Sunset from Hill House, Mount Helen. February 2024

Friday, March 31, 2006

Fingers still crossed?

I hope you've all got your fingers and toes crossed still. We went to see the mortgage advisor on Tuesday morning and sent off an initial application for money. We went back yesterday afternoon and are now the proud possessors of a mortgage approval in principle. It seems they took it based on my income alone and that I have a high credit rating. I am astounded to discover that they are ready and willing to lend me quite as much dosh as they seem to be. I wouldn't dream of lending me that amount of money!! We've now filled out a full application and are awaiting a response. Everyone seems to think that this is a mere formality. Since I wouldn't lend me that amount of money in a pink fit, I am waiting for them to come back saying that they have made a hideous mistake and I can't have any money at all! Once/if the mortgage is approved then many administrative and legal things need to be done. If it all goes without a single hitch (but this is England so it almost certainly won't) we could look to take possession of the house sometime in May. It may be awkward for you all to amble about with every digit crossed for upwards of 6-8 weeks, but there it is. Some things just have to be done!!

Came in on Tuesday afternoon to find senior management staffing the circulation desk. The very large majority of the staff are in a union which was involved in strike action on Tuesday. I am not in that, or indeed any other union so came in at lunchtime as planned. The managers didn't half look stressed and anxious! I don't think they know very much about circulation or information work. Grin!

Nearly time to go home. This evening I am mostly being Richard who has what I had three weeks ago. He rang up just before. I completely failed to recognise his voice -- well, his squeak. I hope he doesn't retain the coff quite as long as I have. I've just been spluttering all over a hapless student, poor thing.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

House News

We have this very lunchtime put an offer on a sweet little house in New Tupton

The offer has been accepted. Now we just need to sort out the mortgage. I'm off to see the finance adviser tomorrow morning. Please keep your collective fingers crossed.

Assuming we get it, we will, of course, ditch the chintz and those horrible square things on the wall.

We just have to hope that the finance adviser can sort a mortgage for us expeditiously and that the frail, breathless, sickly, little old lady vendor lives long enough to exchange contracts with us! (Not that I'm really being heartless but it was one of those occasions, when she was showing us around, where I had all my fingers and toes crossed that she wouldn't actually die while we were there. I used to have an English lecturer a bit like that. He was 95 if he was a day and, interesting though his lectures were, I was always seriosuly distracted by the fear that he would die at his lectern!)

I'll keep you informed.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Fun and Excitement on a Friday Evening

Well that's the kind of burglary you want...

The Builder and I got home on Friday evening at around ten past six. At just before half past six we repaired into the lounge room with a glass of wine. Each, not to share. Shortly after, I thought I heard the back door open. Odd, thought I -- wasn't really expecting Freyja this evening. Then I thought I heard it close again. No hint that Freyja had come in, so assumed it was Liz-Next-Door who had come back as we were moving into the lounge room and who I could hear vaguely, moving about. Paid no further attention. At about ten past seven there was a banging on the door. Went to answer it and found Rebecca from number 23 clutching my pink tote bag. My wet pink tote bag. My open, wet pink tote bag. With all my cards and things liberated and lying about inside it. She had found it on her front wall as she was coming home. Odd, thought I. Could have sworn I brought it in with me. Must have dropped it when I got out of the car, rushing in the rain, and carried all that stuff inside. Then I realised that my shopping bag was missing. Bugger. I know I had brought that in. Should have investigated when I thought I heard the back door open! (On further reflection, though, it was probably best that I didn't. Whoever broke in might have threatened me. Or shouted at me. And The Builder does not take at all kindly to people threatening me. Or shouting at me. Unless it is him, of course!!) Probably a druggy looking for cash. S/he had removed the 32p I had in the wallet but left all my cards and my Waterstone gift vouchers and obviously dumped the bag in Rebecca's front "yard". Perhaps they have done the same thing with my shopping bag and its contents -- 2 videos and 2 books from the Learning Centre. The Builder went out armed with the torch and searched the street. Alas. No shopping bag. Oh well. Nothing much lost really, I suppose. And I would have regretted the loss of my pink tote bag and my colourful wallet (not to mention all my cards. AGAIN!!) much more than the M&S bag. Returned to the wine and then to the chicken parcels we had for dinner.

On Saturday it crossed my mind at some point in the morning that perhaps I should really tell the local constabulary. After all, they are not psychic and they might find it of interest that someone is prowling the kitchens of Khartoum Road and removing people's 32p. To be honest, I expected them to express virtually no interest. But no. The woman on the phone was astounded that I hadn't bothered to tell them the day before and said that two officers would be around to talk to me sometime during the day. Bugger. I had been intending to amble up to Hunters Bar, where The Builder was working, relieve him of the car and trundle off to Chesterfield to badger a few estate agents. Now I need to stay at home and await stray passing police officers. What shall I do to fill in the time?

Actually, what I did was to notice that it was strangely warm and that strange, peculiar light was shining in the sky again. I wandered out into the courtyard and spent a merry couple of hours tidying it up after a long, long winter of neglect. It's spick, span and orderly now. The unplanted containers are ready for their flower seeds and seedlings. I've planted salad seeds in planters. The cabbage, broccoli and cauli seeds are planted in the little greenhouse. At one point I was talking to Taffa on the phone, looked around and there was the female blackbird down by the mealworm dish. I could have reached down and picked her up. The male blackbird is not quite so trusting!

Eventually, two ten year old police officers turned up to discuss my excitements. Later a scene of crime officer appeared but decided that there was nothing useful he could do. Liz-Next-Door popped in to commiserate -- the police had given her to understand that we had been comprehensively done over -- and mentioned that the nurses in number 17 had told her they had found a pile of videos and books and a black bag (and my purple gloves!!) in their front yard as they were heading out at about quarter to seven on Friday evening and had taken them in for safe keeping, and to dry them out. Round we all ambled. And I am now reunited with absolutely everything that the Random Robber nicked, apart from 32p and a hair grip.

So that's the sort of burglary you want. One where you get all the excitement of having the police come around in a police car and then go and question all the neighbours to see if they've seen anything or also had the Random Robber visit them, then get all the neighbours chattering to you about it all and to lose nothing at all.

There is now a large wind chime thingy on the back door. You can't get in now without alerting us to the fact that there really is someone coming in through our back door .

We had fish and chips last night from a newly opened chippy just up the road. Very nice they were too.

Our clocks have gone forward (NB Aussie readers, for yours, unusually, have not!). The Builder has finished working in Mansfield. But I *still* woke up when the clock said it was half past five. Must retrain my bod!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Catch up

I had intended to write several times during the week but somehow the week got away. Vanished in a puff of time swishing past. So here's a catch up of the week's news.

The Builder's van is really, really poorly sick. When the cam belt went it took everything surrounding it with it. No point going on your own when you can create a massive trail of chaos and destruction as you go! It's in intensive care, very expensively, and not expected to come home until next week. The Builder has been trundling backwards and forwards to Mansfield in the Vixen. Poor car. She's not used to such intensive exercise. In the normal course of events we don't disturb her much at all. Only leisure runs at weekends. Grin! The Builder was strangely calm when I relayed the message from the garage. Didn't even seem to flinch when he saw the estimated bill!!

Some of you will be aware that I was seriously alarmed earlier in the week by the appearance of a bright yellow light in the sky. I was equally alarmed by the colour of the sky which had transmuted into a strange blue colour. Was very unnerving. Not natural I tell you. You will therefore be pleased to hear that after a couple of days the sky reverted to its usual dull grey colour. Panic averted. Though I am a bit worried that there is currently quite a lot of wet stuff falling from it. Equally unnatural if you ask me. Perhaps someone has left a very large shower on. So wasteful of water!!

I am still coughing. I sound something like Mimi ought to sound towards the end of La Boheme. It's getting very tedious :-(

I am not only turning into Tony and going to sleep in m'chair mid-evening (it's all the excitement of being woken by the radio at half past five, then being brought tea by The Builder at quarter to six; which may mean that I miss out on most of the evening but I don't half get a load done in the mornings before I go to work!), I am also turning into Ian. I've found myself calling into Waitrose on my way past in the evenings to see what delicacies we can have for dinner. Yesterday evening I left work a little early and called into the Chinese supermarket for some noodles and sauce sachets. Then I called into Millets and bought two more half price fleecy jackets (I bought us one each on Wednesday on my way into work, and they are such good value that we thought another one each would be a Fine Thing). Then my mind turned towards fishy noodles with honey and coriander sauce. I had the noodles. I had the sauce. Onwards to Waitrose for the fishy things. TWENTY FIVE POUNDS later (a whole six pounds on a piece of monkfish. What was I thinking? -- though it was very yummy indeed) I found myself at home preparing the nicest noodle, fishy thing and capsicum dish. Not really a stir fry. More a steam fry! Quite an expensive steam fry (though not all of the twenty five pounds was on fishy things you'll be glad to know. I bought other things as well.) But I really can't afford to turn into Ian. Must start leaving my plastic at home again!

Nearly time to go home. Hooray. Not working tomorrow. Even louder hooray!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Turning into Tony in my Old Age

I *think* I'm feeling better. The aches and pains have gone. The temperature is back to normal. My brain no longer feels as though it's been turned to sludge. My appetite came back yesterday mid-morning and I ate and ate and ate and ate and ate all day. I've more than put back the kilo and a bit I lost while my appetite was AWOL :-( I've still got a spectacular cofffff though and I'm running through the (newly sourced) supply of tissues at quite a rate. And I'm Frannie-oh-so-tired. Still and all -- I'm back at work. Decided that doing my Sunday shift would be a nice, easy slide back into the routine of working life!!

Mind you -- having The Builder at work in Mansfield is a bit of a drag. He leaves at ten to seven so he's up at ten to six or thereabouts. The radio comes on before dawn has even cracked. Even on a Sunday :-S By the time I came into Collegiate this morning I had made breakfast (twice: once for him, once for me at a more civlized time), packed two lunches, washed up two lots of dishes, cleared up in the bathroom, swept the kitchen floor, tidied up, put things away, done two loads of washing, put yesterdays washing away .... It's no wonder I'm exhausted! I'm completely out to the world by the time the 10:00 news comes on!!!!!!!

Had a nice day yesterday. Freyja and I had each managed to off load our boy for the afternoon and decided to go out and Do the charity shops together. We started at one end of Ecclesall Road, intending to do the lot. In the very first one I bought a pair of spotty shoes for Freyja and a Pig Picture for Taffa. We ambled up Ecc Road, calling into various charity shops, then decided to move off course to Sharrowvale Road. There are some lovely shops on Sharrowvale Road now. Was very down at heel when we first arrived in Sheffield. Some very fancy interior decorating shops, rather nice clothes shops. The Frantaniastic Greek Deli (the Italian one has gone!). We called into Jesters, back on Ecc Road and played with the toys. We pootled and tootled and had a great time. It's simply ages and ages since I've done Ecclesall Road and Sharrowvale. Partly because I'm almost never about when they're open. Any weekends I've had free since we came back from Australia we've been away. Was a great way to spend an afternoon. Then we went home for tea.

The sun came out mid-way through the afternoon. It's been grey and gloomy and drear for so long that I'd forgotten just how cheerful the place looks in the sunshine. It has been unusually cold and miserable for March. The birds liked the sunshine too. One of the dunnocks came and sat in the fuschia and preened and cleaned and fluffed and sang and everybody ate lots of seed. The blackbirds have found the raisin supply on the new bird table!

Tabitha and Gareth called around late in the afternoon. Tabitha had bought Freyja and me a pair of knickers each. Mine have loads of cherries on them. Would have invited them to stay for dinner (T and G, not the new knickers) but we were having trout (steamed in foil with garlic, butter and lime wedges) and Taffa doesn't like fish. She would have liked the accompanying sweet chilli noodles with vegetable slices and tiger prawns though. Never mind. They're coming tonight for roast chicken. Freyja has gone to Mark's parents place so won't have to worry about veggie alternatives to roast chook!

The downside about having been at home all week poorly sick is that I have almost stopped house hunting. Must get back into it. Our house is out there somewhere, just waiting for us to find it. Perhaps I'll trawl around some estate agents next Saturday. When I will not be working. But The Builder probably will be. Assuming I can have the car. The Builder's van is still poorly ill in the van hospital and he's going back and forth to Mansfield in the car. Though I don't think he'll be in Mansfield next Saturday. I think he'll be back at Carla's a mere 5 minute drive away. No need for the radio to come on at half past five next Saturday. HOORAY!!!!!!!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Today it is really snowing. Hard. The squirrel has been hanging on the clothes line eating the birds' fat ball. The birds have been dashing out and grabbing bits of seed and dashing back into the shrubs again. The orange cat from up the road is spotty!

The Builder has gone back to work. In the car. I have not. I have a coff still. And porridge

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Someone else has bushwhacked us and bought our house :-( We offered beyond our (sensible) maximum but you have to draw limits somewhere. They have more money or less sense or both than us and out-offered us by a hundred or so pounds. But if we'd gone much beyond what we did finally offer there wouldn't have been any money left to fix it and there's no point in that. Will keep hunting.

The mudhut has morphed into a plague ship. A cordon sanitaire has been placed around it. Nothing that comes in is allowed out. So far I have garnered three posties and a boy wanting me to change my phone supplier. We have run out of tissues :-(

(It's true that we have run out of tissues. And that I am **STILL** at home with a coff and sneezles and wheezles). I am getting very very very very very VERY bored.

The Builder's van has broken down, fortunately before he actually left Sheffield. I suspect this of being a cunning plan that allows him to watch the opening of the Commonwealth Games legitimately! The van has gone to the van hospital.

It was snowing when I got up this morning. Isn't now.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

House Hunting and Meanderings

Well. That was quite an exciting weekend. We've been house hunting *and* meandering.

We started with the house hunting. I had found a place in a village called New Tupton, south of Chesterfield which looked promising. Large front garden and a redbrick house in the photo on the estate agent's webpage. Off we trundled on Saturday morning, and it's not a huge time distance from here. It's a 1950s former council house with large gardens back and front. Two bedrooms. Lounge/dining room. Small, dire kitchen. Absolutely nothing done to it since it was put up, I reckon. A renovator's delight!!!!! Well, it quite delighted us. It needs completely decorating. It needs a new bathroom, a new kitchen and possibly an extension to the kitchen. The garden needs replanting. It's a project! But it's in a nice little village with a proper butcher shop and regular buses to Chesterfield (where there are regular trains to Sheffield). It has loads of potential. The gardens are very large by local standards. And I know a reliable builder who can probably do most of the work that needs doing! This morning I made an offer to the estate agent which was very very quickly rejected. I made a further offer of an extra 2k and have heard nothing since. I assume they are considering it. The sticking point may be the brother in Wolverhampton (it's a deceased estate) who sounds a bit -- grasping is probably unfair since I don't know him but he did sound from his sister as though he was expecting the full asking price, which we haven't even remotely matched! Anyway. I'll let you know. Not prepared to offer very much more, despite the unusually large gardens. The house really does need a huge amount doing to it.

So, having inspected the house and bits of the village (There's a school? Good. But who needs a school? More importantly, there are pubs!!) we trundled off down the A61 towards Derby. Moving onto the A38 we realised that it went all the way to Exeter. Not that we needed to go as far as Exeter but it did mean that we could do some exploring rather than just heading to Salisbury on the motorway. And we passed through some lovely countryside. We saw a steam engine in full steam pulling railway carriages in a valley near Derby. We saw some very sweet villages. We drove through Birmingham (something I have never done before. Bits of it remind me quite strongly of Melbourne -- as we came in to the city centre I really expected to see Melbourne Central to the right!) We also drove through Tewkesbury, which several people have told me quite strongly we should go and inspect carefully. I can quite see why. We will! We saw a barn owl flying in and landing on a fence on the road from Marlborough to Durrington. It really was quite a fantastic drive.

But the find of the day was Lichfield. As we were driving along it crossed our minds that we were hungry. Well this would be because we had eaten nothing at all all day, and house hunting and exploring are hungry activities! So we decided to call into Lichfield since we were more or less passing. I believe there is quite a nice cathedral in Lichfield. Lichfield itself turned out to be quite nice too. Old. Really quite old. We had lunch in the Pig and Truffle then went to explore. I kind of wanted to get to the cathedral which I could see tantalisingly on the other side of the market. And the duck pond. Quite a nice cathedral? It's an absolutely stunning cathedral. With an equally stunning choir practising as we were mooching about. We had a potter and a poke around, then went and pottered and poked around the town a bit (Just who was Erasmus Darwin? Apart from an evolutionist, a scientist, a poet, a botanist ... He had a fantastic house which now has quite sumptuous herb gardens open for the public. He also turns out to be Charles' grandfather). Weather reports from Sheffield indicated that it was snowing there. The skies were dark and threatening in Lichfield. We decided to bet a retreat and continue Salisbury-wards. But a weekend for Lichfield too, I think.

We were staying in the Old Mill in Salisbury. We've been there once before, just for a drink, about 18 months or so ago and decided that it would be a pleasant treat to stay there when we came down for The Builder's father's birthday. And it is very lovely indeed. It's built over the river Nadder. The restaurant was built in 1150 or some such and became the first paper mill. We had a room overlooking the Nadder mill race. The hotel too was quite old, but not as old as the restaurant. We dined in. And the food was fantastic. I had the nicest piece of roast turbot, preceded by smoked salmon and a salmon mousse. The Builder had a wild mushroom tart followed by duck in a cherry sauce. We shared a plate of cheese and biscuits. We polished off a couple of bottles of French white wine. Then we went back to the room and I went almost immediately to sleep -- a dreadful combination, large dinner, much wine, lying on a bed to watch telly if you ask me. Never works! And I must have been tired cos I didn't really wake up until time to get up in the morning!

Breakfast. A quick visit to the supermarket and to the farm shop in Britford (we're coming to Britford for a week in December, all being well) then we wandered off to collect The Builder's parents. It's his father's birthday on Monday 13th and his mother's on April 1st so it was a double birthday lunch really. We went to the Ship Inn in Burcombe, 17th century hotel with fantastic food. Large, large plates of fantastic food. Scarily large. Had we realised that they serve child sized roasts we would have got the AP's children's portions. As it was The Builder ate most of his father's side of beef (not that it really was a side of beef but it was an enormous portion). I had a butternut pumpkin, sweet potato and zucchini bake which wasn't quite as scary but which also roundly defeated me!

And so home. We came back along the Fosse Way, which I've never done before. It was fascinating. Very Roman (oddly enough!) I want to do it again, but in a more leisurely manner. I'd quite like to look at some of the Roman villas and wotnots along the way. And there are villages to explore.

Perhaps we shouldn't buy a house. Exploring is so much more exciting than renovating!

Today I woke up with no voice. No voice at all. I do, however, have a temperature and a coff and sneezles and wheezles and achey legs and an achey back and sore eyes and a runny nose :-( It's all that Builder's fault. He had a cold last week and seems to have given it to me. In rather stronger form than he had it :-(

Spring is on the way.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Going on Adventures

I've been out adventuring!

Mind you, the first adventure was trying to get The Vixen out of Khartoum Road. Bloody great big van parked in the middle of the road half way up. The Vixen is quite long. Khartoum Road is quite narrow. Took me ages to turn it (the car, not the road) round so I could get out, not liking to reverse down the road and around the corner (other cars come burning up quite quickly and the road is narrow and there are cars parked on both sides). Bloody vans!

Anyway. I had the morning off work, being on the late shift and I was off to Chesterfield on my own to inspect a house (perhaps I should start a separate, House-Hunting blog!!) Freyja had intended to come with me to act as navigator but had got out of this task by organising a free haircut elsewhere. The Builder is working in Mansfield this week and had vanished almost before dawn had properly cracked. In the end, though, I got there quite easily, and ahead of time.

It was alright, as houses go. On the southerly edge of Chesterfield. Pebble dashed semi. Three bedrooms. Fantastic views over the valley looking towards Wingerworth. Many birdies singing. A common of some sort behind. There was a downstairs loo and a cupboard with the washing machine in -- truly; it was about the size of a large airing cupboard. There was another loo upstairs in the bathroom, which also had a bath and a separate shower. There were many good things about this house. Except. It had night storage heating which is absolutely horrid, very inefficient if you happen to work during the day, and very costly to run. It would have needed replacing, expensively. The garden (one of the essential requirements) was no bigger than the one we've got now. The kitchen would, eventually, have needed modernising. And someone else had already put in an offer which was about what I would have thought the house was worth. Would have matched it but not raised it. Most significantly of all there was NO MOBILE PHONE SIGNAL. This had not been on my list of essential requirements. It is now!

Righty-ho then. What shall I do now? The weather is drizzly but not especially cold. I have loads of time and nothing particularly pressing to do. I shall go exploring. In my internet searching I had found some houses being renovated in a model village original built for colliery workers in a village to the south east of Sheffield. They look very sweet (though they won't do, there being no garden at all!) I might head out that way and have a poke about, especially since I don't know that corner of the world at all. Off I set, bravely and intrepidly (no navigator, remember?). Driving through Brimington I thought: Richard had this as a definite "no". I wonder why. Seems quite a pleasant village. Quite sweet, really. Must remember to ask him. (Apparently bits of it are prone to flooding.) On I trundled. Looked around me. Gosh. Where the hell am I? Looks like a very down at heel, thoroughly failed Lancashire mill town. But it can't be. Last I looked I was in Derbyshire and the two counties are not contiguous. Ah. Staveley. An absolutely emphatic "no" from Richard about Staveley. Wondered at the time why he was quite so adamant. Can see why now. Staveley is dire. Absolutely dire. Move out of it purposefully and as fast as the law allows! But truly, it does have the feel of those sad and depressed failed mill towns in bits of Lancashire. Goodness knows what it's doing down here. Creswell, on the other hand, is not dire. It's very sweet indeed. The model village is lovely (but still unsuitable). A complete contrast to Staveley, despite them both being former mining villages. Perhaps I might consider moving out here. There are crags and walks and lakes and stone age cave paintings out this a-way to add interest to life. I headed back to Sheffield. And really quite enjoyed the drive - until I got to the edges of Sheffield. Driving through the south eastern suburbs of Sheffield was very dispiriting indeed. Couldn't possibly do this every day. I'd be Dead with Depression by the end of a week. (Though, when I came to reflect later, I decided that the people I know who do live in villages on that edge of Sheffield and commute in are not Dead with Depression -- from which I conclude that there is another way in to the city centre. As there is!). But perhaps Creswell, cute though it is, is a bit of a hike for daily commuting. It's not the distance so much as the lack of roads you can drive fast on!

I enjoyed my adventuring. I hardly ever just hop in the car and go out exploring. All those years when there wasn't a car for random treks out, I suppose. Should do it more. I know shamefully little about that side of Derbyshire. Usually head West when I go out into it. And we must go and visit the Creswell Crags.

Got back to find that ANOTHER bloody white van was parked in the middle of Khartoum Road. I hate the way van drivers seem to think they can just abandon their vehicles anywhere to suit their convenience and bugger the rest of us. They do it on the road leading to Ecclesall Road all the time and they're a bloody menace.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Selling your house

Today we are going to learn how to market our houses properly, assuming we want to sell them and sell them for an optimum price!

The Builder and I set off on Sunday morning, through glorious sunshine, to drive to Bolsover to view a house. Now, we knew that this was not going to be the world's most beautiful house for it was only a tiny, tiny price. We knew that it was on a former council estate. We knew that it was pebble dashed. But really. We walked in and it was cold and damp and -- well, sad really. It certainly had potential, but a lot of work would be needed to make it a nice house. Even so. Had it been me wanting to sell it -- I would have lit the rather pretty solid fuel fire in the dining room to draw attention to it. I would have had the central heating on, because there was sunlight coming into the house and it wouldn't have taken much to make it cosy. I would have put vases of flowers in the windows to draw the eye to the stunning view of the castle to the front and the rather nice views of the plains to the rear. I would certainly have made the beds and smartened the place up. As it was, none of these things had been done and The Builder and I were not tempted. Besides, there wouldn't have been anywhere to put the van. But a very little effort and we might have looked at it a bit more eagerly! An excellent lesson in How Not To Do It.

There is an awful lot of property on the market in Bolsover. I wonder why. Where are they all going? And more to the point -- why?

We dropped by and looked at the outside of a rather splendid house in Chesterfield on the way back. Now that was tempting. Alas, by the time I rang the agent on Monday morning someone else had snapped it up :-(

So we ambled home, wafting around the centre of Chesterfield in a random manner. A cup of tea, then a wander down to the supermarket for some veg. We called into the Devonshire Arms for a glass of wine (me) and a pint of beer (The Builder) and then mooched home again where we passed the rest of the afternoon cooking and eating roast pork, drinking wine and generally lazing. Lazing to the point that I spent most of the evening asleep and still managed to sleep vigorously for most of the night. Missed Time Team and all the Sunday evening documentaries. Think I must be tired!

Today, Tuesday, I am at Collegiate. The academics are all on strike and are picketing all the gates in the rain. I have cheerfully ignored them. The Builder is working in Mansfield this week and disappeared off at 06:45!!!!! This left me loads of time before I was to meet my pal Jo for breakfast. So I made soup. As you do :-) I've been home and eaten it too. And had a cup of tea with Freyja. There are some advantages to living a mere 5 minute walk from work.

The Builder has made a new bird table. It has a roof!

Sunday, March 05, 2006


I was pottering around on level 2 in the Adsetts Centre yesterday, closing down PCs preparatory to closing the building when I happened to notice that it was snowing. And snowing quite heavily. Could only just have started, though. It hadn't been snowing the last time I'd looked out the window 10 minutes or so before. By the time I left at 6 it was starting to settle quite nicely. The Builder had ambled into town to meet me and we walked homewards through floating, wafting, large snowflakes, warmly rugged up -- and me clinging onto The Builder's arm, for my shoes were not walking-in-snow-shoes and were quite slippy. By the time we reached the Devonshire Arms and the half way home mark and called in for a quick one we were covered in snow. I had to shake it off my hat! We only stayed for one. It was warm and cosy in there, but it was also unusually full (it is not a well-frequented pub ordinarily for it is off the student run). It seemed that Sheffield United was playing at home. No wish to get embroiled in a pub full of Home supporters! So we carried on homewards. After all, it's warm and cosy there too. And there's wine. And even food. And a Freyja and a Mark, though only briefly. They headed out to the cinema and thence to Mark's parents place where there is not only a printer but also paper for Freyja to print out her CV.

This morning the sun is shining in a clear blue sky. And there is snow all over everything. It's very beautiful. Won't last though, I don't think. The sun is starting to carry a bit of warmth in it now we've reached March. The snow was starting to melt even when I went out to feed the birds.

Freyja and The Builder are fraying. Freyja has (?) excema in her ears. The Builder has (?) something ringwormy on his back and perhaps (?) scabies on his arms. Mangy, both of them! Everyone else is in bounding good health. Tabitha seems chirpy and cheery. Austin rang with great happiness because he won his karate match. I'm at work today, at Collegiate -- so a mere 5 minutes from home. I like it here. It's a nice, light, airy learning centre and I can see the snow shining on the lawns. Off tomorrow. Hooray!

I wonder if United ever did play their match. Kickoff had been delayed when we left the pub, I assume because of the snow.