Sunday, June 04, 2017

Live forever

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair
- Charles Dickens (A Tale of two cities)

What a time we are having, from the grief of the Manchester bombing to a concert of defiance and refusal to give in to terror. Kath and I spent the evening watching Ariana Grande One Manchester concert. Even with last nights London terror attacks the concert was very well done showing a spirit of defiance. The highlight for me was watching Liam Gallagher singing live forever with Chris Martin. It was also amazing to watch the people enjoying themselves not letting terrorists dictate the terms to us.

On Saturday Kath and I had a BBQ / housewarming. The whole gang came round, including Dannys' new significant other the lovely Kate.  I also got a chance to meet some of Kaths colleges from Chester which was really nice. Patrick and Rhiannon were lovely it was great that they made the trip.

I spent most of my time grilling various meat and non meat alternatives on the bbq, while enjoyed a few tins of becks veir. The weather report predicted rain so Ian lent us his gazebo, but we managed to get sun most of the day with only a short shower.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Don't look back in anger

Start of the Great Manchester Run
Yesterday I took part in the Great Manchester Run 2017. The first time they ran a half marathon. After the bombing at the Manchester Arena earlier in the week I wasn't sure what the atmosphere would be like.

I need not have worried, what an amazing community we live in. The half marathon started at 9am, there were already people lining the route to cheer the runners on. Before setting of we had a minutes silence followed by them playing Oasis dont look back in anger. It was a poignant moment. The run itself took us past both the City of Manchester and Old Trafford Stadiums. It was quite strange to run over the Mancunian way.

After the run I headed to St Anne's square to pay my respects and look at the tributes laid there. It was simply incredible, a sea of flowers, balloons messages, its was humbling to see.

My final time was 1:58:38 which was a little slower than I hoped for, my legs got really tired around the 12 mile mark. That didn't detract from what was an amazing day.

In the evening we had a visit from Esther and Kimberly, they had come to Manchester for a spot of shopping. Kimberly is planning to buy a house in south shields, it looks like a good buy we hope that she get it.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Coco missing

On Thursday morning Coco decided that the new house wasn't for her. We think that she went out of an open window. The house has been very quiet ever since, I miss having the company around the house. Coco used to keep me company while Kath was working in Poland, her presence made the house feel much less empty.

The only sighting since she left were on Thursday evening, nothing since then. We have spoken to neighbours and walked around the estate but not see her. My only hope is that somebody finds her and take her to the vet, she is microchipped so they should be able to return her to us.

Monday, May 22, 2017

We got the power

Coco enjoying the view

A week after moving in most of our possessions are still in boxes. After a huge amount of work we have a decent bedroom, a functioning kitchen and a clean bathroom.

I also managed to clean the bathroom and get the heating up and running (with a little help from Phil the plumber).

Coco spent the week being terrified, she cowered in her carrier the first day, then found a  hiding place underneath the kitchen cabinets. She has started to calm down as the house becomes less chaotic.

I have a lawn for the first time since living with my parents. It was quite fun to give it a mow, whether I'll still enjoy the moving when I have to do it every week is another question!

One of the main jobs was sorting out the kitchen, this mostly meant deep cleaning it, and getting new appliances. It was designed for built in appliances but we modified the cabinets to allow us to have free-standing ones. These are cheaper and in my opinion better.

Last night we had Bruce, Nina Connie Ian and Helen round for dinner. Kath prepared some sushi, with katsu curried  chicken and aubergine. I did some "small" jobs including changing over the loo seat which I stupidly proclaimed would take ten minutes. Some hour and a half later I was hacksawing off the bolts which had rusted solid.
Fixed kickboards

Connie enjoyed running around the garden and having a sit on my reclining chair. After all the hours spent cleaning and making the place normal it was great to have people round and enjoy ourselves. Though Ian did accuse me of giving him too much wine!


Lawn

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Leaving LA

Removal van
Last night was our last night at Neston Way. Yesterday we watched all our stuff being boxed, today it was time to move. I say that we watched them getting boxed, actually my mother oversaw the removal men while Kath and I went round to clean and paint as much of the house as we could while it was empty. I listened to Father John Mistys' album leaving LA on repeat while I painted, it had just the right vibe for brushwork.

I went to the house early so that I could paint the walls before the new appliances arrived. They were due between 10am-2pm. Our appliances order from AO arrived at 12. Unfortunately several catastrophes happened. The fridge had a mark so had to be sent back for replacement. Then whilst wheeling in the washing machine the lady driver got her arm trapped between the doorframe and the washing machine. She didn't break it but it was very painful. This delayed the installation so that the removal van arrived before they finished.

They finished unloading by around 4.30pm, and we unpacked as much as we can. Mostly just the kitchen for now. I guess the movers though that we had too much kitchen stuff as one of the boxes was labelled "never ending kitchen items"!

Coco was terrified during the move, she refused to come out of her cat carrier for hours, cowering at the back. When she did come out she found other places to hide away. Hopefully she will get use to the new place soon.

I am now sat in bed with my Macbook, using mobile broadband as we don't have a landline connection as yet. It is a little bit flaky but better than nothing for the time being. Most of our possessions are still in boxes, including our electric toothbrushes. Fortunately we found an old electric with some spare head Kath saved for travel use. I feel very tired and it i
s back to work tomorrow.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Ascension

Today is the day, after months we should be completing on the purchase of our new place in Wilmslow. It is the first time Kath and I have bought a house together, the current place I bought a year before we met. Its going to be a busy weekend of moving, and a LAN party tomorrow!

Earlier this week Kath's friend Mike joined us for a couple of days. She had to do an exam so Mike and I headed out into Manchester. He is into football so we went to Old Trafford to have a tour of the ground.
After the tour we headed into the city centre, had a walk from the town hall, past St Anne's Square to the triangle and a well deserved couple of beers in the Old Wellington. Then into the Arndale to get a gift for his Wife Karolina.
It was a gorgeous day in Manchester the sun was shining (no really!), we even got a little bit of a sun tan sat outside the Old Wellington.

Taking train home we manage to find time to fit in another beer at the Railway in Handforth. Before a changing and heading to meet Kath for dinner at the Bulls Head. Her exam seemed to have gone well, she came straight from the station so had her overnight bag which a local Shih Tzu took a liking too, sniffing the bag.

I hope that he enjoyed our brief tour of the city, I had to work on Wednesday so went to bed after dinner. Mike and Kath spend a few more hours having drinks and reminiscing.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Pleasure

Kasia and I headed to Anglesey to spend part of the long weekend with Bruce, Nina, Connie and Kath - Nina's Mum.

Nina had rented a cottage on the Island for a week family getaway. Unfortunately Bruce's parents had a car issue and could not join along.

Driving down on Saturday, it was the first long drive since I bought the BMW. It performed excellently on the long stretch of A55. While driving we listened to the latest album from Feist, entitled Pleasure.

The place we stayed at was called Clynnog Estate - a set of converted farm buildings and new build houses. We stayed at number 1, which I think was a converted barn or out building. Inside it was very well appointed, tastefully furnished with a large open plan dining kitchen and living space.

Saturday evening Bruce and I travelled to Menai and got a takeaway curry from Taste of India. I took chicken jaipuri special and Kasia had the sylhet chicken special. After dinner we sat in the living space talking and enjoying a few drinks. Nina's Mum amused us as she was by tracking the progress of the boxing match between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Kithschko on her phone. We really enjoyed their company it felt very natural and relaxed.

On Sunday we started with Connie asking us: 'What doing?' and a 6 km jog from the house round the to the nearest village. It was windy but we got a great view out. Arriving back to find Nina had made a lovely full English breakfast.

After breakfast we went for a look around Plas Newydd House. One of the National Trust properties on the Island, it was formally the residence of the Marquis of Angelsey. Inside it proved to be a fascinating house. Set in a stunning location with a views across the Menai straight. While exploring the house we were fortunate to catch a theatrical performance. A lady dressed in period costume talked us through the famous mural painted by Rex Whistler. He reputedly had an liaison with Caroline Paget, painting her nude, though there is some debate as to whether she posed or he used his imagination. After walking round the house we had a stroll arounds the gardens, then a play in the adventure park. Connie had a great time.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The thirst

This evening I took the opportunity to see Jo Nesbo speak. He was launching his new book the thirst. Along with Waterstones he had arranged a talk, Q&A and book signing in Liverpool at oh me oh my. The latest book the thirst is the 11th instalment of Nesbos' work following detective Harry Hole.

Battling traffic I arrived just in time to catch the start. Jo told us the correct way to pronounce both his own name and Harry Hole (apparently it is Harry HOO-LEH). When writing the first Harry Hole book the Bat, (which is set not in Oslo but in Sydney Australia) Nesbo deliberately chose a name that would be mispronounced in English, as a sort of in joke for hte Norwegian readers. At the time he had no idea the Harry would be around for 11 volumes most of which are set in Oslo. He than talk about writing. It was interesting to learn that when he re-read the books he can see thing that were going on in his own life that perhaps he didn't connect at the time. Also interesting to find that his father fought on the German side during the war and this memory influenced the Redbreast.

I think I was almost last in the queue to get my book signed, I asked Jo if he got cramp signing so many but he is a seasoned pro.

I think that the last time I went to a talk by an author was when Martina invited me to go and see Cormac McCarthy. That was thanks to Simply Books in Bramhall, I think all the way back in 2008? Seems like a lifetime ago.

Now off to start reading, so excited to find out what is next for Harry Hole :)