Saturday, December 23, 2006

An eventful couple of days...part 1

So much has happened in the last couple of days! First we moved house. We got keys to the new place at 1.30 in the afternoon. The van we had to move was a bit smaller than we had last time which meant we finished moving at 22.30. Both totally starving at this point we went to find something to eat. There weren't much open in the form of takeaways but we found this lovely indian place just around the corner that did beautiful curries.

Next morning after a freezing cold night we got up at 5.30 to pack to leave to Finland. We left the house 7ish and headed south. The weather was gorgeous, frosty cold with pastelly sunrise. We got to Gaenors at about 1.3pm. traffic was nice and easy all the way. She made us some tasty and filling lunch and then we were off to the airport...

In case you don't know, the last couple of days have been total chaous (can't get the link button to work but you can go and have a look at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6205247.stm) at Heathrow. With all internal and most of european flights cancelled because of dense fog- The fog doesn't affect flying but the ground stuff directing the planes around the airport and putting hte bags in etc are effected by it.

Ok the shower is finally free and I've got 30 minutes before we are off to the countryside. (we are at my sisters so there are 4 of us waiting for the shower). So hopefully at some point later I'll have time to tell about our Heathrow experience...

Friday, December 15, 2006

There is snow....

Yes, it it true, there finally is snow close to where my parents live. And there is supposed to be more tomorrow if the weather forecast is right :) Now I just need to find my thick woolly socks, mittens and hat to pack with me. Snowball fights, building snowcastles, tobogganing...less than are week to go :)

My friend Tina from Plymouth came to Newcastle on short notice and we met up for lunch and hot chocolate yeterday which was really nice. It was quite surreal as it all happened so quickly, she only emailed me on Monday saying that she was coming up to Newcastle. We had lovely time together, we had lunch, wandered around the city and then had coffee/hot chocolate.

I also met my second supervisor (for my PhD) yesterday and she seems very nice. I've got couple of more things to finish off and then my proposal is ready :)

Moses' eyes are a bit funny (infected we think) so I think we'll need to take him to the vet tonight.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

there is hope...

Look!!! Look!!! Can you see the snowflakes around where my parents live!!! That is the weather forecast for tonight...so hopefully tomorrow morning there will be ltos of snow there :) I was reading the Finnish news and this was on the first page and I got very very exited :)

Moving date...

It finally looks like we've got moving date. We exchanged contracts and have a completion date of the 20th of December (=the day before we fly to Finland!). We were suppose to exhange on Tuesday, but one of hte solicitors was uncontactable so we couldn't do that...and the people who are buying our house have a weird mortgage company who takes 6 days instead of the standard 5 to transfer money!
Thankfully in the end the buyers (Plymouth) solicitors requested the money without contracts being exhchanged on Tuesday (which they apparently don't like to do usually for understandable reasons) and we exchanged contracts yesterday. If they hadn't requested the money earlier we would be completing on the 21st and we would have to move in after we come back from Finland. Which would have meant much more hassle as we would have had to pay extra weeks rent to start with!
Coming back from Christmas holiday and unpacking boxes is ok whereas coming back from Christmas holiday and moving boxes from one house to another is not. All we need to do is pack the house, get a van and move it all on the 20th...and do some Christmas shopping!
There seems to be a trend here, our first house we completed the purchase of Lucas Terrace on the 19.12, this one will be completed on the 20.12. Our first anniversary we unpacked boxes (we did do romantic things like breakfast in bed and went out for lovely meal as well so it wasn't all unpacking!) and it looks like we will be unpacking on our 6th anniversary. So if the trend continues we will be moving in on the 21.12.2011 and spend our 11th anniversary unpacking as well!
PS: the snowline in Finland looks like it is retreating, far too depressing to add a picture here. I have been praying very faithfully for snow but it doesn't seem to be happening :( But lots can happen in a week so all is not lost!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Update on the snowsituation

Hmmmm....there is still not more snow than yesterday :( But the weather forecast looks like it is going to be colder at the end of the week...so there is some hope.
I've just had a meeting with my supervisor about my proposal. It has to be in on the 25.12 but as the university is closed for the Christmas it has to be in before that, i.e. early next week because we'll be in Finland at the end of the week :) Yesterday I spent reading and rereading my proposal, making odd changes here and there. My supervisor thought it was good :) but there are still couple of things I need to do before it's ready, so that's what I'll be doing for hte next couple of days.
It also sounds like that the communication between our solicitors is not too good...so it could be that we don't get to move in before we go to Finland. Yesterday it looked like we could get the keys on the 20th...today...not really sure. And to add to the stress if we do get the keys on the 20th, we only have the day to move and then we are driving up to the airport on the 21st. Life is never simple, is it?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Where is my snow???

This is the current snow situation in Finland. It is not looking good for my white Christmas but there are still 10 days before we fly out so all can change...The snow is only 1 county away (my parents live int he county that is the second one in from the right (east) side of the map, below the county that has snow up north).
Our buyers solicitor has been poorly and no one else in the office can do her work so we are definitely not moving in this Friday. Hopefully early next week before we fly out to Finland. At least it gives us an extra weekend to box everything :)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas present to Australia

Find a Christmas present that is fun, light, small and relatively cheap sounds easy enough. Finding a Chrismas present that is fun. light, small and relatively cheap to post to Australia is a totally different matter! David's brother has been travelling in the Far East for the last three months and is heading next to Australia (hence we have to send the present to Australia).
I spent nealry two hours wondering around the shops trying to find something fitting the description. Today is the last day of sending international airmail with quaranteed arrival before Christmas which didn't help my panic.
I did have an idea of getting one of those little 'brain puzzles', you know where you have to separate two rings or some similar. But the only ones I found were the wooden knot type things that you have to fit together...and too big for posting
Then I thought about some travel games, the magnetic ones, but they were all kind of big as well or they didn't look very nice and they didn't have any fun games, so that idea was out of the window.
I'd seen some fun sock in John Lewis couple of weeks ago so I went and had a look but they only had bright red ones left (with reindeer on them, they did have penguin ones as well...). I was tempted ;) but thought they wouldn't look to good with shorts and sandals on Australian beach on Christmas day!
So then I thought of some silly toy. We sent a little airplane that works with elastic band to the child we sponsor in Kenya one christmas and I thought that might be fun, a bit silly, but fun. Unfortunately there wasn't a toyshop in Newcastle city center that would sell anythign that small and silly :(
Cut the long story short, I spent long time shopping, having lots of brilliant ideas but not being able to find any products fitting to my brilliant ideas...in the end I did find something, but I wont tell what just in case Mark remebers the existance of our blog and reads it before Christmas - very unlikely, he seems to be having far too much fun to do anything like that, but you can never be too sure ;)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Moses & bones

The conference was ok/good. Talked to lots of people from different CETLs which was nice. Had some good workshops on different research methods, got givena free tin of mints and had a lovely lunch and the most amazing chocolate cake to keep me going.

Waking up at 5.30 wasn't too good but I seem to have survived and the train was on time which also helped. I was lazy and took the tube rather than walked, it wouldn't have been too long walk but I quite like the tube :)

I must have looked really scary with my knitting needles as nobody sat next to be on the way there or on the way back...but I finished a pair of mittens which is good.

I got woken up early today as well. Moses never ever makes noise at night but last night he started making lots of fuzz in his cage at 4.30 and he didn't stop so I thouhgt I'd better go and check what was going on as he wasn't stopping it and I was awake. We had given him a bone last night and he has very strong teeth and he can reduce a sizeable bone to a little pile of bone bits very effectively (some bones are better than others, but this one was definitlely on the easily destroyable side). I guess due to consuming a bit too many of these pieces he needed to go outside...and he took his time...

I was not too happy waiting in the cold...and it also took me a while to get back to sleep and I had a weird dream of bear cubs trying to get to our house! Especially weird as all the bears in England were hunted extinct centuries ago (that's why there are no forrests in England - they chopped down all the trees so that they could kill the bears, they like to let you think that it was to build their ships for conquering the world but that's just deception!)

PS: the bones usually smell horrible and his breath smell even worse after he has chewed them...do you think you can buy dog breath fresheners???

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'm hungry

I have been hungry since 10am but have been resisting eating my lunch as if I do that I'll go hungry for the rest of the day :( I did have a satsuma 30 minutes ago and it helped little bit but I think I'll have to give in soon and have my lunch.

Tomorrow is the Finnish independence day and I spending it sitting in a train. There is this conference in London which I've been volunteered to go to. So instead of spending a day baking karjalan piirakka and other Finish things I will be listening to lectures about pedagogic research and getting back home late.

PS: Hyvaa itsenaisyyspaivaa!!!
PPS: If you are interested you can have a look of the pets of Finnish president on her website.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Weekend update

On Friday the weather was gorgeous so we went on a little exursion in the afternoon. David had borrowed this panoramic camera for the weekend so off we went to Druridge Bay (above). It's about 25 minutes drive from pur new house and it is absolutely gorgeous place. I walked up and down the beach with Moses while David took some pictures. Moses beat up this black labrador who was double his size so he was happy. I had an afternoon of so I was happy and David had a fancy camera to play with so he was happy.

On Satruday we went to see Amy (David's sister) in York. She had baked these amazing muffins so we had a good start to a day with cup of tea and some muffins. Her house is next to the park so we took Moses for a wonder around the park and amused ourselves with watching him try to catch some ducks and anadian geese. They obviously cheated and swam deeper or flew away everytime he got a bit too close to them.
We wondered into town which was heaving with Christmas shoppers. Had lunch in a lovely tearoom. We did think about going up the tower of York Minster (above) but it was £3.50/each with no student discount so we decided against it and walked along the city walls instead. In the evening we had lovely dinner cooked by Amy before heading back home. On the way back we saw these warehouses/barn buildings in fire along the A1(M) and there were 5-6 fire-engines trying to put out the fire. Google was unable to fullfill my curiousity about the fire so we are not sure how it started and what was burning.
On Sunday we continued our church hunting. This time it was Elim. We nearly missed it becasue we got back late and didn't put our alarm on. Moses was not impressed with us, first we sleep to 10.15 and then we feed him have breakfast and leave him again! Also we thought it started at 11 but it didn't. So when we got there at 11.05 we had missed 20 minutes of the worship. Everyone was really friendly and came and chatted to us when there was a break. The pastor had some good points he made and overall it was nice but it wasn't really us so I think the hunt continues.
We bought the paper on Sunday and Prince William featured in 3 different news articles, they must have had a shortage of news!!! One of them was about his success in Sandhurst, other one a speculation about his engagement and third one was about how he had held a baby in a recent visit to hospital. Apparently there had been some criticism after the visit on how he had held the baby but the writer of the article had a very valid point - 40.000 people die annually as a resutl of medical staff mismanagement where as 0 die due to contact with the royals...therefore it is safer for the royals to have holding your baby rather than the medical staff ;)
PS: if everything goes well we should move in on the 15th of December :)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Self-combusting lights

When I came to the office on Monday my light was not working. We got these rather interesting uplighters that make an awful noise when you switch them on. First time I turned them on I was sure they were going to explode!

So dutifully following the procedure for anything that doesn't work I emailed one of the admin girls who emailed one of the estates people to report the broken lightbulb. The following day, in the middle of another exiting artcile I was reading the man from the estates with a lovely geordie accent comes to fix it. He changes the lightbulb...nothing happens...he turns the switch on an off...still not working!!! And it gets dark early up here so I need my light!

So he climbs up on the ladder again and starts taking my light to pieces (alongside I get a running commentary of how much trouble these lights are, the lightbubs are £35 each to replace etc). Finally he comes to the conclusion that it had shorted (or something to similar effect) and the fuse box has melted. As he needs to get a new part he can't fix it today so he tapes it up according to all health and safety regurlations and promises to come back tomorrow.

The next day he duly appears, fixes my light and this time it works. Just to cheer me up (or scare me even more about these lights) he tells that he had a call from office on the first floor and instead of just melting the fuse box the whole thing had gone up in flames and exploded!!! It is a dangerous life working in an office, if it is not papercuts or nasty staplers that are out to get you, it is the lights!!!!

PS: Have you ever heard of picking up rasberries in November? It is not just me who thinks it is mild!!!

Laura to the rescue

'Oh, I've got the test today and I don't know where the piece of paper is' were pretty much the first words (or the jist of them) David uttered this morning. I was a bit baffled to start with, i.e. what test, what paper...but it turns out it's the day for his dyslexia test*, it's at 9am (it was 7.02 at this point) and he has no idea where the piece of paper with the directions is!!!
I think David had these visions of being totally lost and not knowing where to go but thankfully I had couple of weeks ago had a vaguely organised moment and put all the papers floating about the coffee table in three different folders -the house we are buying, dyslexia, everything else - and I was able to produce a folder that I had even labeled with everything in a neat pile inside including the piece of paper with the directions.
The panic was over and we could have our morning cup of tea in peace**.
* despite having received 1-to-1 tuition at school, receiving assistance (=computer&books) at Plymouth uni for being dyslexic and having 10-page long detailed dyslexia report David has to go and do some more tests with educational psychologists in order for them to be sure that he is dyslexic....and then they wonder where all the goverment money goes
** if Moses running around like lunatic wanting to play wiht us and generally not understanding the importance of sitting in your bed and havign a cup of tea first thing in the morning can be classed as peace

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kuvia Mooseksesta Roosalle!

Roosa pyysi kuvia Mooseksesta joku aika sitten. Tassa on kaksi alkupaloiksi...jos jouluun asti jaksat odottaa niin sitten naet vaikka kuinka monta :)
Miks sa et heita sita? ma odotan niin natisti...

Aina van mun pitaa istua ja odottaa, eiko ne ihmiset tajua etta ma tykkaan juosta!

(One of my sisters requested pictures of Moses some time ago and here they finally are)

Those were the days

We ventured out to Middlesborough last night and had a lovely evening with Craig & Kerina and Craig's housemates Paul and Mark. Craig had prepared a tasty curry and we had fun time sitting together at the meal table. I baked the first mince pies of the year and we had them for pudding. We looked through some photos from SoM and it was fun remembering all the fun things that happened and lovely people we met there. And especially our regurlar coffee times at Timothy's in downtown Toronto.
On the way home we had little adventure (if you can call it that). We were very low on diesel when we got there but thought we'd fill up on the way back. When we left it was latish and the garage around the corner was closed so we had to go on without filling up. We weren't too worried as we had seen couple of petrol stations on the dual carriage way however they had closed the bridge that the A19 crosses and sent us on a diversion - only problem being it was not very well signposted diversion, i.e. you saw the diversion sign from the corner of your eyes when you were level with the junction and had no way of turning of!!!
When we finally managed to find our way back to the A19 the amount of diesel left in the tank was non-existant...at the last moment a petrol station that was open appeared and we filled up and life was well again. So it was mildly stressful but it could have been quite fun to pray for diesel...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Some exploration and persistant cold

Not much has happened in Newcastle over the last couple of days. I had a annoying cold over the weekend so I was sniffing and coughing. Moses ate something he shouldn't have and his body didn't agree with it so he was starved for 24h to help his body to get back to normal. He was very thankful for his breakfast this morning!

On Saturday we went for a drive along the coast north of Newcastle. It was really pretty and we had some good fun. I sneezed and coughed but the weather was nice and the car was warm so all was well. We stopped at couple of different places and had a little walk. Moses definitely approved of that!!! We bought some pies for a lunch from a farmshop and stopped at little town to eat them. We parked by the quay and watched some fishermen sorting out their nets while we munched our lunch. The coast was beautiful, very different than in the south west but equaly lovely. We found this huge beach with some amazing sanddunes and it didn't have huge carpark right next to it, which hopefully means it won't be too busy in the summertime. And there was no 'no dogs' sign either so Moses can come with us.

On Sunday I was even more miserable sniffing and coughing so we stayed home for the day relaxing and eating lots of oranges. We watched oceasn 11 in the evening which was good fun. My cold is pretty much over now, just some minor sniffing left.

My proposal due date is 25.12! As it is very unlikely that noone will be here on Christmas day to receive it, I will have to hand it in before Christmas which means I've got busy couple of weeks coming up.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Be nice

Some Londoners have got tired of meeting rude, crumpy people on the way to work and are trying to change this. They have little bagdes/tags (niceties tokens to be exact) you can give to someone who is nice and the tags have identification number so you can go and log on to a website to tell where you got it from and then you can pass it onto someone else who is nice!
Couple of years ago we watched a film that had a bit similar idea, it was based on a book. It's about extra assignment at school which was to think of a way of changing world and put it in action. The hero of the story comes up with the following:

"You see, I do something real good for three people. And then when they ask how they can pay it back, I say they have to Pay It Forward. To three more people. Each. So nine people get helped. Then those people have to do twenty-seven." He turned on the calculator, punched in a few numbers. "Then it sort of spreads out, see. To eighty-one. Then two hundred forty-three. Then seven hundred twenty-nine. Then two thousand, one hundred eighty-seven. See how big it gets?"

The film really made you think how little things can make a difference. Sometimes it takes a long time to see the effects of but just because it is small doesn't mean it's unsignificant. It's a bit like dropping a stone in the water and seeing the ripples get bigger and bigger, reaching out furhter and further.

I guess you could summarise it in Jesus words of do to others as you would like them to do to you. We have a choise every day, we can either pass on good things or bad things, we can be positive or negative, we can be friendly or rude, we ca be selfless or selfish. It is up to us to make a difference in this world, we can change for better or worse. (sermon over).

Here is another heartwarming story to read if you have time.

Casino Royale


As it was Wednesday yesteray we went to cinema and surprisingly saw the new Bond film. We'd planned to go for 8 o'clock show but there were only single seats left, same for the 8.30 so we went for the 9pm and spent an hour or so looking around this huge bookshop that is close to the cinema (and is open untill 10pm!!!)


We loved it. It took a while to get used to Bond with blond hair but he was brilliant. It had all you want in a bond film, classic lines, pretty girls, twist in a story, fast cars, explosions, villain who looks like villain, beautiful scenery...only thing it didn't have was a carchase...probably just to make up for the last one that didn't really have much else than car chase in it ;) And the critics seem to like it as well.

And Judi Dench was excellent as M (not really a surprise). Actually the acting was really good all around. Someone at work made a comment that Bond had turned emotional (which is obvioulsy bad if you are 00) so I kind of expected it to be 'emotional' but it wasn't, it was brilliant! I guess he was a bit more in touch with his feelings than before but it jsut fitted in the story very well.

We thoroughly recommend it!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Christmas present?

I have found the perfect gift for David for Christmas, they had an article about it on the BBC website and I think it would save me lots of time...usually when David looses keys/wallet my help is requested. And boys usually like gadgets so that's like hitting two birds with one stone!But as it costs $99 I might have to leave it and get somethin else instead.
I'm really looking forwards to Christmas and lots of snow :) We are flying to Finland in less than a month now...jippiii!!!
We bought Moses a new toy yesterday. He used to have a squeeqy bone but he chewed it to pieces so we thought he's need a new toy. They didn't have any squeeqy toys in Sainsbury's so we got this funny lemon shaped and coloured hollow rubber ball for him (you can put some pate etc inside there andit issuppose to keep the dog occupied for hours when he tries to lick it off). We didn't have nay pate but he didn't seem to mind. Everytime we walked past him he moved away as he thought we were going to take his precious new toy away from him...he nearly even skipped his dinner as he was so exited about it!
David has had his first pieces of course work back and he has done really well, he got an A+ for his portrait collection and B & C for other pieces of work!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Newcastle-Plymouth-Beaconsfield/Seer Green-Newcastle

We went to Plymouth over the weekend and added total of 970 miles to the tank's already high mileage. Drive down was good when David was driving but hte moment we swapped and I started driving the heavens opened and htere was terential rains with tons of spray on the road for the next 3 hours :( but we got to Plymouth in one piece.

We stayed with Paul & Nikki for the night. It was really nice to catch up. I got the honour of reading Abi's bedtime story :) Once the girls were asleep we had lovely dinner and chatted etc. We've really missed having dinner with friends (as we haven't made that many friends yet up here...snif, snif...)

In the mornign Nathan cooked us breakfast. So we got to catch up with him and got cooked breakfast - what more could you ask! Moses had developed an eye infection so we had to take him to the vets for that (paid lots of money, got some eye-ointment thatseems to be working). Rest of the morning was spent cleaning the house and taking the cooker out. When David put the kitchen in, he did rather good job at it, and the gas-hose was very solildly positioned behind one of the cupboards - now there is a neat little drillhole on the side of the cupboard...

We had planned to see Tony for lunch but he had to work so instead we made a considerable reduction in Nikki's chocolate spread stock...chocolate spread on toast....yammee :)

After taking the pooch for a walk we drove up to Rob & Gaenors arriving there when it was the girls bathtime, I am jeaolous of their extensive bath toy collection, Anna has a fish that squirts water, a crab that squirts water, a whale that squirts water...and I got very wet as I had nothing.

On Sunday morning we got woken up by Anna and Rebekkah chattering away and playing together which was really sweet. After breakfast we went to church and saw Gaenor vicaring which was really nice. It's the first time we've seen her 'in action'. We had a lovely lunch in the vicarage prepared by the vicar herself and some delicious stewed apples for pudding.

Drive back was good and we got to Newcastle at sensible time. We had some dinner, watched love actually na ddrank some german wine that was really nice. (we've been on a mission to find some german wine for a while and found this one in oddbins and it's really nice)

We enjoyed our weekend, a bit tired after doing lots of driving but it was so nice to see friends. Moses enjoyed the visit as well...he got to snif around in three different kitchens for crumbs...he got to say hello to both of the old ladies who use to take him for a walk...he chased a squirrel in the woods...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Moment of happiness

Football...since we met England has alwys been better at football than Finland which I guess is forgivable as the English claim to have invented the game ;) but now the tables have been turned...we are half way through (I think) of the qualifiers to the euro 2008 and Finland is on top of the group A ahead of Portugal and Poland whereas England is 3rd in group E trailing behind Croatia and Russia! Have a look here if you don't believe.
On a different note David's old work doesn't seem to be doing too good either.

Window shopping

We were going to go to cinema yesterday but there was nothing on we wanted to see so we went window shopping instead. Or if going to ikea and planning your ideal kitchen can be called window shopping! They are making the ikea here bigger so every now and then you come across this building site at the middle of the store...
Our kitchen dreaming came to the conclusion that we can have a really nice kitchen in the new house but it might be a bit step by step process, due to the limited finances students are known to have, i.e. move the existing cupboards to the other side of the room, knock down the wall, by some nice cabinets to replace some old ones, buy some more to make the breakfast bar etc. Estimated time of completion autumn 2008...
There is also a new furniture store that has just opened next to ikea and we went and had a look there as well. They had some nice sofas and lots of nice kitchen things and some nice rugs. It was nicer than ikea, little bit more expensive but not too expensive, and it was fun to just wander around the different departments & showrooms.
So overall we had a fun evening, probably more interactive and social than if we had gone to cinema but next Wednesday we are going to see the new bond film and we can be antisocial then...
We also planned our visit to Plymouth. We found out yesterday that we are likely to be completing on our house in Plymouth week on Friday, we also found out that they don't want to buy our old cooker. So we need to drive from one end of the country to the otherto pick up the cooker but that's ok because we can also see some friends at the same time :) We'll leave quite early tomorrow, go and see the estate agents in Plymouth, stay the might with Paul & Nikki, go and tidy up the house & unconnect the cooker on Saturday, see Tony & Nathan, drive to Beaconsfield, stayt he night with Rob & Gaenor, go and see Gaenor vicaring in the mornign and then drive back here to the land far far away.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

All is well

Not much has happened in the Lindsey household over the last couple of days. David has been taking lots of pictures, I have been reading lots of journal articles and Moses has been wanting to go for more walks than we have taken him to...
Oh, something has happened...David has a job interview for a jobin one of the department stores next Wednesday, it's only untill Christmas if he gets it but it's better than nothing :) Sainsbury's have also got back to him ansd they want him to fill in a proper application to work in a new store they are opening near to our house to be. So watch this place...
It's been really really windy here but still not really cold, I think it should have snowed by now...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hide and seek

Moses has been learning a new skill over the last week or so. He is becoming the expert in hide and seek. When we go for a walk he usually likes to run infront of us so one of us has an amble opportunity to go and hide behind the trees. When he comes back the other one of us who didn't hide says Go, find and off Moses goes. He is getting pretty good at that. He usually runs back to the last place where he saw the hiding person and works from there.
Another variation of the same game is indoor hide & seek. Due to the slight confounding factor that Moses can't count, I throw a ball to the kitchen (which is in the back of hte house) and while he is getting the ball I go and hide in one of the other rooms. He is pretty good at it and he seems to love it. The only problem is that he is getting quite fast at getting the ball from the kitchen whereas my speed of running has not increased much ;) But we have good time playing which is the main thing.
It looks like we are finally coming to a agreement on the price of the house in Plymouth. Our fears of having to sell the house for the price the surveyor downvalued it to haven't materialised (but it is less than the original asking price). So the good news is we should be able to pay David's tuition fees :)
I had an email from my dad and he told me it has been really cold in Finland...-23 degrees! And the little lake by their house is frozen over already. It hasn't been anything that cold here, I wish but there is not even any sign of snow :(
PS: The dental students common room is called Bridge and crown - wouldn't Floss and brush would be a bit more catchy?
PPS: ma leivoin eilen kardemummakakkua...naminami...
PPPS: there is no real reason why the photo is in the beginning, I just saw it on the BBC news website yesterday and liked it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Part II Church hunting

We had a pretty good weekend. David had borrowed a large format camera (negative size 10cm compared to the standard negative of 35mm) so off we went to yorkshire Dales again. We went to Swaledale and Wensleydale, saw lots of beautiful scenery and took 4 pictures (it costs £4/negative to get them developed). Moses also approved our choice of location and very happily ran around madly.
Unfortunately we failed to find a pub that was happy to let dogs in so we experienced what it is like to eat outside in England in November. In hindsight we probably should have ordered tea instead of lemonade as my fingers got a bit chilly but there is nothign a pair of mittens can't solve. The locals were building the bonfire for guy falkes on the square outside the pub, it was quite fun to follow all these little kids carrying branches bigger than themselves on the pile.
On Sunday we went to church. This time it was a new frontiers one & we could actually hear ourselves think. The talk was good but worship was very different than we are use to. But on a scale form 1 to 10 it was 10 times better than our last effort. And the people were very nice and friendly so they could be a possibility depending on how rest of the churches turn out to be. We do have bit of a problem on their stand on women's role (or lack of it rather) on leadership though.
We had lovely bacon and egg sandwiches prepared by David for lunch (the first meal David ever cooked for me was b&e sandwich :) In the afternoon we took the dog out on the town moor (this huge cow field in the city centre) and on the way back we saw a bonfire that had got a bit out of hand in someones backyard...very small backyard...the flames were 2 meters above the wall! There was a happy'ish ending as we saw fire engine arrive and save the house just as we were leaving.
It was my lucky day yesterday as David cooked a dinner as well :) We also watched a fun film over the weekend, someone at work mentioned about it so I got curious. It's called Goal and it is set in Newcastle and you can see the beach that is going to be close to our new house on it. It's all about football but it has got a relatively good (but little bit cheesy) storyline to it and you get to see lots of scenes from Newcastle.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It is (still) getting colder...

It was chilly this morning...very very chilly. The heating went on 30 minutes before we got up and it was only 16 degrees by the time we woke up. It took lots of courage to get out of hte bed to make a cup of tea and feed the pooch. Thankfully the heating system is good so after turning the temperature up it didn't take too long untill the temperature was warm enough to poke my nose outside the duvert. But we didn't have any snow storms like Scandinavia - they did promise some sleet in the scottish highlands though!
We had a session on Myers Briggs yesterday in the research meeting in the school. It was fun and we even got to do the questionnaire rather than jsut hearing about it. I hadn't changed since I last did it and was still an INFP. I think David is either ENFP or ENFT, not totally sure.
After doing the questionnaire we did some exercises based on our personality types and it was really interesting to see the differences between the groups. In the first one we were shown a picture for couple of seconds and then we discussed about it in the groups for couple of minutes, after that all the groups told what they saw. My group went for the touchy feely things - it was colourful, friendly etc and we even remembered some details whereas other groups remembered all the details but didn't really articulate the athmosphere of the picture.
David did a gallery visit with his course yesterday to Bradford. He seemed to enjoy it which is good and he even have to write a critique on the exhibition!!! Degree in photography is not just about taking pictures??? It is only 500 words so I guess we can forgive the lecturer (but htey do have to write 3 of them in the course of the semester...)
On the house front we are still waiting to hear back the results for all the quotes people in Plymouth have to have done. So far the electrics test has come back saying it's all fine :)
We did little bit of exploration over the weekend when David's parents & Amy came up. It was really nice to see them. We went to the Northumberland national park and Kielder water. David and I manage to leave our digital camera hanging on the fence pole and we only realised an hour later when we were about to go and have pub lunch in some little village in the scottish borders. After lunch we drove back on the windy little roads to Kielder water and thankfully some little girl had handed it into the visitors centre! So there are still some honest and good people in this world :)
We often think that our guardian angels work over time with us and our possessions. We have left the car unlocked so many times (by accident) with a) wallet b) mobile phone c) digital camera d) all of the above on the front seat (both in Plymouth and up here) and miraculously nothing has disappeared. I did once leave the car keys on the front seat of the car and it was still there when we got back - it was the micra, which might be part of the reason why it hadn't disappeared.
If anyone wants to buy a car, we have one for sale (and it comes with extra angels as a standard feature) We are selling the passat (insurance is too much for our student budget) and it is too big for nipping in and out of town. It's just had an MOT & it has 6 months tax. Please buy it!!! It is very reliable & big - there is nothing you can't fit in that car.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Lectures...

I had (or was suppose to have) a lecture on Introduction to critical appraisal (aka how to read journal articles and decide which ones are good and which ones are bad) yesterday. I made sure I was there couple of minutes early so I don't have to try to sneek which is impossible as the doors haven't been oiled since the medical school was built!
Regardless of my very unsuccesful attempts (i.e. I haven't got a clue what they are talking about) of small talk with all the other PhD students I thought I'd try again and starting chatting with this guy who was sitting next to me. He was from Persian and had unpronouncable name so I renamed him the protein guy in my mind.
I am very thankful that I did start chatting to him as it turned out that they could not find the lecturer anywhere and were searching for him high and low. It would have been very boring 25 minutes to wait without having anybody to talk to but fortunately I had the protein guy and we had very interesting conversation with the protein guy about Persia, Finland, England and PhDs.
At some point he turned around and asked if my husband was a scientist too...I wasn't really sure what to answer as I wouldn't class myself as a scientist like him (you can't really compare psychology and biochemistry, can you?) I guess I did graduate with BSc so in theory I am kind of a scientist but my idea of scientist is someone like him spending time in his little lab, testubes and cells.
My other lecture yesterday was on Research governance (aka lots of forms you have to fill in in order to do clinical research). As I have applied for some research governance approvals before it wasn't really that new but the lady had some fun examples of what had happened when people had filled the forms wrong. Some researcher had signed on the wrong line and it turned out he personally (as opposed to the NHS trust) was financially liable to cover any problems that occured in a European wide drugs trial for a new drug...I wouldn't want to be in his shoes.
The research governance lecture was in this obscure medical demonstration theatre that was impossible to find and I nearly gave up (I was late) but then I asked one of the lab people that were hanging around the corridors in their white coats and he pointed me to the right direction.
They got these smart cards and some buildings or areas of buildings you can only get to if you have a smart card that is authorised for that area. As I was getting more and more lost looking for this room I was getting very worried that I was going to get stuck in some corridor where I couldn't get out because my card didn't have the right clearance...before I bumped into this lab-coat guy I had opened quite a few doors with my card and I had no idea how to get back to where I had started from...but I lived to tell the tale and I am not vading away in some obscure corridor of the medical school :)

Friday, October 27, 2006

The wonders of interactive internet tools

I have been reading lots about NHS recently, mainly about policy changes, the effects these changes have on service delivery and other equally exiting things. Whilst looking for some of these policy documents I somehow stubled across some fun interactive tools on the NHS direct website. As I was in need of a break from the policy documents I played around with them.
First I took the 5-a-day quiz to see how my fruit and vege knowledge was and I manage to get 4/5 which was pretty good I thought. I got a question wrong about trying to feed the kids vege but I guess I can be excempt from that question due to my lack of practice in the area. Then I tried the safe drinking calculator which told me I was drinking sensibly and within the limits. I was not surprised by this as our student budget just about allows us bottle of wine a week between us :(
Then I got brave and filled in the details for the execrise to calories calculator. Thanks to my cycling to work and taking the dog for a walk it gave me a very encouraging picture of my calory consumption. Thankfully it didn't take into account my weekly chocolate consumption! And on top of that if I knew how much I weighed I could have also tried the body mass index calculator.
Also if I was pregnant or smoker I could have either calculated how much money I save my quitting smoking or to see how my pregnancy was advancing. As I am neither I have to go back to work.
But as far as interactive tools go these ones are actually pretty useful ones unlike seeing which friends character you are like (Monica - they obviously haven't seen our house ;) or which superhero you remind most (Superman).

Thursday, October 26, 2006

NHS for the animals

When Moses had his operation he had these stiches that just melted away, and it all seemed to be healing very well...but last week or so we noticed this little sore looking area and it has just got worse and worse. And it doesn't help the matters that he keeps licking it.
So we went to the vets again - second time in two weeks or so! That dog does not know how to behave on public places, he gets so exited by every furry thing or human who comes throught he door that he starts whining and wants to go and say hello to everyone. It can be very embarrishing especially if everyone else has well behaved dogs or some little animals that can be contained in their cages!
The long and short of it was that it's some post-operation skin irritation and he got prescribed weeks worth of antibiotics (they are pink) and antiflammatory tablets (which apparently smell like chicken). And it was expensive!!! We could have ordered a very nice case of wine for the price of the tablets and the consultation.
We were so shocked and couldn't believe how much it cost just for some antibiotics and then it dawned on us that there is no NHS for the dogs that subsidices the cost of prescriptions. Or rather that's why human prescriptions are so much cheaper. I guess there is at least some benefits in paying taxes!
So if anyone is short of prayer topics here is 2:
- Moses would get healed really quickly
- God would send us lots of money (so we can pay for his medicine and the new lino that needs to be put in the kitchen)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The House

We went to see the house yesterday as mentioned earlier in the midst of the exitement of the hollow wall. We took the digital camera with us so that we could take some pics of the house to show everyone who is willing to look at them.

Here is the back of the house, the little extension is the kitchen
and the french doors go to the dining room.


Here is the hall from top of hte landing.


The front room with a huge bay window where the sofa will be going or Christmas tree depending on time of the year :)


This is the dining room/breakfast room to be - you can'r really see much but it is really nice and light and will look so gorgeous once we knock the wall down...


And here is the back garden. It is not big but it is a garden. It's got these huge borders all around which we are going to make smaller and increase the lawn, plants some fan trained apples trees along the wall and lots of other things...


PS: we can't wait to move in

PPS: we still need to get the mortgage arranged and the house in Plymouth sold but we are really really exited regardless

PPPS: we will be having a knock-the-wall down party

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The wall is hollow, hurrah hurrah hurrah

...or so we think anyway....we went to see our house-to-be again today and it is still lovely. We have been dreaming and planning the kitchen and how we'd do it. The best plan we've come up with is knowcking the wall through to the dining room and having a breakfast room...but we thought that the wall between kitchen and the dining room is solid/load bearing wall = costs a lot of money to get rid of it (which we haven't got).
When we went to see the house today just to measure some things we knocked on the wall in question and it is hollow, or rather it sounds hollow. And if that is the case we'll have our dream kitchen sooner rather than later :) And we'd also get to knock a wall down in the process and don't have to pay for someone else to do it!
It was a bit nippy here this morning, my fingers got a bit chilly cycling in but apart from that it was a nice and clear autumnal morning in Newcastle and all the Notherners on David's course were complaining how cold it was!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

An eventful weekend

On Satruday we thought we'd go and admire some apples. We had lovely time in Harlow Carr, looking at pretty plants, having a picnic and planning our tiny garden in the new house. On the way back we drove through the edge of Yorkshire Dales that we just gorgeous. My mum use to read James Herriot books to me when I was little and I nearly gave up my dream of either owning a sweet shop or toy shop and becoming a vet instead because of them.
Moses was very exited when we got home. We weren't so exited to see what he had done when we got home. He had totally and completely distroyed the lino in the kitchen (we were far too distraught to take any photographic evidence). He wasn't the most popular dog that night! Thankfully our landlord said that he doesn't mind us decorating (painting) so we are hoping he is not going to mind a new lino in the kitchen...
This was also the first weekend of our church hunting. We definitely had an experience and found one church where we will not be going mainly because we would like to have our hearing intact. The people were friendly when we got there and we got shown to our seats like in theatre (which David didn't mind but I quite like choosing where I sit). Someone mentioned to us when we were in Toronto that Hillsong have real thrive for spirit of excellence so we kind of expected some level of performance but this was totally of our scale...
In the end we walked out half way through the worship, wandered down to the Quayside with our ears still ringing, bought some fresh doughnuts, went to see some contemporary art and were quite certain about that that wasn't our flavour of church. They did seem very relational and nice bunch but maybe we are getting old because we could cope with the volume of music and the smoke machine just made me giggle.
In the afternoon we tried laying some lino tiles (didn't work so we'll have to go and buy some proper lino), had some God time, watched some friends, drank some tea and ate brownies and played some dominos. And got woken up buy upstairs noisy kids at the middle of the night but they are moving out in a week or so so i think we'll cope.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Monkey business

I am sure someone could do a research project on the posters academics have on their walls. Over the last couple of years I have come across all sorts of funny things people decorate their offices in addition to the required wall full of books & files. I saw a hilarious printout of Bush being compared to chimpanzees and it was really really amusing...unless you are a vervent Bush supporter I guess. And good old google found me the website where they were from so that you can admire them as well!
We are still very exited about our new house to be and how close it is to the sea :) And there is a chippy (which I've probably mentioned before), cute teahouse and coffeeshop, some other nice looking shops, Sainsbury's and a pub (an official goverment requirement for any village or town in England to be considered habitable...) all within a walking distance and what is even better the metro station is just around the corner so we don't need to have any more arguements/slight disagreements about who is drinking and who is driving if we are going out - we can just take the metro.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Northern haircut

We are about to go and find a place to have David's hair cut which might be interesting. When we were in Canada one of the hairdressers/barbers David went to was a Jamaican place and he was probably the first non curly haired person who they had given a haircut so it looked interesting...thankfully I think there might not be that much difference between northern and southern hairtypes in England but you can never be too sure ;)

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Finnish invasion

It was really nice to see my old school friend/s. We met Sanna in town on Saturday, did a bit of shopping, had a coffee and then picked up the dog and went for a walk on the beach. In the evening we cooked a curry and chatted away and then after dinner we met her boyfriend and another finnish boy (who both also went to the same school, than we did) for drinks.
It was really random sitting in a pub in deepest darkest Newcastle and speaking English to 3 Finnish people (for the benefit of David). I can safely say we were the blondest table in the room! I also heard very good explanation from Sanna on why people think of blondes the way they do, the reason is the blondes are the only ones who ask the questions that are bothering them, everyone else is too afraid to ask and that's why people think blondes don't know anything.
The next day we had very lazy day. We had our usual morning cup of tea and spent a long time planning how we would do up the garden in our new house and anything else that needed doing in the house. Sanna and the boys popped over to drop a book in the afternoon (when we were about to take the pooch for a walk) and stayed for a cup of coffee/tea. When they were leaving I came out to show on the map what's the best way for them to drive back so all 4 of us were crowding around this one map and all the locals were very curious to see 4 people each blonder than the other so we got quite a few stares which was amusing.
It is starting to feel quite wintery here, we went for a walk on the fields somewhere outside Newcaslte and it was so misty and miserable that I was hoping we had a fireplace and we could come home and sit by the fire drinking a nice cup of hot chocolate. As we didn't have a fireplace we made a cup of tea and had some chocolate instead.

Friday, October 13, 2006

So....

It looks like we are getting the house - the other people didn't offer more money :) so we are very very exited but are facced with the hassle of getting a mortgage which is a bit complicated as neither one of us works...thankfully we have larger than the standard 5% deposit thanks to our last house. We've been to see our mortgage girl Wendy twice this week and she sent of the application paper work yesterday so early next week we'll now if the application has gone through or if we have to come up with a plan B & experience lots more stress!
Unfortunately the people who are buying our house in Plymouth have found a very mean surveyor (who must have had a bad day when he went to view our house) and he has come up with a long long list of things that are wrong with the house and recommending/demanding a rather big reduction in the price :( which means we are not going to have money to do up the kitchen as we had planned (any donations are welcome) and that the whole process is taking much longer as they have to get various quotes etc before they can get a mortgage and then we have to negotiate a new price.
This week has been a funny one, apart from the house it hasn't been that exiting. We thought of changing Moses' food to a new one. So we bought some of the new stuff and started mixing it with his old food as you are suppose to. We soon found out that Moses' body did not agree with the new food at all, we tried couple of days and it just didn't get any better so we decided to stick with the old food. If anyone would like to buy a bag of chicken and brown rice flavoured dog food we have nearly full one going cheap ;)
But the good news is, we have found nice pet shop (which is surprisingly difficult to do) and also vets. Moses hasn't been wormed for a while so we thought it would be good idea to do so. After seeing the mortgage girl in Whitley Bay we popped into the petshop to ask if they knew any vets locally. There was one up the road, quite close to our house-to-be so off we went.
The veterinary nurse was very chatty & had a lovely norhtern accent. She had some bordercollies herself so she got very exited of the idea of meeting Moses! They only do worm & flea stuff as prescription so we have to take Moses in today to get checked over before they give the tablets. Oddly, Moses loves going to the vets (because they give him treats) so that should be fun, and he gets very exited when he meets new people....it could be interesting, thankfully he has pretty much got over wetting himself when he gets exited (he only does it now if he has been in the car for a long long time, i.e. Newcastle to Dorset)
David got to play around with some large format cameras on his course yesterday so he was very happy. They went to the Quayside and took some pictures. He couldn't wait a whole week for developing the film so he asked the lecturer if he could do it today which he was fine about. So David's day is consisting of developing the large format film with the lecturer, developing couple of other rolls of film, taking Moses to the vet and going to the beach and taking some pictures. One of his assignments is to take a portrait and as we don't really know many people here I get the honour of posing for the pictures.
Haven't really got anything much planned for the weekend. Hopefully will see a friend & her boyfriend who I know from school. They are studying in Leeds and are coming to see a another person (from our school) who is also living in Newcastle. Small world to have 4 people from the same year & school in foreign country living relatively close to each other! David thinks is the Scandinavians secret attempt to take over England again after the vikings didn't manage to rule here forever.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

another sleepless night

We've had another sleepless night, or two in fact, since the noisy kids upstairs episode. We went househunting on Monday. When we were looking for house in Plymouth it tooks us literally months to find a place we liked so we thought finding a house is going to be a long drawn out exercise again.
When we came looking for flat to rent we had lunch in Whitley Bay on the coast and thought it would be really nice place to live in so off we went Monday afternoon going around some of the estate agents in Whitley Bay and we even manage to organise 3 viewings for the same day.
First one had loads and loads of potential and it was stone through away from the sea, David was getting rather exited of the idea of doing this house up, it was definitley a challenge. The second one was quite a bit too small for all of our belongings but it had a big garden. We had little bit of time before we were going to see the last house and we took Moses for a walk on the beach and this time it didn't rain!
And then we went to see the last house and it was perfect. It had a garden, big rooms, original doors, nice neigbourhood and all it needed doing to it was a new kitchen. So we got exited and put an offer in which the owners accpeted (up here the owners do all the viewings ratehr than the estate agents!) but they had another couple coming to see the house later on the same evening so we spent the evening being very worried that they were going to offer more money than we did!
After seeing the third house we got fish and chips and parked the car buy the see and still couldn't really believe what had happened, we'd seen three houses and found a really really lovely one straight away! So we didn't get too much sleep that night, we were both thinking of the house. At 3am we were both awake and it turned out we had both been thinking of how we'd do the kitchen and if we could do a similar knock through to the dining room than Dan & Lil had in Exeter!
Last night it looked like that we were going to get a good night sleep, the other people hadn't offered more money (not htat we know of it anyway) so we didn't have to worry about that, we had replanned the kitchen and the kids upstairs were quiet...so we dozed off happily...and slept happily untill 1.30am when a car alarm went of outside - thankfully it was our car alarm so we could turn it (there is nothing more annoying than car alarm going of for hours in the night) but it meant we had to get out of the bed, find the keys etc and after it took me a longtime to get back to sleep.
So that was our third sleepless night in a row :( I don't think the middle one counts though, it's quite nice being so exited that you can't sleep! So now we are hoping and praying (and would be very grateful if you do the same:) that
- our house sale in Plymouth goes through as quickly as possible
- all the arrangements in this end go smoothly especially getting mortgage etc
- our landlord doesn't mind us moving out before the 6 months contract is up

Monday, October 09, 2006

No sleep :(

We got back about 9.20 last night and thought we would have a nice early night...but unfortunately teh unruly kids who live upstairs had other thoughts (or their paretns have very different thought about what time to put a 2-year old toddler to bed than we do). So we had a nice cup of tea when we got home, brushed our teeth, put our pjs on and pulled the duvert on and closed our eyes in order to get some well earned rest after drving for 6+ hours (we did total of 970 miles over the weekend).
We had both been looking forwards to having a good night sleep (=long, peaceful & quiet) but the for the next two hours we had army of kids jumping, shouting and screaming pretty much solidly...every now and then you get fooled into thinking that they have finally fallen a sleep but then they start again.
So what do you???
a) bang on the wall/ceiling - next door neighbour on the left did that
b) shout - David did that
c) bang on the wall again - next door neighbour on the right did that
d) go and knock on their door and tell them to be quiet - no one did that as they don't speak any English apart from yes and no (we have tried)
And the result...no change = no peace & quiet => no sleep
So here is the challenge for all you guys - we would be extremely grateful for any ideas on how you get your upstairs neighbours to realise that 22.30 is not a time to start putting kids to bed and that they are causing 3 other households not to sleep. We've already tried all of the above as well as getting our landlord to talk to them and their social worker/council person to talk to them and none of them have worked and we are really running low on ideas, neighbourly love and patience.
And if that wasn't enough...they got up at 5:50am, thankfully David didn't wake up so he got a bit more sleep than I did. Moses snoored through happily all of this :)
On a bit happier note. Have you heard about spoof nobel prices organised by the improbable research society, I quite often get comments about the silly things academics research and how out of touch with the real world the academic community is...some of the projects on the improbable research website have been real research projects...I can fully understand how finding out why chichken prefer pretty people is not probably the most necessary and important research topic ;)

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Oh dear...

... England has just played miserably against Macedonia which is not good :( Finland drew as well but that's more forgivable - there is even a vain hope of Finland getting through to the actual competition.

We are back in the south west. We've just returned from Plymouth with the last car load of stuff. It was very weird seeing the house empty, didn't really feel like home any more. We saw Tony for lunch which was really nice. We also got a new lead to replace Moses lead that he had chewed through, good thing that we bought a lead with a lifetime guarantee after he chewed through the first one ;)

And now we are watching Robin Hood and waiting for delicious dinner David's mum has prepared for us...and crumble for pudding :)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Quote of the day

I've been reading through lots of stuff today and came across some quite good/interesting quotations that had been used in a presentation to lighten it up a bit - it did really need it because it was all about the political aspects of change linke to the modernization of the NHS...so here they are:
“Kids, you tried your best ….
And you failed miserably.
The lesson is ‘never try’”
Homer Simpson

“Counterfeits of the past, under new names, can easily be mistaken for the future… We must be wary of the trap”
Victor Hugo: 1872 Les Miserables
And here are couple of others that are quite fun as well. (If you ever get stuck for quotations try this.)

"One of the indiciments of civilizations is that happiness and intelligence
are so rarely found in the same person"
William Feather (1908 - 1976)

"The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views...which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts needing altering"
Doctor Who
"I have a new philosphy. I'm going to dread one day at a time"
Charles M. Schulz (1922 - 2000), Charlie Brown in "Peanuts"
"The key of being a good manager is keeping people who hate me
away from those who are still undecided"
Casey Stengel (1890 - 1975)
"He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches"
George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950), Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists"
"All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind"
Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)
"It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea"
Robert Anton Wilson
I had a lecture on health and safety yesterday, Newcastle apparently has one of the best records for health and safety amongst the big universities in England and they are very keen on keeping it that way...so we had this hour long talk on what not to do, basically not to leave firedoors open and not to let any of your cells escape (that was for all the biochemists who spend their time in labs).
The guy who gave the lecture was a total safety geek (he read health and safety reports for fun) but he was actually very interesting. But I learned that according to law companies are required to make every effort for your health and safety as long as it is 'reasonably practicable' i.e. it doesn't cost a fortune and there is no other cheaper way of doing it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Beach & rain

We've tried to go to the beach twice now. And it has rained both times! But the beach looks amazing, one of them is surrounded by sanddunes which is pretty cool, very different than beaches in Devon & Cornwall.

Moses appreciated the beach as well. Our ladies next door in Plymouth bought him these two rings and he loves running after them and chasing them.

It is funny being here. We know it was the right to move up here but at the moment everything seems a bit out on a limb, apart from going to uni we don't really feel part of anything yet...David has just made me a cup of tea so I'll stop and enjoy my morning cuppa :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

biochemistry and other scary things

I've had my induction lecture to the graduate school of faculty of medical sciences today. It was very scary event...pretty much everyone else is doing their PhD relating to biochemistry, medicine or dentistry i.e. are going to spend majority of their time in a lab with white coats and test tubes where as I am going around interviewing people :)

It was very interesting trying to make small talk at the coffee break. I had a chat with couple of people but both of them were doing something chemistry related, I did ask one of them to explain what it meant in understandable language and basically he is going to spent the next 3 years looking at the medically beneficial properties of type of seaweed and the effects it has on diabetes and other chronic illnesses...

As far as social sciences go psychology (by most non psychologists) is usually considered to be the most scientific out of the lot but I felt exteremely non scientific today being surrounded by all the biochemists and physicians. Apart from feeling very out of place hte introduction was fun and they organise lots of exiting training (if you are into research) but I was very happy when it was time to come home and I can have a cup of tea with David and actually understand what he is talking about!

The weekend went quickly, did couple of walks, one along hadrian's wall (though we didn't see the wall because it had disintergrated and we walked along where the wall should have been) and the beach which was fun - it started pouring down with rain 5 minutes after we got there so we might go and give it another go this evening, I'm sure Moses will appreciate it.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The wardrobe is finally standing

We had a little added complication with putting the wardrobe together...we'd bought the wrong size doors! Sometimes I do wonder how we got our degrees ;) So we had to do another trip to ikea, thankfully it's only 15 minutes downt he road.

We've nearly been here for a week now, it seems to have gone pretty quickly. David's done some developing and printing and I've had couple of meetings and wine & nibbles welcome (there were couple of other new people as well so they did this big welcome thing).

The flat is looking pretty good apart from the spare room...today the plan is to go for a walk with the pooch - we are thinking of heading to Hadrian's wall - then come back and do some more unpacking.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Flatpacked furniture

We have no wardrobes, which is very problematic as we have numerous boxes full of clothes waiting to be unpacked...so off we go to ikea...it took us couple of wrong turns before we ended up in the ikea carpark - the sign posting was definitley insufficient - nothing to do with my map reading ;)
We are trying to fit a 2-bed house with loft into a 2-bed flat (with under-the-stairs cupboard being it's only storage space) so we are short of space. We had this on the back of our minds when we are looking for a wardrobe and we found one, it's the deepest, widest and highest possible thing there is so we bought it alongside some other useful things like shelf for the bathroom and some hooks to hang coats & towels with. We (David did all teh lifting and I did all the watching and instructing) miraculously fitted it in our tank and got it home.
This mornign we started putting it together and it is a nightmare. We've somehow got it together but it is still, reagardless of all the 4 shelves we put in, very very wobbly so we are off to B&Q to see if we can get some brackets to help to stablize it and dreaming of having enough money to buy a nice wardrobe!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

So how did it all go

We had our weekend of mad driving and it went surprisingly well, no traffic jams, no accidents, no major delays, no rain, no bad weather. It took David and Taran most of Friday to pack the van and it only took us & Olly an hour to unload!
On Saturday night we had very late dinner with Nathan + Ruth & Nick + Nathan's housemate, we didn't get back to Plymouth untill around 8.30 and by the time we had dropped Moses back at the house and had a quick shower it was little bit before 9 that we got to Nat's. Nathan had cooked us an amazing dinner and it was fun to catch up, we even heard about mutual friends efforts to create a cannon with a piece of drainpipe and use it to launch apples across the estuary...
On Sunday morning we got up early and started packing the car. It took longer than expected so we didn't get it done by the time we were going to see Paul & Nicky before church. Paul cooked us a delicious fry up. I think that's one thing we'll miss, having food together with friends and just relaxing. I'm sure we'll meet lovely people up here but it's going to take time :(
After saying a teary goodbye at church to everyone we went back home and finnished packing the car...it took a long time. We had to get some sandwiches from Sainsbury's on the way out - otherwise we would have been starving by the time we got past Exeter - so we didn't end up leaving Plymouth untill 3.30ish.
We had an amazing sunset on the way up, the colours and clouds were just amazing! We had bit of a miracle on the M1. Both of us have had bit of a disbelief to the flashing electronic signs that they have on the motorways with all the driving we've done over the last week (closer to 2000 miles) we've come to the conlusion that they seem to be right (eventhough I am still inwardly hoping that queue caution after next junction is just couple of extra cars rather than total standstill!)
So we were driving along the M1 and suddenly these queue caution signs changed to say that the motor way is closed after this exit (we were 300 yards away from the next exit when this happened), most of the other cars didn't seem to react to the notice but we didn't fancy sitting in a traffic jam for all evening if the signs were right (and if they were wrong we didn't really mind taking 10 miles longer d-tour along the a-roads). When we got back on the M1 at the next junction there were no other cars coming along the motorway - so the sign had been right and we were very happy that we for once believed them!
We got to Newcastle about 10.30, unloaded the car and crashed. Since that we've been unpacking the boxes, David has managed to get all the furniture together and I've got most of the kitchen unpacked so we can eat - one of our values is good food & eating in case you wondered the frequent references to food ;)
I enrolled yesterday and it sounds very serious - I am in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, it sounds very proper and scientific...But it all seems good so far. I share and office with an Iranian guy who seems very nice, he is on the third year of his PhD and I am just munching some iranian sweets he gave me :) they are a bit like peanut brittle but have pistachious and almonds in them. I'm about to go home (we haven't got any internet at home so I am writing this at uni) and do more unpacking :)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Moving

We have safely driven to Newcastle and back, left most of our belongings there, back in Plymouth to return the van, and then driving back up again tomorrow :) Tired but pleased.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Second posting of the day

As we are not going to have internet access for days I thought I'd write a bit more when I can still use the modern convinience of the world wide web :) I cooked a huge lasagne but then half (2) of the people who were coming over cancelled so we phoned the other two to ask if they could do Satruday night instead, they could so we have spent a very jolly and extremely tiring evening packing. Our bed is no more so we have the mattress on the floor - feels like camping!

I've received my programme for the induction for all the postgrads in the medical school, not exactly tiring...on
- Monday we've got talk by the Dean 1-4 followed by drinks reception
- Tuesday we've got an hour on Health and safety (I didn't know research could be hazardous???) in the afternoon we've got talk on how to manage your research degree 2-4.30
- Thursday there is an optional library introduction from 10-11 and then 12-1 we've got research training portfolio
So far it all sounds pretty manageble - especially the drinks reception in the postgraduate common room

But now it is bedtime - I need all the energy I can get for carrying the boxes over the next couple of days. Hopefully we'll get internet sorted out quickly and then you can send us lots of emails and I can blog again :)

Message in the midst of the madness

We have packed, packed, packed all day long. David has been re-flatpacking ikea furniture and anythign else that comes to pieces. We went out for meal/drinks with people from church yesterday which was lovely. Tonight we got couple of more friends coming over for dinner who couldn't make yesterday (so we are throwing a dinner party in the mids of boxes the day before we move...) Moses has just gone to the vets for check up and our car is in the garage....and we are running out of boxes...but there is still more packing to do :) Joys of life, by Monday morning we are going to be so tired, thankfully I don't have to be in untill 10-10.30 so I can sleep (on a floor surrounded by boxes).