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 :)