Monday, April 30, 2007

Falling walls...

We had a weekend of DIY...or to be more exact David did DIY and I did gardening. As you may remember we had a grand plan of knocking the wall down between the kitchen and the dining room. In addition to discovering the wall was hollow we have manage to ascertain that it is not load bearing (reading the big diy bible we discovered that such a things that hollow walls that have some sort of structural purpose do exist).

Before we could embark upon the excitement of knocking a wall down we had to move the radiators as they were both on the wall that we wanted to knock down. David has been itching to move them ever since we moved in but I managed to hold him back until last weekend - I didn't really fancy being without heating in the middle of the winter...and I do know that I am Finnish and I should be used to the cold but in Finland I'd have at least triple glazed windows and the heating on all the time in the winter!!!

David is getting rather expert at plumbing, this is the second time, in a row when he has done plumbing without there being any leaks, not even teeny weeny drops!

Today he came back from work full of energy and thought he's just have a little go of seeing how easy it is to destroy the wall...









This wonky-tilt-your-head-to-see-it-in-the-right-ankle picture is after about five minutes of hammering.

And below is the same wall about 30 minutes later...I am sitting in the dining room typing this and I hear very alarming noises from behind the wall. I have moved the picture that was hanging on that wall as well as David's camera that was

on the floor by the wall...I wasn't sure if a wall falling on top a camera could be counted as accidental damage! Not sure what we are going to do for dinner as the whole kitchen is covered in dust and rubble...the pictures of my knitting will ahve to wait yet an other day, I totally forgot to do it over the weekend and a wall being knocked down is definitely more blog worthy material than a picture of a cardigan!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Next to the woods where we go for walks with Moses quite often is a big field. It has been empty for most of the time we've been going to the woods but last week there has been some new inhabitants that have appeared...cows...

Lots of cows...and lots of calves...and they are very cute. The cows are not really bothered by us walking past the field, they just keep eating the grass, but the calves get very curios. They stop what they are doing and stare at us. And they are very adorable and cute. So we stopped and stared them back for a while. I don't think Moses had even noticed they were there...he was too exited about the fact that we are going for a walk.

Moses is getting more adventurous in the water...Usually he loves paddling in the little river that is in the woods especially if we through a stick in for him to fetch. But he only swims if he runs accidently too far and his paws don't reach the ground...or this is how it used to be... Couple of days ago he actually swam, properly and deliberately, and he seemed to be enjoying it. So there is some hope for Moses crossing the sea...

Friday, April 27, 2007

If I can't buy them...

...I can always make them. After David venting his relief over the fact that I couldn't go and buy these amazing toys I'd seen I have come up with an alternative plan...making them. I found a pattern for this funny little cat thing pictured above and I might just have enough left over wool to make it. However it might have to be a grey cat as I haven't got any orange and the jumper might have to be a green as I haven't got any pink but I have two shades of green wool.

I've done quite a lot of knitting recently. I'll have to get the camera out tomorrow and take a picture of what I've done so you can all see my masterpiece/s (only 1 of them is finished).

The sun is shining and Moses is begging us to take him for a walk but he'll have to wait untill David gets back from the barbers. Last time he tried to get his hair cut the guy up the road was poorly and had a big sign at the door apologising for not being open.

I took Moses with me when I went to the cash point earlier today and I let him off the lead in the park to the amusement of a little girl and her grannie...they had a good giggle over seeing Moses bounce, leap and run from one end of the park to the other with his usual exited and over energetic manner!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Update on the lawn & garden

The lawn is growing really nicely, apart from the small triangular patch which is where Moses dug the lawn up and we patched it up. It is in desperate need of mowing again, it was only week and a bit a go when David mowed it last (first) time.
My apple trees seem to be doing nicely as well. The right hand side one is Winter Gem and the left hand side one is Red Falstaff. They are both dessert apples. There is some more room along the fence so maybe I'll get a cooking apple tree next to them...apple crumble...custard...We still need to fix the support for the trees so if the weather is good this weekend I think we'll be doing some more gardening.
They are both just about to start flowering...so hopefully we'll have lots of apples to pick and eat in the autumn.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Laura , Football, and Spring

Well I thought I'd write on our blog, after all it is all about th Lindsey's. We have just spent the evening sitting on the sofa. Laura looking at baby toys and trying to distract me from an entertaining game of football on the TV. It was Man United vs AC Milan, a champion league semi. I'm by no means a Manchester United fan but wish them all the best in European football. It was a wonderful game of football, however my concentration was, on frequent occasions, disturbed by Laura's enthusiasm and excitement at a stuffed teddy. I am saved from Laura actually buying any of these toys, one because we have no money and two no child, yet!

Other matters that necessitate a blog entry are the wonders of Spring. Moses had a very boring day all by himself, Laura was busy Phding and I was engineering. When we arrived home I was greeted with a very excitable little doggy, who soon insisted on exercise. We both duly gave in to his demand and found ourselves walking in the woods. The wood are amazing at the moment, not so much for there beauty but the tremedious smell that they give off during spring. The pollen is really strong and it wonderful to walk through them. It's funny the most amazing photo or painting cannot capture the sounds and smell of our planet.

I like this


David is watching the football so I am amusing myself with the computer. I found this brilliant toy website (it's a bit messy but the toys are amazing) and on this brilliant toy website our found this brilliant toy...

He is called spotty the dog. You can watch Spotty and his friends wiggling here. I wonder if Moses would like him???

Monday, April 23, 2007

Rainy Monday

After some really beautiful weather over the last week is back to the normal English weather i.e. grey. However unusually for Newcastle it is also raining, which is good for my garden but bad for my washing.

We had a lovely relaxing weekend with Ollie and Becky in Liverpool. Both of us have been quite tired recently so it was good not to do much and spend time together with the Homans and enjoying their amazing hospitality.

Moses behaved himself relatively well, he did find a bag of dog biscuits that belonged to Becky's parents' dog and proceeded to eat them...as quietly as possible...but he was discovered before it was too late and sent to his cage. There nearly was an unfortunate event with some ducklings in Sefton Park but they all manage to escape to water before Moses got them - he still doesn't like swimming so they were safe the moment they got in (the lake was too deep for Moses' liking).

We drove down via Carlisle (A69) and coming down M6, it was really beautiful seeing the mountains on the side of the motorway. On the way back it was raining so we didn't really see the views but we could imagine them behind the mist and clouds.

Mr & Mrs Magpie who have moved to one of the trees behind us hadn't used the whole lawn as a padding in their nest which we were very pleased about. When we left on Friday they were both very busily flying between the lawn and the tree with their peeks full of our lawn. It looks like Mrs Magpie has settled on to the task of laying eggs and Mr Magpie is keeping watch. Can't really see the nest apart from some random twigs poking out of a tree but hopefully we'll get to see the little chicks when they appear, I assume our fence will be the perfect landing and take of point for their flying practices!

I have also found something I'd like to go and see...it's a woolfest...an event dedicated to wool, yarns and all things crafty. And it's not even too far, or it's in Cumbria so it's far for anyone else apart from people who live on the northern fringes of England.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Last nights dinner excursion

In the end we didn't go to the pub up the road but ventured to the Italian on Whitley Bay High Street. The selcetion of restaurants is not very wide here, there are couple of italians, couple of indiands and chinese and that's pretty much it + the really nice place where we went to on our anniversary (which I seem to have failed to blog about so I can't even put a link to it!).

So I didn't get my burger but I did get some pizza & olives. The decor in the place was a funny mixture, trying to look very rustic an authentic Italian - even the waiter had an italian accent ;) and they had candles on each table which was very nice. The dinner wasn't amazing but it was good, nothing fancy and it filled me up and I didn't have to do any washing up...what more could you ask. I think next time we are goign to venture to one of the indian places, guys at church have said one of them is particularly nice.

It was nice to go out and being able to walk. It only took us 10 minutes or so which is brilliant, neither one of us missed the hike we had from Lucas Terrace to Barbican. Living in the little town suits our environmentally friendly (=lazy) habits.

I went to buy some wool this morning from the woolshop on the high street. These two very sweet ladies run it. I didn't have enough cash on me to pay for the wool and the needles I wanted and I suggested that I'd pay part of it on the card but the lady just told me to pay for the needles next time I come in! We definitely live in a small place...or northeners are more trusting than southerners...(and they do have my phone number as I ordered some wool because they didn't have enough of the colour I needed!)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Presentation

I had to do a presentation today at uni. They have these lunch time research meetings where someone does a presentation on their research while everyone else munches their sandwiches. It seems to be quite universal thing in the academic world as they did them in Plymouth as well.

They have this fancy electronic blackboard thing in the room where they usually do the presentations. You can use it as a blackboard but the amazing thing is that you can save electronically what you have written on it. You can also project presentations on it and it acts like a giant screen.

Unfortunately today it did not want to play with us, or rather the computer did not want to play with us. The screen was fine but the computer refused to open my presentation - it lost contact with the drive where it was saved and even the geeky computer guys from upstairs couldn't solve the problem so I ended up doing the presentation without the slides...

...which actually was good because I don't really like slides :) everyone said it went very well so I'm happy. After the presentation there was half an hour or so time for chatting and questions and suggestions which was very helpful but also a bit daunting...lots of people suggesting different things to do and different focuses to take - definitely an information overload!

Now we need to take the dog for a walk and then do something about dinner. We are both feeling very lazy and might go and sample the menu of our local pub 'the monky' (Monkseaton Arms). I have been fancying a burger for last couple of days and I might just have to give in to this temptation ;)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ultimate recycling

We inherited an extra bathroom sink when we moved into the house. I am not sure how brand new unused bathroom sink had ended up in the loft but there it was when David came to clean the loft. Our entrepreneurial side thought about selling it on ebay but a quick research showed that it wasn't really worth it.

We've heard about freecycle from quite a few friends and thought it would save us having to take the sink to the skip. The idea is basically that you send an email to this website telling you got this item to give away or you need this. People read the emails and if they want what you are offering or what you need they get hold of you. There seems to be antyhing and everything on offer ranging from lawn mowers to scale electrics...

So I joined and send my email telling that we had a sink to give away. Within half an hour I had a reply from someone who wanted the sink and they came and picked it up the same night! It was very nice feeling being able to give something that we didn't need to someone who really needed it.

Someone was giving away some bricks so we emailed to him saying we'd like them. Now we have a pile of 300 bricks on the side of the house waiting to be used to lay on the patio. The great idea is to lay them on a herrign bone pattern...we are away next weekend at Liverpool so it wont be untill the weekend after that we can have a go of doing it. Having never laid a patio before it might be very interesting...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The weekend of two BBQs


Marcus, friend of ours from School of Ministry, came up for the weekend. It was brilliant to see him and we had fun weekend together. On Saturday after a leisurely start and stroll around Whitley Bay (=the butchers, oddbins and organic shop) we headed to Druridge Bay. Once we got to the beach we realised the sea mist was advancing to inland so the visibility on the beach got worse and worse all the time. The boys still had some fun with the frisbee though while I sat down and read my book, hoping it would a bit warmer!


We had our lunch on the beach adn after that David got Moses into digging. We also attracted to local boys with most endearing accents we had heard for a while who came to give Moses a hand in digging. It made our day listening to them chatter away...and trying to understand what they were saying!

In the evening we had a BBQ, the first one of the year :) We got some really nice stakes from the butcher and David cooked them to perfection. We are dreaming of buying a gas BBQ, it would make life so much easier.

On Sunday we went to City Church with Marcus as one of his friends go there. After church we left Marcus to enjoy his friends company before heading back to London. We had some wonderful plans of doing some work in the garden but the sunshine was too nice and we ended up sitting in the garden for the afternoon eating ice cream :) I popped into the house to get somethign and when I got back both David and Moses were dozing away on the lawn!

In the evening there was a BBQ around the pastors house and we went along. In the autumn there was songs of praise that was filmed in Newcastle and quite a few of the people from church went along. It was on on Sunday night so the idea was to watch it together and have a BBQ. We had a really good time and there was enough food to feed an army so no one went hungry.

It's nice that it's warmer again, it is so nice to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather especially if you are having a BBQ!

Friday, April 13, 2007

And the morale of the story is...

Couple of months ago we bought the book wind in the willows from a second hand shop. I used to love watching it on TV when I was little but I don't think I ever read it so I got curious and bought it. Ever since it has been sitting on the bookshelf and I haven't even touched it - untill yesterday. I read the first couple of chapters and came across this amusing paragraph where the Ratty and the Mole are visiting the Badger.

"Conversation was impossible for a long time; and when it resumed, it was that regrettable sort of conversation that results from talking with your mouth full. The Badger did not mind that sort of thing at all, nor did he take any notice of elbows on the table, or everybody speaking at once. As he did not go into Society himself, he had got the idea that these things belonged to things that did not really matter. (We know of course that he was wrong, and took too narrow a view; because they do matter very much, though it would take too long to explain why."

I wonder if the writer had trouble getting his kids to eat with good table manners ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The formula for the perfect bacon butty

Did you know there is a formula for making the perfect bacon butty?

"The formula is: N = C + {fb (cm) . fb (tc)} + fb (Ts) + fc . ta, where N=force in Newtons required to break the cooked bacon, fb=function of the bacon type, fc=function of the condiment/filling effect, Ts=serving temperature, tc=cooking time, ta=time or duration of application of condiment/filling, cm=cooking method, C=Newtons required to break uncooked bacon."

I guess it wasn't difficult to find the volunteers for this research...I wonder how you get funding for research like this? I think someone (me) should be given funding for exploring the perfect quantities of whipped cream and marshmallows to be served with hot chocolate...I'm sure there would be formula for that too!!!

Easter pics

Easter has been and gone. The weather was really lovely here for the Easter weekend. Sunny and warm :) Moses had a lovely Easter too with his new best friend Tara. They tired each other out completely by playing...never seen Moses that tired before...even our mammoth walk in the Scottish Borders only wore him out for a couple of hours but he was absolutely wiped out for most of the evening.

Sheepdogs are known for their persistance and I think both Tara and Moses are very representative of their breed - they just don't give up! They do not know when to stop so in the end we separated them for a little while as otherwise neither one of them would have got any rest!
David's mum found a random bag of old Christmas decorations and we put one of the foil bauble things to hang from Moses collar. We thought we'd get hours of amusement out of, seem him try to chase it or get it off...but no! He was rather proud of it and wore it like a medal. Tara and him had some amusing fights over the stuffed father christmas (the roundish, red blob in front of him!)

Tara liked taking safety under chairs, other furniture and cars when she was playing with Moses. However Moses could fit under the car...

On Saturday we drove off to see Dan and Lil in Brighton and had lunch with them on the beach. It was quite windy so we couldn't improve our tan too much. In the afternoon we drove to see Gaenor and Rob and the girls and had some fun in the garden with blowing bubbles.

We are just about to tuck into our roast lamb...it was very yammee...

Amy and David having a laugh.

Amy and David's parents had given up chocolate for lent so on Easter Sunday we had all things chocolatey...home made pan au chocolats for breakfast, chocolate with coffee and even a chocolate cake, not to mention the chocolate eggs! Neither David nor I had any room left for the chocolate eggs so they are sitting on top of the bookcase waiting to be eaten.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Chilling out

We have arrived safely in the sunny Dorset. Getting through the Tyne tunnel was a nightmare, it seemed like everyone living on the north side of the river wanted to go to the other side...the good news is we've figured out a handy shortcut for next time.

After that it was plain sailing, the roads were nice and empty. Probably because it was getting rather late. We were driving around the M25 at midnight and there were still quite a few cars about at that time. If it had been Finland it would have been very heavy traffic! But by M25 standards it was very light.

Today we've just pottered around. Kinza made sure that we were all awake by constantly barking from 8am onwards...we weren't too bothered as our body clock is set on getting up at 7.15 but Amy who had been planning a lie in was not best pleased!

After leasurely breakfast we took the hounds out mainly to release the excess energy Moses had been collecting since yesterday...I guess you would do the same if you had been stuck in a dog cage in a car for 6+ hours?!?

The weather has been really gorgeous, warm, sunny and hardly any wind. We had this years first al fresco lunch :)

The dogs are working out their pecking order, I think Kinza is the one who has benefitted most of the arrival of Tara. Moses re-established himself as the leader of the pack but as he has two ordeliers to keep in rank Kinza gets less attention/bullying than she used to. Tara is getting back from Moses what she has been dishing out to Kinza over the last couple of weeks so the law of sowing and reaping still works.

It is quite amusing following them, much better than TV. There is also a mad little bird about who is trying to peck through our car windows or the windows of the shed behind our car. The theory behind this behaviour (or so we believe) is that he sees his own reflection in the glass so he flies towards it to scare it off, ends up 'pecking it' as the other bird does not back off. Unfortunately the other bird is not giving up so the bird tries to scare it off again...and again...and again....this has been going on for couple of hours now!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The sun is shining :)

It is so nice and warm outside, it feels like spring is finally here. The turf has grown very well and looks very green...we'll get to cut it first time next week - exiting! Haven't had time to do any more gardening so it will all have to wait untill after Easter.

We are driving down south tonight and picking up Amy on our way. I've had horrible cold for the last couple of days so I am not sure how much of the driving I can do, it will be a long journey for David. I am in charge of the food, as we leave straight after work we won't have time to cook so I am making packed dinner for all of us. (or I'm working from home today so we'll leave immediately when David gets home).

I am off to hang the washing now. I washed Moses' plankets earlier, he is not really bothered about them - or he thinks they are for chewing not for sleeping and his comfort...so we've given up. He is never going to have a fancy blanket, at the moment he has two little rugs from ikea at the bottom of his cage, both rather chewed and frayed but at least they are cheap to replace!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Aching back

So we did some gardening. Didn't even get as far as planting my trees, it is hard work! Yesterday evening we both just collapsed and today we have woken up with various aches and pains...I don't think we are really used to physical work.

I think David's body coped a bit better than mine, just about. I can feel my arms, I can feel my back and I can even feel my right hand but at least I haven't got a blister like my other half. I made some scones to have with our after work tea and I could feel my hand when I was kneading the dough...

Hopefully by the garden is done my body has adjusted to all the digging. David had to do some banging as well...there was this bush in one corner of the garden that was planted so that there was half a meter gap between the bush and the fence - as the garden is only small we thought it was a waste not to have the bush closer to the fence.

David started digging. He got the shrub up with no problems, the roots weren't too deep. Then he started digging a new hole for the shrub closer to the fence...and we discovered why the shrub wasn't planted there in the first place...

...just underneath the surface was this huge lump of bricks and concrete. As David is not a man to be defeated by things like that he set of hacking it to pieces. Lots of sweating later we were still none the wiser about how deep the lump was.

In the end, David managed to bang and hammer it down so that we could put some soil on top of it and then plant the shrub there. So we learnt that people usually do things for a reason, if we ever come across a shrub that is planted in a funny position we know to suspect underground reasons for it!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Back to the world of diy

This weekend has been spent, so far, in B&Q and garden centre/nursery. I was given some money for my birthday so I thought I'd buy some plants as the garden is quite bare par the lawn and couple of odd shrubbs.

So after a healthy and filling late breakfast we headed off with my long list of plants I'd like. We got back couple of hours later with lots of plants from my list and quite a few not from the list.

I am the proud owner of two apple trees. They are trained as cordons so we can grow them along the fence (I'm sure pictures will follow). And lots and lots and lots of pretty perennials and six strawberry plants, all the ones I brought up from Plymouth got destroyed by the turf layers.

We haven't got to planting them yet though. David has been fixing a leaking tap (that's why we have been back and forth between home and B&Q). Now that we are on water meter, rather than fixed rate, every drop counts! The hot water tap in the bathroom has been near impossible to turn off since we moved in put over the last couple of weeks it has just become impossible to turn off.

So David set off to fix it. And i got to be the tap girl...turning on and off the mains water when ever wanted, So I ended up spending most of yesterday evening and some of today sitting on the kitchen floor, ready to turn the mains tap on demand.

We also thought it would be a good idea to do something about the loo...every time you flush it, there is so much water coming through that you could fill a small bath with it. We decided to buy this amazing mechanism to replace the existing one - it claimed to save 40000 litres of water a year = a lot.

When David started putting it in, there was a little problem, it was meant for a different type of loo than ours so off we went to diy shop again and found somehting that might work. I have learnt more about the flushing mechanisms of toilets that I thought would be possible! But it all seems to be working now after the n:th trip to b&q and hours of persevation by my wonderful husband.

He is still to fit the knob/button...we are not really sure if I is for small flush and II for big but I am sure we'll find out.

The sun is shining so we are about to have a lovely afternoon of planting. (Moses is in the doghouse - while I was cutting down some branches of a tree that overhangs our garden from the neighbours side he dug a hole in our lawn!!!)

About snow again

Just one more picture...unless it snows again. I thought these daffodils looked quite pretty with the snow on them. They didn't seem to mind being covered in snow and kept flowering an other couple of weeks after that.