Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Quote Of The Week

"Everytime I read "Pride and Prejudice" I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone."

Mark Twain talking about Jane Austen.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Finally, a finished bathroom

Our bathroom was finally finished on Monday (16th April). The plumbers had finished on Good Friday but the tiler could not come for a week so he didn't start until last Saturday. Luckily he was very quick and was done on Sunday.

After the tiler we gave the plumbers a call and they returned on Monday to fit the shower, towel rail and to reverse the door (we were sick of people seeing nothing but the toilet when the door was open).

We are really pleased with the new bathroom. It's all nice and white and shiney and we have nice things in it like drop lights with built in extractor fans and a ladder type towel rail. All we need to do now is small things like putting up the cabinet and the shelves over the bath.

It was a lot of hastle not having a bathroom for a week but in the end it was all worth it.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

My Easter Week Off.

As I mentioned previously, I have had the week off. It's been a great week even though we have only had a half functional bathroom due to the tiler not being available until today.

We started off the week by going round to my mum's on Easter Sunday for lunch. Much wine was consumed and as the weather was so nice we spent most of the afternoon in the garden. Alice loved this and spent the whole afternoon exploring. Pictures are here.

In the evening we watched the Malaysian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton seems to be rather bloody good!!

On Tuesday Victoria, my mum and I took Alice to the Beamish museum. Here they have recreated an entire 19th century town, mining village, farm and manor house. The place is massive and you travel around on trams and old vintage busses. All the people who work there are wearing period clothing and are well versed on the subjects they are portraying. If you want to know something about what you are looking at you just ask. It's great. In the village you can buy things from the shops. The old sweet shop is fantastic. They even make traditional sweets on the premises.

It costs £16 for an adult to get it but that is pretty much all you pay for. Victoria even made up a picnic for lunch which was nice. Well worth a visit. Pictures from Beamish are here.

On Wednesday we did nothing apart from go to Coles to buy some towels for the new bathroom. £133 for two sets!! I thought I got away with it pretty lightly.

Thursday we went to Filey as Alice really likes the seaside. She wanted to build a sandcastle and we wanted to sit on the beach and eat chips like we did as kids. Before we went to Filey we visited a nearby RSPB reserve where we saw seabirds nesting on the cliffs. We even saw some Puffins!!!

We then went to Flamborough lighthouse which was....a lighthouse, and then we finally went to Filey. What a shit hole!! Full of chavs and very tacky. We finally found a chip shop and a little patch of beach that was not full of chavvy children called Trinity and we managed to give Alice a crash course in sandcastle construction.

We were a little bored there though so we decided to go to Bridlington instead. Surprisingly it was much nicer than Filey. They have their chav areas full of fairground rides and arcades but they are all at one end of the town, leaving the rest of the seafront for humans. Pictures from our Filey/Bridlington trip are here.

Friday was obviously a day of celebration in aid of my new lens. :-)

I've had great week off and I could do with another one next week. Oh well, mortguage to pay, Alice needs some shoes etc.....

Friday, April 13, 2007

I Have Found The Grail!!!

About 14 months ago I bought myself a Nikon D50 digital SLR. It came with a very servicable 18-55mm zoom lens. However, it only zooms to 55mm which is OK for general photography but no good when you want to get closer. I thought about buying a second lens to cover the 55-200mm range but that would mean I had to carry 2 lenses with me.

I then read about the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR DX Zoom from Nikon. This would solve all my problems!! Wide angle to zoom in one smallish lens. It also had VR (Vibration Reduction) allowing you to virtually eliminate camera shake, even at low shutter speeds and long zooms. All this for a mear £500!

Unfortunatly everyone else thought the same. I have tried for 12 months to get hold of this lens but it would have been easier to get Tony Blair to admit he's a twat.

I have signed up to 5 or 6 websites who have promised to email me when the lens is in stock but they never have any. I have phoned every camera shop in the Sheffield area to ask if they could get me one and each one has laughed at me like I was asking for the moon on a stick.

I was beginning to give up when I did a froogle search and found this website that claimed to have one in stock. I grabbed for the credit card, filled in the registration form and was about to click the 'Buy' button when I decided to ring them first to check that they did actually have one. The answer was yes!!!!!

I still didn't believe it. Even when the money was taken from my card and the order on the site said it had been posted I thought that it would be the wrong lens. Not until this morning did I believe my quest was over when I opened the freshly delivered parcel and gazed upon this optical beauty. It was indeed the correct lens!!! I have found my grail.

Pitty I didn't get it last week though as I have taken about 300 photos this week while I have been off. Oh well. It's here now and that is all that matters. :-)

Friday, April 06, 2007

Bathroom Day 2

After another day's hard graft by our friendly workmen our bathroom is looking much better. We have a proper toilet (with an actual flush) a sink and a bath!!! Amazing.

They have also put in some drop lights, one of which is an extractor. You can't see these on the picture of course as our bathroom is only small and my wideangle lens is only so wide.

It is day three now and they are back again. I thought they would not be working today as it is Good Friday but they were here at 9am. Today they want to get the lights working so they are climbing around in the loft. I am sat here in the office typing this and trying to look like I am doing something useful.

As it is Easter I am off for a long weekend and I have booked the rest of next week off as well. We are taking Alice on some more daytrips which will be nice.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New Bathroom

We are having a new bathroom fitted. The old one was a bit knackered when we moved in and we tarted it up a little a few years ago but we sort of got used to it and didn't notice the fact it was crap anymore.

We recently decided that it was about time to have a new bathroom fitted and today was the first day of the fit.

The workmen arrived at about 8:45 and started by laying dust sheets. They were a happy and friendly lot and they were made even happier and more friendly when Victoria laid on tea and cake. It's always a good thing to keep the workmen happy we think.

They then went upstairs and started working away happily. When I left for work at about 09:30 they were pulling the shower off the wall and removing old tiles.

Anyway, I got home and they had made very good progress. The picture above shows what our bathroom currently looks like. Note the yellow bucket which is to be used to flush the toilet. Nice.

Apparently it will all be finished either by the weekend or Tuesday at the latest. We then just need to wait for the tiler (called Steve) to come and do his stuff but he can't come until next weekend. DOH!!

I'm sure it will all be worth it in the end.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Victoria and I visit London, again!

As I said in my previous post, Victoria and I went to London this weekend. We had a great time and as it is now Sunday evening I am feeling miserable as it is all over and I'm back to work tomorrow.

So, what did we do? Firstly, as we didn't have Alice on friday night we went for a meal at Moran's, our favourite restaurant. I had the smoked chicken salad for starters and the calves liver for a main course and Victoria had goats cheese en croute with roasted veg and the cod and mussels for a main. It was as usual outstanding and the service was fantastic. I would still recommend you all go.

The next morning we had to get up at 6am due to the train leaving Chesterfied station at 07:40. As we had drunk too much wine and I'd finished off with a whiskey the night before this was not much fun!! Once we were on the train though we could relax and were fine from then on.

We arrived in London at about 10:40 and got the tube to the Victoria and Albert museum. We wanted to see the Kylie exhibition but as the tickets were only for certain times we did not have time so we just looked around the rest of the museum instead. It was amazing. The best part being the plaster casts of objects too big to move or too rare to acquire. We saw casts of massive pillars that took your breath away, and a cast of Michelangelo's David, which is massive!!

After the too short visit to the museum we took the train to Leicester Square as we had lunch booked at Ooze, the risoto restaurant recommened by Chris and Liv. They were not wrong when they said it was good. I had the seabass risotto and Victoria had the meatballs risotto. Both were exceptional and luckily Victoria is now inspired to create more risotto herself, which is good for me. The only issue we had was that the waitress had a very strong accent which was hard to understand but I am really picking at straws here. Thanks to Chris and Liv for telling us about this place.

After lunch a walk was needed as we were both stuffed. We wandered down to Covent Garden. As we approached we saw a guy dressed as a human statue. He was very good. Unfortunatly his act was slightly diluted by the other 6 people doing the same thing. Oh well. The buskers were good and the place had a really nice atmosphere.

We wandered up to the Dominion theatre at 14:00 ish as the reason for the visit, to see We Will Rock You, began at 14:30. We were not sure what to expect with this show. We both love Queen music (anyone who does not must be deaf or without a soul) but we didn't know how it would work in musical theatre. In the end it was bloody fantastic!! The story was about how real music has been banned in the furure and replaced by generic computer generated pop. The story is then the standard 'hero's journey/quest' to rediscover music while being chased by the nasty authorities and their boss the 'Killer Queen'. Sounds crap but it is very good. The music was fantastic, being Queen, the performers were amazing singers/dancers/actors, it was very funny and very enjoyable. I particularly liked the way it started with an old hippy talking about the day the music died and although he does not know the date he knows it was started by something called 'Pop Idle'. There were also digs at Britney Spears latest haircut and many insults to the generic mass produced pop that saturates todays charts.

This is another show I would highly recommend. 10/10!

After the show we went to Harrods. We wanted to visit the food court but we also wanted to see the Dianna/Dodi memorial at the bottom of the Egyption staircase. Harrods is tacky at the best of times but you have to see the memorial to believe it. I was doing to take a picture to show you but there were too many people doing the same. Just trust me, if you are in Harrods, go and see it. It is the most horrible thing in history. Try not to laugh like we did as you get some funny looks!

We then went to the food court and bought some runny, smelly Gorgonzola, some duck and olive terrine and some game pate, and some nice bread to go with it. Victoria also persuaded me to buy her some Laduree Macaroons which are delicious but you get 8 for about £10!! Still, it makes Victoria happy so it's worth it.

We then decided a quick drink was needed and my mum had recommended Harvey Nichols cocktail bar. We went there, walked in and walked straight out again. It was very busy, they didn't appear to serve beer and it was filled by the biggest collection of wankers I have ever seen! We decided to go back to the train station and have a coffee instead.

Our day in London was really good. We were going to stay overnight originally but I said to Victoria that if we just went for the day we could go the British Grand Prix in July as well as two tickets are about the same price as a night in a nice London hotel. She chose the grand prix. :-)

So, if in London and you want a nice meal for a reasonable price, try Ooze, and if you want to see a show (and like Queen) go and see We Will Rock You. We enjoyed both.

There are pictures here. I didn;t take too many as they frown upon cameras in the museums so I padded them out with pictures of the food we bought in the Harrods food court!

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