eldar: (Default)
( Jun. 30th, 2008 10:49 pm)
Last week was supposed to be (relatively, no pun intended, really) stress-free... visit my folks and do stuff with Aliza, then play some bridge at the weekend.

It was mostly thus.

The drive down on Sunday was uneventful, though I did notice that my car, which had been behaving erratically (I felt it might have been mis-firing...), was using far more petrol than normal. As in around 20mpg rather than the usual 30 or so when doing mostly motorway driving. Still.

Monday we headed to the Rare Breeds Farm at Totnes, which Aliza gradually warmed to, and where we met a pair of particularly aggressive lambs who jumped up and grabbed both mine and Alexis's cups of Generic Animal Feed (tm) from our hands. They also have a range of different owls with a rather predictable naming theme. And yes they have a snowy owl. And yes, it is called what you think it's called.

Tuesday was the long day out, down to Cornwall and the Eden Project, which was excellent and well-designed with babies in pushchairs in mind! Plenty of other families around, Aliza ran around making friends and mooching Pringles off of total strangers. She has that effect. Backing into the drive back at my parents' place, my Dad commented that my engine sounded pretty awful (and driving up and down hills in Cornwall really didn't feel right at all, especially in low gear and low-mid revs). He suggested it was the exhaust that was at fault, and that I take it to Kwik Fit the next day.

On Wednesday we took my Nan out to Torcross for fish & chips, then down to Hope Cove (via the "other" Galmpton) where Aliza was given her first ice cream cone (Salcombe Dairy Strawberry, for the record). She needed no education in what to do with it: all that was left at the end was the tip of the cone and the ruff around the top. There is of course photographic evidence, presumably appearing on a Flickr account in the near future, if it isn't already there (ask [livejournal.com profile] arosoff). Nan also mentioned that one of my second cousins works at Kwik Fit; just as well because otherwise I'd have wondered just how he knew who I was when I walked into reception. He listened to the engine and diagnosed (as I had!) that I had a mis-fire, and that I really ought to get it looked at otherwise I'd do something unmentionable to the cat. He referred me to a garage just round the corner, who did some delving and determined I needed a new set of HT leads (the old ones literally fell apart in the mechanic's hands!) for the bargain price of 40 notes, and they were able to slot me in the next day.

Thursday, being carless, meant getting a lift with my mother (and transferring the car seat into her car) to have lunch with a relative of some variety (xth cousin once removed, almost certainly... she's my Dad's generation, not sure if she's his first or second cousin, can't be bothered to work it out) who was visiting from Canada. A pretty ropey carvery, but for £3.50 who's complaining? Checked in on my car on the way back, it was ready, price had gone up to 45 quid, still no bother (better than £300+ for a new catalytic converter!), however due to logistics my dad ended up driving it back a bit later. Had a quick spin round the block, all seemed very well.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were mainly bridge days. I headed into Torquay to meet my bridge partner, Dave, and after some to-ing and fro-ing (my 'phone ran out of credit, I couldn't top it up, and can you believe that payphones have a minimum call charge of 40p - including 20p connection charge - these days?!) met him in one of the arcades near the harbour. We got lunch, then played bridge, winning 3 and drawing 1 out of 7 matches and came 26th out of 51 teams, with exactly 70/140 points. How average can you get? The pairs event on Saturday and Sunday started very poorly, with a heavy loss, picked up tremendously with 6 straight wins, then got very disappointing on Sunday with only one win out of five. We just about scraped above 50%, and half-way in the field, which I guess we'd have accepted at the start, but given where we'd got to - and the chances we didn't put away on Sunday - it was something of a let-down.

Sunday evening Alexis and I finally got to ditch Aliza with my parents and we went out to dinner, a better carvery this time, at the Churston Court. Not as good as it used to be - from what I can gather the new owners ditched it in favour of a far-too-expensive à la carte menu, before bringing it back due to popular demand. What there was was good, but the choices were severly limited.

A very uneventful drive back this evening.

Then... the bad news, coming, as do buses, in twos:
1. Still no letter from the US Embassy telling me when the interview date for my visa application is. We posted the last set of forms off four weeks ago now. They usually get the date set within 2-3 weeks. There was a card saying a recorded delivery letter needed to be picked up, but it was too late to go get it by the time we got back - so Alexis has to pick it up tomorrow. Really, really, need it to be from the Embassy... because:
2. Landlord has, "due to circumstances beyond his control", decided not to renew our lease when it runs out on September 14th. So really really really want to get moved by then. Otherwise I have no idea what we're going to do. I'm wondering what is going on because previously talking to him he's said he's been happy to keep us on as tenants past that date, and even ditch the estate agents (to avoid him paying fees to them). That would've suited us as he did say he'd be okay going on a month-by-month basis. Bah. I'm vaguely hoping that he's actually bs'ed the estate agents to drop them and will get in touch with me to say so, and that we can stay on. However I have a feeling that this will not be so.

Aliza is now asleep on the floor. Yes, the floor. It's a habit she picked up at my parents' - except they have carpets, and we have the original bare floorboards, with sticky out bits and gaps and all. Still, she's quiet and finally run out of steam, which is usually a good sign.

Time for bed said Zebedee....
This isn't all about bridge... it's about bad emails too!

The bridge bit )

The email bit )
I'm still here. I've just had very little to say that would interest anyone, that's all. Work's been (surprisingly) keeping me busy, at least. Not terribly exciting stuff, but stuff nonetheless. And I went to Brighton to play some bridge, and didn't do terribly well. I also got a mild dose of sunburn, but it was worth it to swim in the sea for a bit.

Oh, and at some point I guess I should review Metal Swarm, before I forget all about it. I've almost finished The Dreaming Void now as well. By which point I'll have run out of books to read, though I did come across one in Borders the other day I might pick up (it's about superheroes, can't remember the title or the author off the top of my head but I read the first few paragraphs and was interested enough to think I might want to give it a go).

Talking of which, it's Wednesday, so Heroes is on! Yay! Though tomorrow night, it's the last House for a few months. Boo!
eldar: (Default)
( Jul. 22nd, 2007 10:47 pm)
I've spent the last couple of days mostly playing bridge in Stevenage.

Stevenage is, for want of a better word, a total and utter shithole. Actually, let me slightly rephrase that: Stevenage town centre is a roundabout-infested, soul-crushing, concrete nightmare of a shithole.

What's worse, though, is that Stevenage traps the unwary with the promise of so much. From the outside, it looks so inviting: good transport links to London, the Midlands, as well as Stansted and Luton airports, all in green and leafy Hertfordshire. It sucks you in with its tantalising grasp. Once it's got you, though, you realise what a terrible mistake you've made. A maze of identikit concrete shops, a little corner by the bus station reserved for a gaggle of pubs, and a leisure centre that is identical to any other of its type up and down the country. All wrapped up with a Tesco Extra.

I actually got lost coming home on Saturday, taking the wrong turn at a roundabout where it turns out that the A602 goes in three different directions: back the way I'd come, a short spur towards the A1(M) (where I wanted to be) and also towards Ware and Hertford, definitely not where I wanted to go but where I ended up heading. The trouble is, one roundabout looks pretty much like any other, and by the time I'd crossed three of them and realised my mistake, I decided to press on. It's a bloody long way to the A10 though.

At least I don't have to go back there ever again. Except perhaps next year, because, Stevenage aside, the bridge itself was pretty good.
eldar: (Default)
( Jul. 3rd, 2007 02:33 pm)
A description of the weather, not the place (though to be fair between October and April, it really is rather a dull place to live).

We were down visiting my family and showing off Aliza to assorted relatives. My folks may not be as noisy as Alexis's, but they know how to coo over a baby!

Meanwhile I was playing bridge in the English Riviera Congress, with mixed results. Our team-mates let go a couple of matches we should've won, and in the pairs it was a tale of two days: Saturday great (4 wins and a draw out of 7 matches) for 84/140 VPs. Sunday was awful (1 win and 5 losses) for 15/100 VPs, a total of 99/240 - when we were odds on to be better than 50% overnight. Disappointing!

Monday was Alexis's birthday; she was surprised (a difficult thing to achieve!) by her present from me. We drove round the South Hams, with fish and chips in Torcross for lunch, before the showery drive back home.

Today: another day off, but I'm heading down to Lord's later where hopefully I'll be watching Middlesex vs. Surrey in the Twenty20 cup. Given the current weather pattern of sunny spells with short sharp heavy showers, there should be some cricket, but exactly how much it remains to be seen.


eldar: (Default)
Neil Treeby


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