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).

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Madness

We have found a flat in Newcastle and are packing madly at the moment. On Friday we are going to drive up to Liverpool in a van with all our stuff, stay at Olly & Becky's for the night, on Saturday we are driving to Newcastle and unpacking with Olly's help and then driving pack to Liverpool, having some dinner, driving the van back to Plymouth late Saturday night, sleeping last night in our house and then driving back up to Newcastle in our car on Sunday...and starting our studies on Monday...sounds like fun doesn't it!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pumkins anyone???

So we went to Rosemoor yesterday. David came with the plan of us being there only for couple of hours and getting back for 4pm so he can fix the car. But as we had just seen 1/6th of the gardens and had lunch by the time david had planned to leave that didn't happen. We had brilliant time, the weather was gorgeos and we saw lots of lovely pumpkins, apples, squashes, lettuces, flowers, trees, bamboos, pretty much anythign related to floura and fauna you can think of.

We got back after 6pm and David was still determined to fix the car. There is some problem with the immobiliser, basically you can't start the car without opening the bonnet and touching the battery with this wire (nothing happens when you turn the key) Apart from being a bit embarrishing having to do this everytime you want to go anywhere can you imagine stooling...in a traffic jam...so you can kind of see why David want's to get this fixed and as our funds are low/bordering on non existent he thought he'd have a go on doing himself.

After the first 5 minutes of the fixing serious problem appeared...missing tool...after some phrantic phonecalls to all friends who could have anything vaguely related to fixing cars David located the missing tool and went to pick it up...on they went with fixing for another 10 minutes untill there was an other tool they didn't have and this time the phonecalls produced no results. So all there was to do was to put the steering wheel and airbag back on, return the tools to Seb and have some dinner.

So we reverted to plan B...getting up early this morning, David and his dad driving back really really early to Dorset (David's dad has the missing tool) and Diana and I driving back at more leisurely speed after packing up and cleaning the kitchen...this does sound like we got the short straw, taking the airbag and steering wheel of does actually sound like it could be quite good fun!


Saturday, September 16, 2006

HURRAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have sold the house (or accpeted somebody's offer on it)

They are a young couple, so they hopefully should make nice neighbours to our old ladies (criteria 1) and they offered us pretty much what we wanted (wish 1) and what's even better they are first time buyers (wish 2) so there is no chain.

David's parents are down for the weekend. We are of to Rosemoor to see the gardens. David is dreaming of fixing our temramental car with his dad but we can't do both so there is a bit of a dilemma.

To add to the exitement Kinza is in season and Moses is extremely interested in her - regardless of his operation. So he is following her around and she can't stand him at the best of times even less now so there is lots of barking going on. Poor Kinza, she got very exited when she realised they were coming here but then it dawned on her that Moses lives here and she tried to back out of the house and ran into the car, poor thing. You would have thought she would have worked out that Moses lives with us because everytime we've appeared recently Moses has also appeared and when we go Moses goes as well! But I guess us going on holiday and leaving Moses there probably threw her of course ;)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The last supper

mmmmm....I am nice, content and sleepy....we've just had my friend Tina from work over for last supper before we embark on our journey up north. She loves roast but her son doesn't so she never cooks it because she'd be the only one eating it. I promised her months ago (many many months ago) that I'd cook her a roast because I love cooking, I love roasts and I love having people over for meal and she is one of my best friends at work. So we finally had the roast tonight....

Roast potatoes, roast parsnips, organic beef, yorkshire puddings, broccoli, carrots, gravy - what more could you ask. And for a pudding we had an apple crumble with custard. I am sure my ministry or at least part of it is cooking for people :) We had lovely time and somehow it felt quite wintery, I know not everyone likes dark winters evenings but there is something nice in having candles on when it is all dark outside.

There were some crazy stories in the paper today including this one of someone suing Starbucks becaise they had withdrawn an offer for free coffee and another one of a new form of time wasting, I haven't tried it yet but if I sometime get a spare minute from trying to look busy I will let you know what it is all about. There are lots of important and topical articles in the news but sometimes you wonder why something is published...or why you need to know about it...sometimes it just seems some stories are just created to cause more trouble...

That's enough about the news, too much information is never good. I have upgraded myself today, my sisters are really into myspace so I thought I'd get on to the modern way of relating and created an account, it was fun, after I found a website that did all the background and that kind of things for me...I am not geeky enough to cope with the htlm code. Now the only unoftunate thing is that I don't actually know many people who are into myspace :( Oh well, I gess I got a fair share of sisters so that's a good start :)

Bedtime now. David has fallen a sleep on the sofa and Moses under the table. Oh and Tina gave me these loveliest little earings as a goodbye present. I will really miss her, apart from sharing office with her, we've enjoyed at some point daily trips to coffee shops around uni & city centre.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Birthdays and the japanese pm

Yesterday was David's brothers birthday and also Nikke's birthday. We went over to Paul and Nikke's and had a lovely time. We took Moses with us because he was so of colour that we didn't like leaving him all by himself. He did behave himself beautifully (slept/dozed) most of the time so that was ok.

When we were in Helsinki they had some big meeting going on. And half of Finnish police force was stationed in Helsinki. One of my sisters works in a hotel alongside her studies and her hotel had 500 policemen there for two weeks. The city centre was full of diplomatic cars escorted from one place to another with police on motorbikes, there was even quite a few helicopters circling the place.

When we went to buy a birhtday present (still in Helsinki) for David's brother we saw another one of this escorts drive past and thanks to reading the mornings newspaper I was recognise the Japanese prime minister who was looking out of window with a beaming smile. He has a mad grey hair so it wasn't too difficult to know it was him :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Poor Moses

Today was the treaded day of the operation...no more unwanted puppies as lady next door put it. Moses was not pleased with us - how can a dog survive on no breakfast. He looked at me very accusingly when I let him out of his cage this morning and didn't give him any food but made a cup of tea for David and myself.

We've just picked him up from the vet and he is very dosy. His legs are not back to normal yet (the anasthetic), he is wondering around looking very tipsy - his back legs and front legs are not communicating with each other. The op went well but while he was recovering in the kennels he did a number 2 and before the veterinary nurse (who is a christian and went to Romania on a mission this summer) had time to clean it he rolled over it and got it all over himself :( Thankfully she washed him :)

I've never seen Moses so lifeless, he is sleeping and just opening his eyes if he hears somethign exiting (usually he bounces like a jojo at the smallest noise). He is lying on his box trying to stay awake but every now and then he nods of, just like I do when David is driving in the night and I am trying to stay awake, first my eyes close, then my head starts slowly moving down and the next thing I know is that I suddenly wake up and we have mysteriously moved 20 miles along the motorway.

And the nurse that he is not allowed to have any exercise for the next 7(!!!) days. Usually just after a day with no exercise he is so full of energy, can you imagine what he is going to be like in 7...I am a bit worried that he might just catapult himself to the moon powered by the excess energy he has been collecting!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The tour of Finland, part III the city -completed

On Thursday we went to see friends of ours in Espoo who have just had a little baby girl called Nelly Amelie Pihlajatar. It was fun to catch up them and see them parenting :) The baby did lots of crying but was still very lovely.

In the evening we went to a restaurant with my brother. It does traditional finnish food and is decorated in the 60's style, you could just imagine being in Russia during the cold war. I had meatballs and David had panfried herrings. After the meal we went for a coffee in lovely cafe in Senaatintori. On the way there we got trenched in terrential rain.

I was going to allow myself to have a hot chocolate with cream, I usually try to be good and avoid it...but they had run out of cream :( It kind of stopped raining and all three of us walked back to granny's where my uncle had popped in for a visit. We had some more tea etc with him.

On Friday we went to an exhibition in the cultural museum about the monastic life in the Athos mountain in Greece with one of my sisters. Lots of icons and crosses. They had a rather amazing chandelier, it must have been 5m in diameter and the same in hight and it held church candle size candles in it. They also had recreated part of a monastry chapel, the dining room and munk's bedroom. We saw some bibles and icons that dated back more than 1000 years which was pretty incredible.

In the evening David wanted to take some pictures of Helsinki, otherwise we would have lobbed the tripod and camera gear for nothing...he tried some fun shots at the evening time with lights and trams going past. In the night we went out with my cousins for a drink to a place where their friends were playing. We used to be really good friends when we were little because we are so similar age but haven't seen them for a while so it was good to catch up.

On Saturday we did some shopping in the morning. We found a pair of shoes for David, the old pair had pretty much died. I got a dvd of a film I wanted to see for a while. We also got a present for David's brothers birthday. David loves shopping in Finland, in all the shops you get free gift wrapping and you usually even have choice of wrapping papers and string. My sisters came over as well before we left and two of them walked down to the station with us.

We had bit of a nightmarish flight back. Our big suitcase was 25kg (5+ over the limit) and the man asked us to repack, regardless of the fact that our other suitcase was only 14kg and pretty girl in front of us had 30+kg and he let her through with no problems! Everytime we fly ryanair we say we are never gonna fly ryanair again but somehow we end up flying with them again but this time I think it really was a last time!

So in Helsinki
We saw
- 1 granny, 3 sisters, 1 brother, 1 uncle, 1 auntie and 2 cousins
- friends and their very cute baby

And we
- had coffees & hot chocolates in nice cafes
- did some shopping (not enough though due to lack of funds)
- ate some nice food
- saw some sights
- thought we could actually live in Helsinki

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The tour of Finland, part II the City - update

We arrived in Helsinki on Tuesday evening and my oldest younger sister (Hellu) was waiting for us in the station to pick up the cat. I love arriving to Helsinki. You know the feeling of being home, I get it every time walking around in Helsinki city centre for first time in a while. If we ever lived in Finland I think it would be in Helsinki; we pretend to be country pumkins but we do like the comforts of city i.e. nice cafes & shops :)

On Wednesday we had a lazy morning. Went for a lunch with my granny in this old people's day centre place. After lunch we met my sister Hanna (3rd in order of the sisters) and went shopping for a birthday present for Hellu. Then we went to pick up the rug that we very sensibly ordered in March when we had little money to pick up now when we have no money...but it does look nice...

Then we headed of to the market to buy some fish and chantarells. After doing the necessary pitstop at my granny's (her philospohy in life is that you have to eat, after you have eaten you have to rest because you have just eaten and then after resting you have to eat because you are hungry again...) we went to my sisters (4 of them share a flat but one of them is in Australia at the moment) for a birhtday celebration.

David cooked us a really lovely dinner and we had fun time. Felt a bit sorry for him having to spend evening with 6 girls but he had his trusty friend with him so he survived. I do love hanging out with my sisters :) My bed is calling me now so more on our adventures tomorrow - wireless access providing.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The tour of Finland, part I The Countryside - completed

We are safely back in civilization, namely internet access, in Helsinki. Here is a very rambling account of the first couple of days, I'll try to summarise in the end so if you are not much of a detail person you can skip straight to the end. So we survived the flight, we were a bit concerned at the beginning, this little kid was sitting behind David, kicking the back of the his chair and shouting monkey, monkey for five minutes or so but thankfully she fell a sleep quickly!

We saw my old school friend in Vaasa for a day which was lovely and we saw some local sites of interest like the biggest bridge in Finland and some old ruins. My parents met while they were studying in there some 30 years ago so I had to try to remember some of the place names I saw as I thought I'd be quizzed. It was good to catch up with Marja and talk about life and God and all interesting things.

From there we took a bus across Finland to my parents in Pielavesi. My mum's family has been living around the same lake for the last 600 years so there is an assorted set of relatives to see there. We manage to get of at the right place regardless the 'reduced busservice' that meant that the bus stopped only at the main road and didn't D-tour through all the villages. My sisters (2/9) were waiting at the bus stop to stop the bus just in case we were going to miss the stop.

My dad had cooked us a lovely meal and my mum had baked this amazing rasberry cheesecake pie thing (I've got the recipe if anyone wants it). It was weird only having four of my sisters living home - the place felt a bit empty, if it ever can with 4 girls in their teens or getting close to it.

On Monday morning we got woken up by kids getting ready to school. I platted Emppu, Roosa and Ninni's hair, made a cup of tea and both of us fell a sleep after that for couple of hours. In the afternoon after sitting and chatting by the lake you can see from my parents kitchen window, for a while we went for a cycle with my dad & to pick some rasberries. After getting suitably scratched we had picked enough rasberries and eaten a lot and headed back home. My youngest little sister, Emppu 6, cycled with us all the way there and back (maybe 9km) - very impressive.

In the evening we went to a salmon fishing place to catch some fish for dinner, they were closed but they had some already smoked we could buy so we came home armed with nearly 2.5 kg of warm smoked salmon. On the way home we stopped at the tallest waterfall in Finland, unfortunately it hasn't really rained this summer so there was hardly any water there but it was still impressive to see the canyon. My mum found some wild chantarells we had for dinner with the yammee salmon. I had also made annother rasberry pie we had after the dinner.

On Tuesday morning we had very lazy morning, again, regardless of being woken up by my sisters getting ready for school, again. My mum and dad went to pick up some blackcurrants while we just pottered around the house. After lunch we went to see my auntie and uncle, one of my second cousins (she is the one who painted a coffee set for us when we got married) came over as well with her kids. It was lovely to see them and she is an amazing baker so we had some lovely cakes and biscuits (in Finland people usually apologise if they have to offer shop bought cakes etc for people or if they only have two kinds of home made bakings on offer).

After that it was time to get to the railway station and head to Helsinki. We had a little cat with us to take to Hellu, one of my sisters again, for her birthday present. She was/is adorable, very fluffy and social. It also meant we got to travel in the pet carriage where you get bigger seats :) She was very well behaved and didn't miaow more than couple of times unlike another cat that was in the carriage.

David thinks the countylife in Finland is stuck 50 back in time. All people do there is fish, hunt, pick berries, bake, knit, weave, see each other for coffee and cake, bake bread in woodburning ovens and know everyone else (and also which way your family is related to their family, usually going back at least 4 generations)

Here is the promised summary:

So while we were in the country side we saw:
- 1 old school friend and her daughter
- parental unit & four youngest sisters
- 1 auntie, 1 uncle, 3 second cousins & 8 second cousins children

We also
- picked some rasberries
- ate rasberry pie
- ate smoked salmon
- walked 190 steps down & up to see non-existent waterfall
- ate home grown potatoes and carrots
- cycled with ancient bicycles
- slept

But we are back in the capital now using someones wireless for free and going for coffee in lovely continental coffee shops...country life is good but it does have it's limits

Friday, September 01, 2006

Finland is calling...

We are finally off to Finland again :) Yesterday at work I spent the whole afternoon packing. The office is moving while I am away so I had to box all my stuff (lots of questionnaires and piles and piles of journal articles) the good thing is most of them are going to my boss because I only got so short time left, so I will only have one box to unpack out of the 6 I packed.

We are driving up to David's parent this morning/lunchtime to drop Moses to spend a week in dog heaven (big lawn to dig holes in, lots of woods to go for walk and people giving him lots of cuddles) and then we drive to Gaenor and Robs - it's only 1.15h fromt theirs to Stansted vs 2.45 from David's parents so we should hopefully get an extra hour of sleep before getting up crazy o'clock in the morning to catch a flight.

I am really looking forwards to seeing my family and friends. It's one of my sisters birthday while we are there which is nice as I've missed pretty much all of their birthdays over the last 6 years. We are also seeing some good friends of ours who have just had a little baby girl. And we are picking up a rug we ordered when we were in Finland last time...not exactly sure how we gonna get it back yet...current plan is to take an empty suitcase with us and fold the rug up and pray it's going to fit in!

Ok, it's time to wake up David in order to start packing. I brought him a cup of tea half an hour ago but it failed to have the desired effect hence I need to wake him up again...maybe I should try tickling rather than kisses this time?