Friday, 26 June 2009

Super vantastic!!

So you've seen the before photos...

Here are the afters!!

So exciting!! Dave is out on his work leaving do, and I'm still recovering from my one (= complete bender on Wednesday night). Tomorrow we head to Preston for a last listen to the band and our last Manchester goodbyes, and then we're running for the border and hope to be in Scotland by nightfall!

Won't be writing again for a while I don't think, so take care and thanks for reading!!

Ju xxx

Friday, 19 June 2009

XKCD friday!

From here

Have a great weekend! we are going camping with friends in the Lake District and, if the weather holds, are going to attempt to walk along here without falling off:

(if you're thinking it must be wider than it looks... yeah, it's really not.)
Also - AMAZING photos floating around the internet this week - by Dina Goldstein, and so far seen here and here...check them out. Rapunzel in particular I think is phenomenal.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Fun things : Stress

Signs that I am stressed:
  • Hair falling out
  • Glands have come up
  • Not sleeping
  • When am sleeping, have screaming fits at Dave in which I say that I despise him and use words that I don't normally use.
  • Feel sick 72% of the time.
(nb: this is not intended to be a whinge - I just think it's interesting how predictable my body is. The last time this happened was before I left the UK for NZ last year, and when leaving NZ the first time in 2007)

Thankfully, I know that the second we finish saying our goodbyes I will be 100% ok and back to normal (i.e. have screaming fits at Dave when awake, not asleep). And in the meantime, these are weeks full of exciting purchases that make me think I am George out of "Five Run Away Together". The van is our own little Kirrin Island.

Fun things list:
  • solar shower
  • solar power charger
  • purple fold-out sofa bed contraption
  • teeny tiny gas cooker stove contraption
  • twine
  • shovel
  • grater, peeler, can opener, utility knife
  • plastic bowls, plates, and cutlery
  • powdered milk and instant mash potatoes (eww)
  • stockpiled canned things. I'm half tempted to remove the labels so that every day is a surprise

Minus the physical manifestations of stress, this is a lot of fun!

Friday, 12 June 2009

XKCD Friday!!

From here

We're off to Paul and Ang's tonight, and then Helena is visiting from Dublin for the weekend! lots of busy van things to do tomorrow, so there should be an update (and hopefully some pics) on Monday to show for it.
And yes, Katie - it is vantastic!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Mmm, yum!

We just had a lovely relaxed weekend with Mel, who was up from London to visit. I tried my hand at red velvet cupcakes for her birthday – aren’t they cute?!

The ones from Hummingbird Bakery have a delicious cream cheese icing on their famous red velvet cupcakes that I couldn’t replicate, due to a bit of Sainsbury’s confusion between crème freche and “soft cheese”. The butter icing was still yum though.

On Sunday we headed out to Lyme Park and Hall – which was used as Pemberley in the {excellent} BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. It was pretty, but rainy and blustery – so possibly not the best day for it. The Sunday roast afterwards was superb though.

We have a sofa bed (for the van) today! Exciting!!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Friday Van Update! (sorry, not XKCD today)

Sorry for the intermittent posting – while I love blogging things are crazy right now, so although I’ll try and check in every couple of days it might not actually happen.

We leave in 3 weeks. I am nearly wetting my pants from an equal mix of excitement and fear – I know this trip is going to be amazing and life-changing (even more so than the last 2 years which, frankly, have been amazing enough (more amazing than I first expected anyway. The whole leaving New Zealand thing took me a while to get my head around)) but I’m still terrified. (sorry for the excessive brackets). ()()()().

One thing I am COMPLETELY sick of though, is saying goodbyes. I don’t deal with goodbyes very well, and am already getting teary at the thought of saying goodbye to my dance teacher, who I have actually had very little to do with. I am that girl that cries when saying goodbye to the neighbours cat. The cat (and the dance teacher) probably won’t even miss me that much. I forsee countless embarrassing goodbye sessions coming up over the next 3 weeks where I cry (nay, sob) and the good-bye-ee stands bewildered, wondering why I’m that bothered, because they only met me a handful of times. When leaving New Zealand the first time (and the second time, last year) I really struggled, and now I’m just wishing that I could mass email people and run away without saying bye to anyone. Especially some of the really good friends I’ve made while being here, because I don’t know when I’ll see them again and it Just Sucks. I wish they could all migrate with us. (I know, what a crybaby).

On a much happier and more exciting note though – ‘before’ shots of the van!!

We are having heaps of fun cleaning it up after work each night (12 years of builders grime to be removed). We even tore down the wall separating the cab from the back. We are hard core. I found a tin of blackboard paint in the kitchen cupboard, so now the shelves are mini blackboards, which is quite exciting.

The van has named himself “Brett”. We are pleased with both the Flight of the Conchords reference, and staunch nature of the name. Another van we viewed was named Ivan – I wanted to buy it simply based on that fact. Brett is fine though.

More updates to come as carpet is laid and other fittings installed! Last night I bought a solar shower and solar power ipod/phone charger. I love me some gadgets.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Books Books Books

I have been a massive fan of Margaret Atwood since 7th form English (I Did Not love the teacher, but I have to hand it to her – she did introduce me to one of the greater loves of my life). We studied what I think is one of the most interesting novels around, The Handmaid’s Tale, and in a fascinating parallel were studying it on and after September 11 – a fact that had a lot to do with me studying political science at University a year later.

Since then I have made my way through a fair bit of her other work, The Blind Assassin being my favourite of her novels. Just this weekend I finished Cat’s Eye. It was great. GREAT, actually (I'm not so hot on synonyms). Very disturbing, very moving, and I think this one should be compulsory reading for all girls aged 9-11. Well, except for that it’s an adult novel and very disturbing. But still… I bet there are more than a few young ladies who could benefit from this book. I can’t say enough about Margaret’s writing style. I adore her.

I have also just finished reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s – and now REALLY want to see the film. What a bizarre book – not at all what I expected, based on what I had heard re Audrey & co. (I am also in the middle of a love affair with Truman Capote and think his short stories are exquisite. I am currently trying to track down In Cold Blood, which I have heard is fabulous).

I can’t pick a favourite author, but Margaret and Truman are up there, together with William Golding, Aldous Huxley, George Orwell*, Brett Easton Ellis, Jodie Picoult, Paulina Simons, Jane Austen, and Marian Keyes. My favourite book? “The Rules of Attraction” by Brett Easton Ellis – the one occasion where I can’t pick a clear favourite between a book and it’s film adaptation.

Who is your favourite author? What is, if you can pick one, your favourite book? Which is your favourite film adaptation of a book?

*yes, I am aware that this reads like a book list for a black turtleneck-wearing politico study group. I was introduced to these authors in a political psychology course by the greatest lecturer I ever had, so you know… stands to reason really.