First of many?

Posted in Plants and Gardens on June 29th, 2008 by Coffee

One chilli plant decided that today was the day for the first of its flowers to open. None of the other plants are even looking like flowering yet, but this one’s had quite a few pre-flower buds for a few days.


We kept 6 plants in the end. And they’re all starting to get their own identities. One didn’t really grow much , but now has really big, round leaves compared to the others. One has a heap of little leaves on its stem, while the others don’t, etc., etc. Still no idea what types they are yet though!

And I’m still sure they’re not getting enough sun. They can’t really sit outside in the sun at the moment as it’s too windy, and they just bend all over the place. If we’re home and can babysit them on still days it’s OK, but I’m not really ready to take too much of a risk yet. Maybe when they’re older…

Out on a school night

Posted in London on June 26th, 2008 by Coffee

It always feels a bit naughty to be out late on a school night, but we got Radiohead tickets to their Tuesday night gig here so we weren’t just going to sit at home!

A lovely (almost) summer evening for it. Not too hot, not too cold, and of course it stays slightly light until about 10:15. That last bit’s not quite so good for an outdoor light show, but makes finding people you’re standing with a lot easier when you’re on your way back from the toilets or bar…


The report card? A really good gig. They have obviously been playing together for a long time (like we didn’t know that!). Really, really tight. Sound was excellent for an outdoor concert too. Good stage and light show. Just what you’d expect really. Quite a few people seemed to wish that they’d played more of their old stuff, but I can imagine they’re pretty bored of playing most of those and have moved on. Fair enough. And they played for just over 2 hours, so can’t complain there.

Crowd-wise it was a pretty comfortable gig too. Only got pushed once, otherwise it was all nicely calm and civilised. Might have something to do with the fact that the average age seemed to be a lot older than what you’d expect for a teeny bopper band. Again, no real surprise there!

I’d go again.

Over already!?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22nd, 2008 by Coffee

It hardly seems like any time ago I was writing about the days starting to get longer rather than shorter.

But here we are now, with the days getting shorter again.

Where does the time go?!


Life in the UK test

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19th, 2008 by Bec

Today I sat my ‘Life in the UK test’….  you might ask what that is, but it is a test to get you on your way to indefinite leave to remain and finally a UK passport – it basically means that you have a good understanding of English, some brief history and the way that life operates in the UK.  Before you take the test you need to have read the ‘Life in the UK’ book, as there are stats and things in there that you just would not know otherwise, no matter how long most people have lived in the UK.

Its been a long time since I have done a test and I forgot how nerve racking it is.  However, the good thing with this test is that if you don’t pass you can sit it until you do, only downside is that you will have to pay each time you sit it, so its not something you want to have to keep doing.  The few days leading up to it, I was surprised at how worried I was about sitting it.

Test Day – there are 24 multi choice questions to answer in 45 minutes.  After skipping a few questions till I had finished the rest and then going back to answer them and skimming over all my answers on the way passed before clicking ‘finished’. That took a total of 6 minutes!  So up I got, the first to walk out (which had a lot to do with the fact that English is my first language) and waited outside for my results .  Due to the fact that some of the staff were in a meeting I had to wait 30 mins for my results, only to be thinking opps perhaps I went too fast.  But luckily I was OK, I had PASSED! YAY!  For anyone that is going to sit it, although the test is pretty easy, you really do need to read the book – I know things about the UK I wouldn’t know if it wasn’t for the book and it definitely made me pass!

Stuck in the Lift!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 18th, 2008 by Bec

Last week I got stuck in a lift! After my experience I would be interested to know just how many people get stuck in a lift? I think I would be quite surprised.

The most annoying thing was that I knew I was just past the ground floor as I could hear everyone else getting off the other lifts. And when it made a clump noise and jolted down I thought at least I only have one floor to get to the basement. So when I realised after pushing some buttons that I wasn’t going anywhere, I rang the buzzer for help and shortly after I sat myself down and read my book.

Luckily I also had a mobile phone (so I could communicate with the outside world), and the book I had was to help me study for my ‘Life in the UK’ test that I needed to sit in a few days. At first it was quite funny, it was like ‘guess what, I’m stuck in a lift’, but after about 25 mins on a hot day in an enclosed space, and the alarm going off every few minutes, I was over it!

By 40 mins when the engineer finally arrived to pry the doors open (to find me sitting on the floor, book in lap and water bottle in my hand), I was well and truly relieved to be out.

But surely now my chances of getting stuck again are a lot slimmer now (touch wood)!?


Posted in Uncategorized on June 16th, 2008 by Bec

On Saturday I travelled to Cardiff to meet a friend to watch the BOSS (a.k.a Bruce Springsteen)…. and for 60 and the way his butt looked on the big screens I think he still has the right to be called the boss by the way he moves around the stage.

After a very long trip to get there, I took the bus in fact, only after I had checked the internet to find out that the train was going to cost me £58 one way (yes, that isn’t a typo, and its only about 2 hours down the railway line). So I called the helpline to check and yes that was right, so after making my point that it was extortionate I was told that it was something like a jump on day fare and that you are spose to book in advance. So that decided it, thank you very much I will take the bus for £12 (or £20 return if I had of wanted to bus back – but I didn’t need too as I was catching a lift). Anyway that’s enough about the travel there, lets talk about Bruce…..

We had seats in the work corporate box in Millennium Stadium (which were expensive, but I had never been before so it was quite fun, and the drinks were included in the ticket). The concert itself, what can I tell you, he started about 40 mins late, which went down like a lead balloon, and he only played about one song from his old stuff and the rest was from his new stuff (so a slight disappointment there), however that is not to say that his new stuff isn’t any good, cause it is! But I am not sure he really ever recovered from his faux pax, of saying, ‘its great to be in England’ – he was booed for about a song after that!

The work box itself was great, and the music wasn’t bad, it just would’ve been nice to hear some of his older stuff as it was so good. All in all we made the most of it and had a good time. It made for a very long trip back in the car on Sunday trying to learn Spanish from CD’s and then when back in central London at one point taking about 30 mins to go 1 mile. Next trip to the box is hopefully to go and watch some sport there (if I am lucky enough), it would be great!

Sunday chores…

Posted in Plants and Gardens on June 10th, 2008 by Coffee

A warm, sunny, quiet Sunday last weekend, so it was good day to get the minor chore of re-potting the chillis into their final pots out of the way.  Some of them had already been upgraded to slightly larger intermediate pots already, and those ones had definitely outgrown the ones stuck in the small peat pots.


Now I just hope we can get them enough sun here to grow and fruit.  If I’m home I keep shuffling them across the balcony to catch as much sun as possible, but I’m not sure it’ll really be enough…

Some more of the remaining little ones are to go to good homes this week though.  I hope they’ll do well there so I can get a few chillis back to see which type they all turned out to be.

Swiss cheese please

Posted in Travel on June 5th, 2008 by Coffee

I’ve forgotten just how nice it is to be able to fly in and out of London City Airport and not to face all the travel chaos of Heathrow. Bec decided about a month ago that we needed a break away, so sourced options from London City airport only as we can just about reach up and touch the planes landing from our place. And the semi cheap flight option was flying to Geneva, Switzerland.

So off we set, but being the little internet travel research ‘queen’ that she is, she decided that after reading reviews we would stay a little further around Lake Leman (Geneva), in Lausanne. Arriving at Geneva airport we had another pleasant travel surprise. Free train tickets into the city are just beside the exit doors from baggage reclaim. As it did in Barcelona, this really makes you feel welcome, and takes a little stress and confusion away after a very early morning start. Not that the trip into town is very long. Less than 6 minutes, I think. Again, another big difference from Heathrow!

We stopped off in Geneva for a little look around and as it was a nice sunny day we spent some time walking around some of the lake, parks and local sites, then a quick spot of lunch. We hadn’t really done any research on what to see in Geneva, so we were mainly just wandering aimlessly. Apart from a huge fountain on the lake front we didn’t really find anything worth mentioning, or even taking many photos of, so we decided to head off to our destination – Lausanne – a short (45 minute) train ride up the lake side, past huge vineyards stretching right up the hills from the lake front to (seemingly) the tops of the hills. Well, I say hills, but you really wouldn’t want to walk straight up them, or have to carry a heap of grapes up them either. They were generally pretty steep! Huge amounts of work had obviously gone into constructing little stone walls to level out the slope a little bit so the vines didn’t all just fall off the side into the lake.

Arriving in Lausanne we were confronted by a lot more step hills. But luckily the walk down to the hotel was all downhill, straight down to the lake. Thankfully when you check into your hotel you are given a free travel pass for the length of your stay (again, a brilliant move by someone), and boy did we make use of it in the steep town of Lausanne. I’m not kidding it is hill city after living in London (OK we know London has no hills, but Lausanne is built on hills), and especially because we were staying right on the waterfront.

We explored quite a lot of the city on the Friday : a big Gothic cathedral with an amazing organ right out of a Dracula movie, fought our way through the street markets, lots of walking around, etc… There was a big free concert/festival thingee going on on the waterfront the whole time we stayed, so every time we’d wander past there we could have a laugh at some of those (few) who were cutting shapes (dancing) at the front of the stage.


Perhaps an unsurprising highlight of the trip was a spontaneous visit to a place a little up the road (or railway line, as we used) called Vevey. A small town with a great water front. Including a big fork stuck in the lake. More grapes galore, some old ruins etc… All good for some more aimless wandering. And a special treat! A trip up and down the hill on a funicular! Certainly beats walking up!


On the Sunday back in Lausanne we used the handy free bus pass again to get up to the top of the hill behind the city to go walking through some bush/forest and climb up a huge tower. Lovely and quiet, with hardly any people around. Then back to town for wine and cheese on the waterfront. And there was even a wee farm up the hill too with some cute animals, along with some not quite so cute ones. Pigs, cows (including cow bells), goats and rabbits… All a bit random.

Monday was a bit of a weird day, as it always seems to be on the day you leave anywhere. A really leisurely morning around the hotel and close environs, then we decided to head back to Geneva airport early. And as luck would have it Swiss Air managed to get us on an earlier flight so we didn’t have to sit in an airport for a couple of extra hours. Always pays to ask!


And that was the weekend! A nice break to rest and feel able to face London and work again for a while.


Posted in Geeky Tech Stuff on June 5th, 2008 by Coffee

I’ve been managing to resist posting the results of my electronics experiments. Mostly because there’s really not that much to see generally, except a few wires and black chips etc. But this one is possibly just entertaining enough for anyone that has done any sort of computer programming training.

And there’s actually something to see this time! Maybe even Bec will be impressed (this time) when she gets home.

But I somehow suspect it will be the standard “that’s very nice, dear” response.