gets with a family :-) Not that I'm complaining at all. I've arranged to have next Saturday off to celebrate All-C***s day (it's a long story).

I've now finished the Millennium Trilogy, and have started reading a book about freelancing which I bought in the SitePoint Christmas sale.

Optimistic?

For now, things seem to be going OK, apart from the usual lack of sleep caused by the young master. Last night I received an email from my manager telling me that all of my performance metrics were in the green and that she was very pleased with my work, and this morning I received an email showing the stats for everyone and I'm one of only a few to have met all the targets. I'm very pleased about this!

Also, last night I received a Christmas hamper from one of my web development clients, which was a really nice gesture as it was so unexpected. So I'm feeling good about all of my work for a change.

Getting close to Christmas now, need to finish up my shopping.

Only 10% left of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest left, really enjoyed the trilogy, will have to check out the films (the Swedish ones obviously).

Snow

Well, so much for my previous entry saying that there hadn't been any snow - we had a great deal of it in the past week! Nicky and I made a snowman in the back garden (well, he helped a little bit, so I have to take full responsibility for how rubbish it is!)


Anna did make it a bit better, but sadly we didn't take a photo and he's mostly melted away now.

So we've mostly spent the week being very cold (although I did finally find out how to turn the heating up a couple of days ago which helped). In other news, I've got most of mine and Nicky's Christmas shopping sorted, just one or two more small items to get.

I've been reading the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson and am on to the third book - have been unable to put them down, I can see why they're so popular (and they're much better than Dan Brown). I'm going to be sad when I've finished the last one knowing that there won't be any more.

Nicky met Father Christmas for the first time …

Freezing

It's been a very cold weekend, we've not had much of the snow the rest of the country has had but the heating has been on! We've not done much really, we went to Leigh on Saturday afternoon to try and find some Christmas presents but had no joy, yesterday I took Nicky to B&Q to get some draught excluders (which seem to have made a slight difference, hard to tell really!)

Other than that, more of the same really. The build up to Christmas has started, will have no excuses come December for not putting up the decorations etc. Most of our shopping has been done (Anna is very organised when it comes to present shopping!) so just a few odd bits to get online left now.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Last night we went out to the cinema for the first time in 20 months - the last film we saw in a cinema was Watchmen,  just before Nicky was born.

We went out for a meal beforehand, to Charlie Choy's, which wasn't particularly good. For most of the meal there were only two occupied tables in there, which for a buffet means the food isn't refreshed very often. There was a decent range of food available but it was average at best. They did do Anna a stir-fry from scratch though, and did me a fresh garlic naan. The dessert was OK too. Don't think we'll go back there in a hurry though, I've got a really dry mouth this morning.

Then we went to the Odeon, which hasn't changed at all since the last time I went there (must be about 11 years ago?) I'd booked to see a 'digital' viewing which promised better sound and a clearer picture, but I can't say I noticed much of a difference. The film itself I thought was really good, it was pretty bleak and di…

Karting

I went karting last Saturday with Will and a few of his friends. There were 7 of us altogether, I only knew 2 of them but it was still fun. We were doing a sprint meeting, which consisted of 15 practice laps, 15 qualifying laps and a 30 lap final. I knew when one of Will's friends bought his own helmet and overalls that we were racing for 2nd place, after practice I was 3rd fastest and felt fairly confident of a podium, but I got held up a little in qualifying and only managed 4th place on the grid.

The final was pretty good, as for most of it 2nd, 3rd and 4th were bunched up together, but I finally made a move for 3rd with a few laps left, there was a little bit of contact but I was on the inside so I think it was fair? After that I had a few goes at 2nd but he was too good at blocking, and I didn't really have time to attack, plus I was trying to fend off 4th!

I was pretty happy with 3rd considering, although only the top 2 places got trophies! We then got the laptimes and I…

Unfit

I guess I must just be unfit, because my legs are really aching after playing squash last night. I thought I was getting fitter, but maybe because the games are getting harder and longer now I'm having to exert myself more. I suppose eventually I must get fitter, right?

I really struggled last night though, for some reason I just didn't feel as able to move around the court as I'd have liked, so I only drew 1-1 with Will and Pete and beat James 2-0, even then they were all close games. Whilst we were there, there were some club games going on. We watched some and it was like watching the Premier League in comparison to our Sunday League games. One of the kids we heard was fourth in the UK at Under-17 level, and he was only 15. The games were brilliant to watch, although I feel distinctly amateur now!

Other than that, not much is new. I've started reading 'The Merry Wives of Windsor' on the Kindle. It definitely seems easier and quicker to read on the Kindle, ma…

More X Factor shenanigans

X Factor just becomes even more of a joke as the weeks go by. However the saddest thing is that I still watch it, although most of the time reading peoples' tweets about it is more entertaining than the programme itself. The idea of an 'Elton John' week was I guess a response to Elton John saying that the programme is rubbish, however the programme makers have only proved him right. The singing was almost completely awful, none of them have the so-called X Factor and whoever wins will no doubt be going the same way as Leon, Shane, Joe etc. At least Katie is still in, it wouldn't be half as much fun without someone to dislike so much.

I've been reading more than normal recently - that is, more than normal since Nicky came along. I finished Mark Kermode's autobiography a few days ago. It was entertaining but I had hoped for something a bit more exhaustive, it wasn't really that long and there wasn't that much that I didn't already know. I can't be…

I thought exercise is supposed to make you fitter?

If that's the case, why am I aching so much this morning after playing squash last night? I guess one explanation is that as we all improve, the rallies last longer and we have to work a lot harder in each game. I was quite lucky last night though, in the sense that as I won my first game I always had a rest after every game, whilst the others sometimes had to play 2 in a row. But even so, my legs are pretty tired today.

I had been aching beforehand so I didn't think I was going to play too well, but I beat Will 11-0 in the first game :-) Overall things went pretty well, I beat Will 2-1, James 3-0 and Pete 2-1. So my overall scores since we started are now 21-15 against Will, 25-7 against James and 18-8 against Pete.

Apart from squash, I'm feeling pretty stressed at the moment, work seems to be piling up, which is good in the sense that I like being paid, but it's all quite stressful stuff with deadlines...

X Factor nonsense

Now, I've known for ages that the X Factor is quite unlikely to unearth some genuine music talent, but I still watch it for the entertainment value (go Wagner!) and the soap-opera element with the judges bickering. I know this is all staged for my benefit, yet the nonsense that is going on to keep Katie Waissel in the show is ridiculous. In a way I'm glad she's kept in, in a way, because at least she's entertaining and I need someone on there to really hate!

Had a quiet weekend at my mum's house. We bought a few fireworks to set off in the garden, but I don't think Nicky was too impressed, he would seem excited at some and then demand to go inside! He definitely didn't like the rockets. Probably a good thing we had decided to do that rather than go to a proper show.

Squash last week wasn't too good as I lost again to Will 3-2. He's starting to get better which is annoying me! Overall I'm 19-14 up against him, I'd really like to increase that…

Curmudgeon

There's definitely something about being a parent that makes you annoyed at things you previously didn't mind too much. This weekend just passed was annoying in the evenings because some locals decided they would set off fireworks. Normally I'd have just thought nothing of it, but when we're trying to get Nicky to sleep it's extremely frustrating! Plus it was the wrong weekend anyway - at least we expect it this weekend, but last weekend it's purely annoying.

On the other hand, I have always despised Halloween as being a way of teaching children how to beg, and would previously just sit in with the lights off pretending to be out. But we bought some chocolates just in case, and we turned it into a game where when the knock on the door came, we'd get Nicky to go to the door and scream when he saw the outfits. He really seemed to like it, so now I'm torn. He's still not going to be allowed out trick or treating though!

I finally finished reading Bleak…

Sore today

I played squash last night, and I'm really aching today - I thought as I played more I'd feel less achy but last night was the toughest set of matches yet I think. Both myself and Will had new racquets, he had gone for a power based one but I'd gone for a more balanced one. Unfortunately, he seemed to get into the swing of things straight away whereas it took me a little time to get used to the balance of the racquet. I lost my first five games in a row! Normally I start off well, then tire and start losing. However once I got the hang of it I won my last five games, including being 10-0 up on Will at one point (he got me back to 11-2 unfortunately!)

Overall, Will beat me 3-2, I beat Pete 3-2 and Pete beat Will 3-2, so no overall winner this week. We're all fairly evenly matched at the moment.

Once I got used to it, the new racquet definitely made a difference, especially the tension in the strings - my old racquet was 12 years old and had never been restrung so had ver…

Feeling old

I don't know if it's the weather, my lingering illness or just generally now being old (30, I still can't believe it!) but I'm not feeling great at the moment. I'm working under a blanket, as my office is a bit untidy and I can't reach the radiator to turn it on. Reading that last sentence back, it sounds very pathetic! But I don't have the time or inclination to sort it out right now, I have to work, then when I've worked I feel tired/lethargic etc.

I've bought a new squash racquet, mostly thanks to Pete, Will and James who clubbed together to get me a voucher from Decathlon for my birthday. Sadly it's bright orange in places, but it's the one that met most of my requirements. I know I'm never going to be a power player and in fact prefer placing my shots well, so I've gone for a mixed racquet rather than a power-based one, and I've gone for an 'advanced' level one as I feel I'm better than a beginner but not yet an …

Manic Street Preachers at Cliffs Pavilion, Southend

Last night reminded me why I loved the Manics so much in the first place.

I don't know if it's just because I'm getting old (thirty now) or if I'm settled down and have less time to devote to music, gigs etc. but the excitement levels pre-gig weren't as high as they might have been even five years ago. The venue too seemed strange considering eleven years ago I saw them in the Millennium Stadium. It definitely seemed like a gig for older people, looking around it was difficult to spot any obvious Manics fans, apart from the ones at the barrier - there were quite a lot of grey haired people about!

The support act were British Sea Power. Hmmm, yeah. I'd seen them once before but can't remember where or anything about them, and this was pretty much the same I'd have to say. They had a violinist on stage but I couldn't hear it anywhere in the mix. I did like their T-shirts though, one said 'Heron addict' and the other said 'I just don't …

Mark Watson Kicks Off

Last night we went to see the filming of Mark Watson's new ITV4 programme, Mark Watson Kicks Off. It's basically a TV version of Fighting Talk, and the guests last night were Graham Taylor, Simon Day and Josh Widdicombe. I'd heard Simon Day and Graham Taylor on FT before and they were both very good, in fact Graham Taylor was brilliant, who'd have thought you could get so many laughs out of Wayne Rooney? Josh Widdicombe was pretty good too.

The best bit was that because Anna was invited by Mark Watson through his blog, we not only got to skip the queue at the entrance but also got to go into the green room (which isn't green) afterwards. There's something extremely bizarre about standing in room where famous people are drinking. I'd spent the whole show thinking about which characters Simon Day played in the Fast Show and it was only after we left that I remembered he was Monkfish! He's a lot taller than I imagined him to be.

So after 30 years I finally…

Birthday

I'm 30 today. Thus far it hasn't been a day to remember, I've been up most of the night due to the young master refusing to sleep.

On Saturday we went out for a meal to La Romantica in Rayleigh. I'd never been before but had it recommended to me by a few people, and I have to say it was really good food, the steak was perfectly done and the sauce had just the right amount of kick to it. There were quite a few of us out and I think everyone enjoyed the meal.

Afterwards we went out to the pub for a quick drink before heading to the Brush. This was to be my downfall, as I was given two shots of Aftershock to down as well as a pint. I seemed to be coping OK at this point, and we headed to the Brush.

Once inside I had the traditional Rodney and had a bit of a dance to Love Will Tear Us Apart, but not long after I headed to the toilets for what I thought was a tactical vomit. After I'd finished there was a knock on the cubicle door, and some bouncers told me I had to lea…

Rhod Gilbert

One thing I wanted to mention in my previous entry is that we went to see Rhod Gilbert at the Cliffs, doing his show 'Rhod Gilbert And The Cat That Looked Like Nicholas Lyndhurst'. The support was someone called Lloyd Langford, who is apparently Rhod's flatmate and is also on his new TV programme 'Ask Rhod Gilbert'. He was pretty funny, took a swipe at Canvey which is an easy laugh here really!

Rhod then started and within 5 seconds was having a go at people blinding him with their camera flashes :-) He didn't really calm down from there and spent the whole set being quite angry, but in a very funny way - I was crying with laughter at some points! I haven't laughed that much in a long time.

We're going to see Mark Watson's new TV programme being filmed on Monday, which is also my 30th birthday...

Meh

It's been a long couple of weeks, Anna and Nicky have both been ill so I've been pretty knackered. I thought I had escaped getting ill but I've got a sore throat and runny nose so I'll probably get it, just in time for my birthday next week, joy!

I'm sure there was something I wanted to write about but I can't remember at present. My memory seems to be going - I used to be able to remember absolutely everything but these days it's not so good. Not sure if it's tiredness or old age or what!

Second scan

Yesterday we had the 20 week scan on the new bump (Fernan-dos? We can't think of a good name, and if we did it would probably confuse Nicky so we'll just have to call it the bump), and everything is going well and there was nothing to report.

Here's a scan of baby 2!

Granddad

Two weekends ago my brother and I went down to Somerset to visit my Granddad (my Dad's dad). We hadn't seen him in something like 15 years due to various reasons that I'm not going into, and we were both quite nervous about how it was all going to go. But thankfully the day went really well.

First of all we went to our Auntie Anne and Uncle Chris's house for lunch and to have a quick catch up, it was amazing how the house looked pretty similar to how I remembered it but the garden had completely changed! We had a look through some photos, there were some of Dad and some of us as kids that I hadn't ever seen (some of which were really embarrassing!) and some really nice ones. There's one of me as a boy where I look exactly like Nicky does now, apart from being slightly more Chinese. I've got scans of some of them, but hopefully next time we go down I can get a few more.

After lunch we went to see Granddad. I had been really nervous about how he would react t…

Haraki

I had loads to write about our holiday, but this is probably just going to be a quick entry as I really want to write about last weekend before I forget about it and it's a lot more important to me than the holiday was.

Despite our worries about Nicky on the plane, on the beach etc. we probably couldn't have asked for it to be any better. He actually fell asleep whilst the plane was taking off! He's slightly too long to lie on just one of us comfortably, but overall the flights weren't too bad, and it's great to be able to queue jump at the gate, especially as it was easyJet...

Haraki is pretty much the same as it was last time. We spent most of our days relaxing on the beach at the hotel end of the bay, with me trying not to get burned (I managed 3 days, a new record) whilst Nicky was happy running around getting tanned. He really enjoyed it, and made friends wherever he went, especially with Manolis at the Haraki Bay Hotel who must have got very fed up with clean…

So close...

Only two and a half more days of work before I can down tools and prepare for our holiday! I've never looked forward to a holiday so much... Thankfully I'm more or less over my dodgy stomach, so I can indulge whilst in Rhodes.

Lying on the beach will give me an opportunity to test out my new toy - I've got a shiny new Kindle :-) It's the 3G version so I'll be able to browse the web for free too, the browser isn't brilliant but it's decent enough considering it shouldn't even really be there.

I finally found the time to sit down and write to my Grandad last week. It felt very strange writing a letter using a pen, I haven't written that much since I wrote to Anna whilst I was at University. I've heard from my Uncle and my Aunt that Grandad was very pleased to receive the letter and that he has written back, and hopefully we'll be able to go and see him soon.

Squash tonight, hopefully I can build on last week and beat Will!

Under the weather

I've had a dodgy stomach for the past week and a half, which seems to come and go as it pleases. I don't think it was due to the barbecue as no-one else has said anything when I've asked them. I've not eaten anything out of the ordinary! At the moment it's coupled with feeling very tired as Nicky hasn't been sleeping well over the last few nights. Our holiday can't come soon enough!

I played squash last night - we've decided to stop playing tennis as it's getting too dark in the evenings now, and we definitely made the right choice last night as it rained quite heavily. It's been about 10 years since I last played squash but we got back into it quite quickly. I beat James 4-1 but lost out to Will 3-2 - I was 2-1 up but I tired towards the end.

Barbecue

We had a barbecue at ours this weekend which was fairly successful, thankfully the rain held off for most of the day and apart from a small burn on my little finger I survived cooking unscathed! The new barbecue seems pretty decent, good job too after it took me an hour and a half to put together (made a mistake which took 20 minutes to undo and redo, grrrr).

Apart from that, the 'major' news is that Nicky is now sleeping in his own room which we've finally finished decorating. He's been in there since last Thursday and so far it seems to be going really well!

More teeth, more children

Last week was a very long week. Nicky had his bottom two pre-molars coming through, which meant we had three sleepless nights. Thankfully he seems much more comfortable now, and we're even getting some nights where he sleeps right through which is something we're not going to be able to get used to...

Yes, last Tuesday we went for a scan at the hospital to confirm that Anna is pregnant again!We've known for a few weeks but wanted to wait until the scan to announce it a bit more publicly. Here are the scan pictures:


The due date is mid-February, so if it's anything like Nicky it will be March...

Sold

Finally, our flat has been sold! Hopefully the cheque will be arriving today or tomorrow so I can pay off some debts. It's a huge load off my mind, and I'm looking forward to shredding a whole load of paperwork.

Further to my previous blog entry, I decided to go for the 'normal' Manics album with signature - it's unlikely I'd ever listen to the second CD more than once anyway, I certainly didn't with Journal For Plague Lovers. Plus it's not like limited edition CDs are worth anything any more - I remember the days of paying a fortune for rare limited editions of things, but now they're hardly worth any more than the normal editions so not really worth the extra money.

Now the main thing I'm thinking about is writing a letter to my Grandad. I'd like to get something written by the end of the week, I've thought a lot about what I want to write but it's just about finding time to commit it to paper. Time isn't something I have a lot…

Manics rant

It seems that the solution to me feeling so tired is to go to sleep earlier - I went to sleep at about 9.30pm last night and didn't feel too terrible this morning when the master woke us up. However, work is making me feel a bit weary. I'm trying to work longer days Monday-Thursday so that I don't have to work on Friday, as we're going to Colchester Zoo for Anna's birthday (which is on Saturday).

I heard the new Manics single yesterday - seems like a return to Everything Must Go days, although the production is also very Gold Against The Soul-era. The single is promising, although I'm a bit annoyed by them offering a signed album if you get a pre-order from Play - you can only get the 'normal' edition signed, not the 'deluxe' edition - so you either get a signature and not all of the tracks, or all of the tracks without a signature. This seems to be an attempt by Sony to fleece the die-hards, but surely there aren't that many die-hards left?…

A very long week

This week seems to have dragged on and on. The main reason for this has been Nicky deciding that 5am is a good time to wake up, and as Anna hasn't been feeling too well I've had to get up and entertain him before starting work. He wasn't too bad today though, so am feeling slightly more human.

It was only me and Will playing tennis on Wednesday, and I'm still knackered as a result of playing singles for an hour and a half. Despite losing 0-6 (without a net), 1-6 (with a net) it was quite close - in the 1-6 set every game went to at least 40-30 and I got to deuce on all of Will's serves, I think tiredness got the better of me though. We then played doubles with two randoms who were on the next court, apparently one of them played for a local club and was much better than us, yet with him on my team we still lost 3-6!

Very glad it's the weekend, I may not get a lie-in but at least I won't have to work!

Feeling a bit better

As I mentioned last week, I went to see my Uncle David on Saturday to talk about my Dad. I was really nervous and anxious about it, but I think everything turned out OK, and we've got a platform now to try and work things out from, and hopefully we can all move on with things. I still have lots of things to think about and work out internally, but things seem to be getting a bit easier.

Nervous

Tomorrow I'm going to see my Uncle David for the first time in quite a few years, to talk about my Dad. I'm very nervous, but have been blocking everything out up to now. I'm sure it will be fine, but part of me can't wait until after tomorrow when it is over.

Lovely rain

After how ever many weeks of sun we've had, I've never been so happy for it to rain. It's finally cooled down and the humidity has gone, and Nicky didn't stir until 6.30am today so it was a pretty decent nights sleep!

The World Cup has finally ended after what seemed like an eternity. I will be very happy if I never hear another vuvuzela ruining a football match! Now back to worrying about proper football...

Tennis

I've been playing tennis once a week for quite a while now, and I'm slowly but surely getting better and fitter. My biggest problem initially was hitting the ball too hard - I hadn't played real tennis since I was about 16 so I think I was playing like it was Wii Sports! I've managed to get a bit more precision with my shots and start using spin, but I'm still a long way from being 'good'. My serve is getting better but it seems to be a choice of either accuracy or power, not both.

I've been thinking of buying a PSP, but am trying to find a cheap one - I bid on a couple on eBay last night but gave up once they got past £50. I find it slightly amusing that a brand new PSP Go costs £250 yet the Xbox 360 Slim is still £50 cheaper!

Still very tired

As it's been so hot recently, Nicky hasn't been sleeping well at night, meaning that neither of us get any sleep too.

It's almost two weeks since I saw Mik Artistik's Ego Trip at Glastonbury, and I still have 'Jimmy Savile's Got My Album' stuck in my head. Sadly this isn't on Spotify, but can be listened to at Mik's MySpace page. There are quite a few of his other songs on Spotify though.

The World Cup is almost over thankfully - I'll be glad when I can watch football without having to hear any bloody vuvuzelas. Tonight's match between Spain and Germany should be interesting, although I'll most of it as I'm going to play tennis. I'm inclined to support Spain due to the Liverpool connection, although a Netherlands vs Germany final would be one hell of a grudge match...

Glastonbury 2010

Whilst I've probably not fully recovered, it's better to get things written down whilst I can still remember them. For once, my memories are not inhibited by alcohol consumption, because it was far too hot to get drunk during the day, and at night the most drinks I had was 3. Plus of course it wasn't fair on Anna if I were to get drunk and not help with Nicky.

We left early on the Wednesday, hoping to get onsite and get the tents up so that we'd have plenty of time to watch the football. Unfortunately, it seemed that most other people had the same idea, and it took us two hours to get in once we'd parked up. This was then followed by a very sweaty climb to family camping, where we just about managed to squeeze our tents in. We got to the Pyramid with about half an hour left of the second half - I don't think we really missed much.

Here's a list of all the bands that I saw:

Mik Artistik's Ego Trip


We ended up seeing Mik twice, once in the Avalon CafĂ© and …

Apathy

I'm now officially bored of the World Cup. Whilst I have still seen some part of all but one of the games (I missed Holland vs Japan as we went out for lunch) I've mostly lost interest. The main reason for this is probably how badly England are doing, but none of the games have really been that entertaining, and the vuvuzelas mean there's no real atmosphere at the games. Part of me won't be that bothered if we don't go through on Wednesday, as it'll mean I don't have to worry about where to watch the second round game at Glastonbury.

Speaking of which, only two days to go until Glastonbury! I'm all packed and ready to go. I'm still underwhelmed by the lineup, but we'll be taking things easier anyway because of Nicky so maybe that's not a bad thing. The best moments usually come about unexpectedly anyway.

World Cup

So far I've managed to watch all 8 games, and there have been some good points and bad points. The lows would definitely include Robert Green's inability to handle a ball, ITV HD's ineptitude, the whole Algeria vs Slovenia game and those bloody vuvuzelas. There have been some good games though, Germany vs Australia was pretty good and Argentina are going to be fun to watch thanks to the unpredictability of Maradona.

I'm not particularly optimistic about England's chances based on the first game, Lampard went missing (as per usual) and Rooney was quiet, whilst Heskey showed why his scoring record is so abysmal. On top of that, I managed to lose some money thanks to misreading the terms of the free bet on Paddy Power (well, that and Robert Green).

Big Brother

As usual we sat down to watch the first show, which we've done for the past few years before realising we hate all the housemates and we don't watch any of the other programmes. Last night was heading the same way, until they picked the last housemate's name from the tombola. When the ball came out saying 'Mario Mugan' I thought surely not, I know a Mario Mugan! Indeed, it turned out to be the one I know. I've not been in contact with him for a few years due to various friends falling out, but it's so weird seeing someone in there that I know. I've found myself watching the clips on the Big Brother website to see how he's getting on. I guess with this and the World Cup I'm going to be watching a lot of TV!

Rage Against The Machine at Finsbury Park

Last night I went to Rage Against The Machine's free gig in Finsbury Park, which was set up as a celebration of the successful Christmas number one campaign. I decided to drive to Walthamstow and get the tube, as the Circle line was out of action all weekend so getting the train would have been a nightmare. However, I ended up getting the tube at Blackhorse Road because I couldn't find the car park at Walthamstow, grrr.

I got to Finsbury Park at about 5pm and made my way inside. My first thought was 'why is there a funfair here?' After a while it became obvious that a large percentage of people there wouldn't be able to name more than one Rage song and that the funfair was aimed at these people. Oh well.

The first support act were Gallows. They were OK, but I thought the lead singer was a bit full of himself, which is probably a requisite in a good lead singer but I found him a little tiresome.

After Gallows had finished I decided to go and get a T-shirt, but despi…

Lost

I realise that I forgot to write about the end of Lost last week. I'd been worried that the series was going to end with no questions answered, and while quite a few were left unanswered enough was tidied up for me to be satisfied with it. I thought the idea of the flash-sideways being an 'afterlife' was a bit of a cheap way of ending it, but I can't think of any other way they could have done it. Not sure what else there is to watch now, we've been watching Lost for 121 hours over 6 years, quite a long time!

I've completed Mass Effect 2 and Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past in the last week. Going to go back to No More Heroes 2 now, then might get Mario Galaxy 2.

Manic Street Preachers are playing the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend in October. Bit of a comedown from the Millennium Stadium in 1999, but will be interesting to see them in a smaller venue, Blur were amazing there last year.

Preparing for Glastonbury

It's getting close to Glastonbury now, so starting to get slightly panicky about what we'll need to take, especially as we'll have Nicky with us this year, things are going to be pretty different! I find that the list at The Gorge is pretty comprehensive, so I usually base things around that and go from there. So far I've ordered some pee bags (because I hate waking up at 6, getting dressed and trudging to the toilets) and a rain suit for Nicky. I'm now looking at getting a messenger bag to carry around during the day, as I don't really like having a rucksack in crowds - I'm paranoid about people being able to get at it whilst I'm watching bands, plus it can knock people about. The past couple of times I've taken a smaller man bag but it's never really been big enough, and this year I'll have to carry stuff for Nicky too so it's time for an upgrade!

I played tennis again this week - I had a pretty shoddy first set, playing with James (ag…

Tennis

I played tennis last night for the first time in about 10 years. Considering my lack of any sporting activity for about six months I think I did quite well - playing in doubles, I won the first set 6-1 but lost the second set 8-6 (after being 4-0 up!) I was definitely getting tired towards the end which didn't help my concentration, and I made a few sloppy shots. I was also guilty of hitting it long quite a few times - have to get used to not just hitting it as hard as possible like I do on the Wii!

It definitely helped not having to carry so much weight around - I weighed myself this morning and I'm down to 12 stone. This is a loss of about 3 stone since September, which has mostly come about from not eating bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast every morning, eating a healthier reduced-salt diet (because we eat what Nicky eats) and walking a lot more. I've got some printouts from the local Boots weighing machine which show my progress, I'll scan them and put them up…

Getting things done

I've finally almost cleared my 'to-do' list - for now, all that remains is 'do online tax return'. It's taken about three weeks but almost all of the necessary paperwork that comes with moving house is pretty much taken care of. I've also just registered with a local doctor, and yesterday I finally dropped off all the conveyancing information needed by our solicitors. I'm sure there will be more things that need adding as and when I think of them but I'm a bit happier that the vast majority is now sorted.

There's still plenty to do around the house and garden, so no chance of relaxation!

We watched Lost last night - I won't mention much to avoid spoilers but it seemed ridiculous to have an episode like that so close to the end that promised to reveal so much but actually revealed hardly anything and raised further questions. The last three and a half hours are going to have to be something special...

Aching

I've done some digging in the garden to make a vegetable patch - but my back is complaining about it :-( Things are getting there slowly though - not helped by Nicky trying to eat mud, stones and other things he finds in the garden!

Other than that, not much going on - I recently traded in some games at Game (£1.20 for Gears of War!) and was able to get Mass Effect 2 for about £2.65, I'm really enjoying it so far.

Oh yeah, there was an election last week. I voted Lib Dem, as I have done at the previous two general elections, and as before it made no difference as I always seem to live in constituencies that are safe for the incumbent. So the Tories won quite comprehensively here. Not really happy about the idea of the Lib Dems working with the Tories to form a government, whilst it'd be better than a purely Tory government I think it might backfire on the Lib Dems - I imagine they got a lot of votes purely because they're not the Tories, so to then go with the Tories i…

Definitely getting old

I'm sure one of the definitions for 'middle-aged' must involve something about willingly going to Ikea on a bank holiday, yet this is exactly what we did yesterday! To be fair we didn't exactly intend to go there, we set out early hoping to go to a local boot sale, but unfortunately most of them had been cancelled due to the wet weather. We did find a small one in Orsett but there wasn't much of interest there. As we were out and it was still early we decided to head for Ikea as we needed a few bits, and we could go to Costco too as they're close to each other.

Surprisingly it wasn't too painful - we got there just after it opened at 10am, and I think we timed everything right as it wasn't too busy going around the main shop, then we went for lunch at about 11.30am and it wasn't too hectic, which it had been at 10am.

Grrr

Mirror's Edge has now gone back up to £4.98 - I know it's only £2 more than it was before but it doesn't seem like such a bargain now, and I wasn't that desperate to play it. I even went into town yesterday to change my bank details, at least that's done and out of the way now.

We got an anti-BNP leaflet through the door yesterday from Unite Against Fascism. I was pleased to see people making an effort in this area, although I didn't really think the BNP would be a problem here - it's a safe Tory seat unfortunately. I'm probably going to vote Lib Dem as the thought of Cameron as PM is slightly sickening, yet Brown isn't really much better (although all the fuss over the 'bigot' thing is ridiculous). I'm aware I'm supposed to vote on party policies rather than just for the leader, but there isn't really that much difference between the Tories and Labour, at least the Lib Dems would be something new.

Getting there

We've got most boxes in the correct rooms now, and have started unpacking, things are taking shape. I've spent the past two days trying to get all the addresses changed, bills finalised for the old flat and all the paperwork that needs to be done, it's quite a long list but I'm on top of most of it now.

Game have currently got Mirrors Edge for £2.99 - I've currently got £4.58 worth of reward points, but can only spend them in blocks of £2.50, so have to pay 49p - which I can't yet do because my bank account is one of the few addresses I've still got to change. Hopefully it will stay at that price until my bank details have changed...

Moved!

The move went OK on Friday, took us four van loads to get everything over. It was quite fun driving a transit van, it makes you feel like you own the road and can do what you want! I'm still aching from all the lifting though. Now we've just got to get everything unpacked, not easy when you have a clingy boy demanding attention - obviously everything's new for him and he's confused, but it makes everything take three times longer than normal!

Virgin Media turned up when they said they would and got everything connected - very impressed!

I hate packing

So, moving day is confirmed as Friday, and along with that comes all the additional stress of packing, redirecting post etc. More stress is just what I needed!

One good thing is that apparently our landlord is out of the country and can't get back in to inspect us before we go, and that we don't have to hand the keys back until Saturday so we don't need to rush quite so much.

I also had a hassle-free experience calling Virgin Media about the move - they can set us up at the new place on Saturday afternoon, so only one day TV/internet free. Quite a pleasant surprise!

No quiz this week as I'm sure we'll be doing last minute packing...

Plateau

For now my stress levels are maintaining their current level. Still quite stressed about the prospect of packing and moving next week. The car seems to be OK despite being a bit temperamental when starting.

Someone came to visit this flat a couple of days ago and seemed to like the place, despite me answering her questions truthfully about the cold, and she had said she was going straight to the letting agents to put a deposit down. So it seems a bit weird that yesterday a sign was put up outside saying 'To Let'. I hope we don't have to let anyone else look around, it's such a hassle.

We came third in the pub quiz yesterday. Well, technically we came joint first with two other teams, but my attempt at the tie break was pretty bad and we ended up with the bottle of white wine (between 9 of us!)

Slightly better

For now, my stress levels are slightly reduced, as I finally seem to have a working car again, although I have had to pay around £600 for the privilege. So much for winning £50 on the Grand National!

Our current landlord's letting agents are being slightly annoying at the moment, they keep making appointments to show people around and then no-one turns up, or they decide they're going to show 3 groups around, one after the other. It's very difficult watching these people going around when all I want to do is tell them to run a million miles from this damp, cold, rodent-infested dump with the neighbour from hell. But we could really do with the deposit back so I don't feel I can really say anything.

Meh

Feeling much the same this weekend. Had a little bit of luck when I backed Don't Push It to win the Grand National - I put £2 on, when the race started it was 10-1 joint favourite but I'd backed it at 25-1 so can't complain too much. But I almost felt like I was using up any good luck I might be due, when I could really use it elsewhere at the moment.

Had a picnic in Wat Tyler park yesterday, the young master enjoyed himself which is good. I don't understand why he is so sociable as neither of his parents are!

Just wasted two hours watching Liverpool splutter to a draw. 4th has definitely gone now. I remember the days when a football result could have an enormous effect on my mood, either positive or negative, but these days it's just a tiny effect, negligible in fact.

Stressed

Really not doing well at all. I'm having to compartmentalise my grief for now as I have so many other things to try and cope with, but I feel like I'm failing at doing that.

Went to the pub quiz last night to try and relax a little. Did reasonably well, came 3rd (although I think whoever marked our paper gave us more points than we should have had), and James got the killer question right again. Liverpool also won, so my mood was improved slightly.

Not doing very well

I'm still not really dealing with the news of my dad's death. I've cried occasionally but I feel that I really need to let go properly, but at the moment life is kind of getting in the way.
Not much I can write about it at the moment, as I'm still pretty confused about it all.

RIP Arthur Alan Ingram, 1950-2010

I normally wouldn't write something like this in something so public, but I feel like I need to write something down and this is the best place for it.
On Saturday, whilst at my mum's house, she told me to sit down and that she had some bad news. She passed me a letter from a solicitor, informing her that my father had died on 15th January 2010. I didn't know how to react - I guess shock was the first response, followed by a mixture of sadness and guilt.
I hadn't seen my father since around 1993. I don't want to go into the reasons for this here, but apart from a few phone calls and letters in the mid-90s we had no contact with him.
My brother and I have spent the time since then not really knowing how to react. My main emotions are sadness and guilt. Sadness because despite everything he was still our Dad and we're never going to be able to talk to him or see him again. I've still not really had a proper cry - I've been blocking things out with work etc. …

Dizziness

Yesterday I woke up feeling dizzy with the room spinning, and had to lie down until it stopped. This was accompanied by a intense feeling that I was about to throw up. Thankfully this passed, but it left me feeling a bit woozy for a few hours.
However, it happened another three times during the day. Going online to look up symptoms didn't help, as it made me paranoid that I was about to have a heart attack, stroke or something similar. I even went to Homebase late yesterday evening to buy a carbon monoxide detector, just to rule that out. I'm sure it's just a cold or something but it's most unpleasant.

Nothing interesting to say

Fairly typically for me, I get a blog and don't bother writing anything for a month! At least with Twitter it's only 140 characters so easier to think of things to fill that space...

The only thing I can think of saying right now is that I really don't care about BBC 6 Music, and I can't believe it's the lead story on the BBC News website...

Endomondo

Today I installed the Endomondo application on my mobile (a Nokia 5800) and used it to track my walk into Southend with Nicky. Apparently I walked 2.28 miles altogether, reaching a top speed of 6mph! It even shows a map showing where I walked. I'm quite impressed - I'm sure iPhone users can do all this but was quite impressed that my Nokia can manage it too.

A blog

Welcome to my blog. It remains to be seen whether I keep this up to date or not (most likely not). I will try to set it up so that the blog posts on keanei.me.uk get posted here, or vice versa...