sea_thoughts: (Facepalm - miss_jaffacake)
I managed to scrape the car along a car park wall before my sister's wedding while driving up a ramp, so I've been busy trying to get estimates for that. It's now at a body shop and should hopefully be repaired by the end of next week.

Sister's wedding went well. The weather was beautiful, everyone turned up, and people complimented me on my reading.

Just spent Midsummer's Day in Oxford with [livejournal.com profile] vifetoile and her friend. It was just what I needed after the past couple of months. The sun was out, we managed to have lunch at Pierre Victoire, which was delicious but glad we arrived early as it was packed by the time we came down. Then Vifetoile and I had ice cream from George and Davis (I had Greek Yoghurt & Honey plus Lemon Sorbet, she had Dimebar Crunch and something else). We wandered over to the Botanic Gardens (first time I've been there) and she finally found Will and Lyra's bench, along with a touching note from someone who'd made a pilgrimage to sit on that very spot because His Dark Materials was the only book series which had ever made them cry actual tears. Sadly, they'd been too shy to actually say anything to the people around them. We also watched inexperienced people trying to punt down the river, which was incredibly amusing.

"I think I'm doing quite well - oh frigging hell, there's a wall!"
"My arms are sooooo tired..."
"Try turning it around!" "I AM TRYING."

Fantastic spectator sport, could have sat there all day.
sea_thoughts: (DWPensive Eleven - mars-mellow)
Everybody is sick at the moment! Mum has an infection (somewhere) and has been sick for the past week and had to go to the doctor for blood tests. At least it's not stomach cancer but it's not exactly good news. So she missed Dad's birthday meal and if it hadn't been his birthday, I think Dad would have missed it, too, as he's suffering a severe dose of manflu. It's only the second time I've been to Anokaa and I wish we could go more often, it's such a different kind of Indian restaurant. On top of this, one of the cats disappeared for a whole day and only reappeared in the evening, terrified out of her skin. She still won't venture into the house beyond the utility room.

I've decided to look for a new job after my sister's wedding in June, as I don't want to deal with relocating on top of that.
sea_thoughts: (London - sunlitdays)
Better update before March is over! It's hard to update when I feel like I'm wasting my time in this place and like everyone is achieving things when I am too scared to even write a word sometimes.

The big excitement is that my old team leader's secondment has ended unexpectedly and she is now coming back to my department. However, my current team leader wasn't even allowed to tell us this herself: the head of our call centre (who is also the one who agreed to our training over the busiest period) went ahead and sent out an email announcing it to EVERYONE. Even the head of our department wasn't told about this and had to scramble and send out ANOTHER email explaining what was going on. Needless to say, my current team leader was severely unimpressed by this mess. After having one team leader leave without explanation and then being split into other teams, then having her announced as the team leader with no warning, the last thing she wanted was for us to find out this way. I told her to her face that I feel she's been badly treated and none of the team blames her for what happened. Not only did she have no control over leaving the job, she had no control over telling us. And so now, she's leaving the company completely and it's her last day tomorrow.

The good news is that my LBT (Legs, Bums and Tumms) class is starting to have an effect on my legs and my bum. Still waiting to see an effect on the tummy but I only go to one class a week at the moment. I'm thinking of going to the gym where the class leader works to see if I can make a bigger improvement. My mum has been staying with me so the flat is clean and I can talk to someone after work about how frustrating it is.

Dad and I went to London yesterday to see the Turner and the Sea exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (aka the place where Jane and Thor confront Malekith in The Dark World). It was a beautiful sunny day, the exhibition was stunning and we had a great home-cooked lunch at the Green Pea on Trafalgar Road. Then we slogged up the hill to the Royal Observatory so Dad could look at the clocks. I was more interested in the beautiful Dolphin Sundial in the Titanic Memorial Garden. The tips of the two dolphins' tails form the line of the hour. It is extremely accurate.

Currently reading: The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands
sea_thoughts: (DWTardis - famira)
Work continues to be stressful and badly organised when it comes to training but I don't want to talk about that.

Last weekend, I went to Bath with my family for my mum's birthday (which was on the 12th). It was Mum's last working Saturday, so she was very happy. I drove to Bath via the M5, battling strong winds that made the car rock and drift. I was glad when I hit the A46, which is an older road, once used by coaches, and therefore has much more shelter. It's a nicer drive as well, with lots of twists and turns and curves. Grace and I drove down the road a couple of years ago and stopped at the Tollgate Teahouse for tea and crumpets. It was getting late, so we didn't go onto Bath, but it was a lovely afternoon.

Mum, Dad and I were staying at Bailbrook Lodge, which I'd found on TripAdvisor. (Ever since I found the King Charles Boutique Hotel in Prague via TripAdvisor, I seem to have become the delegated family member for holiday research. I just realised that I still haven't posted about Prague! Gah! Must do that this week.) Bailbrook is made up of two houses that were knocked into one. Dad had booked the Garden Suite, which was in the cellar but had a four poster bed with television, iPod dock and plenty of seating. I had a twin bedroom next to it but the ensuite was in the corner of my room so Dad and Mum had to walk through there to go to the loo. And since it was in the cupboard, it was quite small. I'd still recommend the place as it's warm (warm enough for Mum to be happy, which is rare in the UK) and very comfortable. (I had been intending to stay at The Kennard Hotel, but that insists on a minimum of two nights. Since Mum no longer has to work Saturdays, maybe we can do that next year.)

Since I got there about two hours before Mum and Dad were due to arrive, I decided to go into Bath to get a couple of things and drop off my bottle tops at Lush. I'd always known that Bath is an expensive place to live but this was brought home when my bus ticket into town (less than three miles away) cost £4.20. To put this in perspective, I can buy a bus ticket for the whole of Gloucester for £3.50 and a bus ticket that covers both Gloucester AND Cheltenham for £5. So £4.20 for a single return to a place that isn't even that far away is steep. Fortunately I had enough change but it was the first in a series of small annoyances (ridiculous amount of traffic lights, the one way system, how far away Lush is from the bus stop) that culminated in finding out that Lush no longer recycles bottle tops. I gave them the one black pot I'd washed anyway and hurried back to the bus stop, limping a little because my trainers aren't exactly right for my feet. I've always been rather flat-footed (I easily get cramp if I bend my feet for too long) so I need to get some trainers that stop my ankles over-pronating.

I managed to get back to the Lodge in time, however, as the bus was waiting at the stop for me when I eventually made my way back down (thank goodness). Mum and Dad arrived on time (I'd already changed) and Helen and her fiancé picked us up without too much trouble (they went to Bailbrook House but that is only next door so not a disaster). We went to Same Same But Different for dinner, Mum's favourite place in Bath. Helen and Dave had never been there and were very impressed. It's one of the few places I know in the UK outside London that is a café in the day and is open into the evening as a bistro. It's small but cosy and the food is delicious. I had Cornish Sole Goujons with Apple, Fennel and Aioli, followed by Butterbean Cassoulet with Slow Cooked Pork Collar. This was the meal I'd had with Mum when we visited Bath for her birthday outing a couple of years ago (we stayed in the Kennard that time) but I'd been ill at the time, so I was unable to fully enjoy it. Finally, I had passionfruit crème brulée, which was a bit sweet but very creamy. Then Mum, Dad and I were dropped back at the Lodge and went to bed.

Sunday, we drove to Helen's flat and then went for lunch at the Victoria, which had won an award for Sunday lunch. Sadly, I wasn't that impressed, as my roast potatoes were pretty leaden and Dad wasn't happy as his lamb was mostly gristle. I don't think we'll be going back there soon.

I did post the list of books I'd read in 2013 and movies I've seen but not sure if anyone saw it. Should I repost?

Prague post coming soon!
sea_thoughts: (Facepalm - miss_jaffacake)
Work is currently being a pain in the proverbial backside, making me do training that I don't want to do just because I speak more than one language. I need to dust off my CV and find another job.
sea_thoughts: (DWTardis - famira)
I meant to make an entry over Christmas, but what with torrential rain and gale-force winds, then a 14-hour power cut and then various family gatherings, it didn't happen. The good news is that I'm still here. I drove down to my parents' house on December 23rd through one of the worst storms of the last 10 years. Having passed my test last summer, which was long and glorious, I've never driven in rotten weather on my own before. At least I can say I managed to get through it and now I feel prepared for almost anything (except a blizzard). Then my parents had a power cut for 14 hours (from the early morning of Christmas Eve until the 24th) but fortunately the electricity came back in time for Christmas Eve dinner. We didn't go to the Isle of Wight on Boxing Day for the first time in many years, we went on Friday 27th and it was so much easier. >> It was great to see my aunt and uncle. My cousin is taller and more handsome than ever. He's going to look at universities, which makes me feel very old.

We then went up to Bristol that weekend to see The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, which had more pace than the first installment while still being far too long. Driving to Bristol from Salisbury wasn't exactly fun, what with stalling on a nasty, steep hill and nearly sliding back into the car behind me. I managed to get the car going again and across the crossroads, but then came down with a cold the next day and slept through New Year's Eve.
sea_thoughts: (Christmas - ibroughtuflours)
Tried to post my UK and Europe Christmas cards today, only to find the main Post Office in Gloucester was shut because of union strikes. Will try and post them this week. In other news, have been sick with a nasty head cold all week but still managed to go to work!
sea_thoughts: (DWTardis - famira)
Nearly all USA/Canada Christmas things have been posted. :) (It turns out that I can't send nail polish in the post, which I think is ridiculous, but there you go, so one more card left to send.) Domestic ones hopefully posted next week.
sea_thoughts: (DWTardis - famira)
Finally saw Thor: The Dark World and am even more of a Jane Foster fangirl than I was before, but also rather annoyed that we didn't get more Sif. Ambiguous about Frigga's fate. People who complain about Loki's storyline in the film seem to miss the point that Loki always flirts with redemption but NEVER actually attains it, because in the end, Loki cares most about Loki.

Most of the second half of November has been taken over by Doctor Who and the 50th Anniversary celebrations. Apart from Google debuting its wonderful Doctor Who mini-game (which I still haven't beaten because the last level always defeats me) and Yahoo turning its logo into the TARDIS, everybody in this country seemed to go DW mad yesterday. Absolutely loved Day of the Doctor. Moff not only made me happy to see David and Billie again but he even managed to make me love "I don't want to go" aka my most hated Ten moment. John Hurt was brilliant, of course, plus the long-awaited cameo from You Know Who. The screen practically dripped with money and it was nice to see the BBC didn't scrimp for once.

To be honest, I think my favourite thing about the whole celebration was Peter Davison's contribution The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. You really need to see this somehow, because it is hilarious, rampant meta, starring Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy with cameos from EVERYONE (and I really do mean everyone).

Have bought most of my big Christmas presents for the family already. Off to see Gravity this evening, hopefully it lives up to expectations. Will be making a Christmas cards post in the next week or soon.

Sick Again

Nov. 3rd, 2013 08:34 pm
sea_thoughts: (TWDoctors - holo_daxy)
The uploading took a back seat as I contracted a nasty cold that has left me fighting mucus and a sore throat. At least it's bonus month. I intend to get two new pairs of jeans. I already bought myself some new perfume for the winter, as I use my Coco for work and the L'Ombre dans L'Eau by Diptyque is really more of a spring/summer smell. I bought the new Miss Dior eau de parfum. It smelled wonderful in the shop but I wish they wouldn't use those paper strips to test the perfume, the scent can be completely different once it starts interacting with your skin, but this smells a little like Coco, so we'll see.

I also visited Over Farm Shop today for the first time (one of those places that you can't visit unless you're driving). It's the closest place I've seen to The Goods Shed since I left Canterbury, with a delicatessen, a tea shop and a butchery attached to the main shop (which sells vegetables, locally brewed cider and beer, eggs and sundries). Parking is free and it's open until 6pm Mon-Sat, 5pm on Sundays. Will definitely be going back there.

Saw Bram Stoker's Dracula with my friends on Thursday, had forgotten just how ridiculous it gets in places (not to mention the soft porn), but time does not dim Anthony Hopkins's performance. Also saw Gentlemen Prefer Blondes yesterday (they show a classic movie at 3pm the first Saturday of every month). It's the first time I've seen it all the way through and the scene with Jane Russell pretending to be Marilyn Monroe makes much more sense now! *lol* I also think she had nearly all the best lines in the film, even if everyone does remember it for Marilyn singing Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend.

Still waiting to see Thor: The Dark World. *sigh*
sea_thoughts: (Autumn - sunlitdays)
I have updated my fanfic masterlist once more after leaving it languishing for some months.

Parts Two and Three of Watching for Wolves are on there now, along with [livejournal.com profile] alexiscartwheel's H/G story Right Here, Waiting. I hope to upload Part Four tomorrow and then the hard work begins because Parts Five and Six are very long. @_@ Please bear with me!
sea_thoughts: (Autumn - sunlitdays)
Thanks for the well wishes. :) I managed to go back to work last Friday and was well enough to attend the Radio Times interview with Steven Moffat on Sunday. Moff was on good form, very funny and sarcastic. He didn't say much about the upcoming 50th anniversary special or the new Sherlock episodes (of course) but he did refute the silly idea that they filmed in America to get American viewers. He said that in his view Americans were much smarter than that: if they wanted to see America, all they had to do was go outside or switch on their televisions, they wanted to watch Doctor Who because it was quintessentially British, and that the biggest reason for shooting in America was that it was a different, bigger backdrop for the Doctor. Here's some trivia: they originally intended to shoot the whole two-parter in Florida, because that's where NASA is located. However, when they arrived, it looked so much like Cardiff that he and Caroline decided "we have to find something that's SO American, nobody can possibly doubt that they're in America!" and that is why Monument Valley happened. XD He also rubbished the claims that Peter Capaldi was "too old" to be popular with kids as the Doctor, stating that ALL adults are the same age to children, that is, ancient. He spoke of how he was a teacher at 24 and his pupils thought he was as old as the dinosaurs!

Oxford )

Sick :(

Oct. 10th, 2013 06:30 pm
sea_thoughts: (TWDoctors - holo_daxy)
I've contracted an inner ear virus which means that I've spent yesterday and today at home, the world literally spinning around me if I move too quickly. Fortunately, my mum had booked this week to come up and stay with me, so I haven't been alone in this. Just wanted to let you know why it's taking so long for me to post about Prague.

(My sister finally gave me the photos of Paris from my 30th birthday last year... in a photo album. So I guess I'll just have to finish the Paris travelogue without them. :/)
sea_thoughts: (Crazy - technographics)
I am still uploading the house tour photos from my phone. >:( Basically, Photobucket doesn't let me upload from the mobile, so I have to email the photos to myself and THEN upload them to Photobucket. As you can imagine, this takes a while and I can only do so much before I get frustrated and give up. But I haven't forgotten about them and I will eventually post them all!

Prague this weekend! So excited!
sea_thoughts: (Autumn - sunlitdays)
I can't believe it's been over a month since I posted in this thing. I feel bad because I meant to update everyone about my Bank Holiday trip to York.

This entry can serve as a "sorry, I swear I haven't forgotten my LJ" entry and I will give a proper update SOON.
sea_thoughts: (Summer - eowyngiulia)
I'm sorry that it's been over a month since I posted in this thing. July was actually a busy month. I got my new car (well, second hand, it used to be my mum's) and spent a week getting used to it and driving around. I had the whole week off so I was able to do this without worrying about work. Unfortunately I managed to rear-end someone on the second day of driving it. Fortunately, it was only a small bump and the man I hit was a gentleman. I drove my friend R to see Stonehenge (so she could say she'd seen it) and then we went to Avebury, a first for both of us. Avebury is a lovely little village and the stones are amazing. Because we went during the heatwave, they provided shade and they were cool to the touch and it felt like leaning against them was okay, it felt like they were old friends. (Well, they are old!)

I drove all the way to Canterbury, which was nerve-wracking because it involved at least three M roads (major motorways) but we made it there in one piece, even if we were almost two hours later than planned due to horrible traffic. The owner of the B&B was gobsmacked that I'd managed to get a reservation at The Sportsman, huffing that he'd never managed to book a table for himself or for any of his guests.

"Are you someone special? Is she someone special?" he demanded.

Maybe I am? :)

I drove R to The Sportsman with an unplanned but pretty detour to Whitstable on the way (Seasalter is not well sign-posted). I gorged myself on bread and rock oysters (not at the same time) so I didn't have enough room for my main, which I still regret, because it was roast chicken with lemon truffle sauce and potatoes and it was utterly delicious. I did have enough room for my dessert though (jasmine tea junket) because priorities. I showed R around Canterbury, around the cathedral, and we saw The World's End, which is hilarious and highly recommended. (We also saw Pacific Rim and if you have not seen that, get thee to a cinema.)

I miss Canterbury so much. I had a pain in my chest on my last morning that refused to go away. Only the anxiety of driving all the way back on my own was able to vanquish it. I miss Canterbury and I want to go back there, not just for a visit but forever.
sea_thoughts: (Summer - eowyngiulia)
My friend Grace came down the Thursday after I saw Sleeping Beauty and we went to Lumiere, our favourite restaurant. It was good to have a talk with her, especially since the last time I saw her was at her father's memorial service, which was packed. I explained that my parents and I had left because we didn't want them to feel like they had to talk to us when it wasn't necessary. Grace commented that it would have been nice if other people had showed the same tact. She went to Bath Spa the next day while I had to work (the holiday calendar was all booked up).

That Saturday, I went to see Oz The Great and Powerful at the Guildhall with Lorna, which was surprisingly good. I recommend it! The Sunday after, Mum and Dad came up to see me, along with Helen and we went to The Parrot in Cheltenham, which is a steakhouse. The roast was pretty good but the lobster bisque was a little strong for me.

On Wednesday 15th May, Helen and I went up to London to see The Tempest at Shakespeare's Globe. I had talked about taking her there ever since I saw Dr Faustus a couple of years ago and I was worried that she would be disappointed, but she wasn't. We had standing tickets so we were smack bang in the middle of the action as the cast often comes down from the stage and through the audience! Colin Morgan was very good as Ariel and I was gobsmacked by Jessie Buckley's English accent, since the last time I saw her, she was on I'd Do Anything with a very thick Irish brogue! We enjoyed ourselves very much. When I told Helen afterwards that Colin was Merlin, she started exclaiming "I thought I'd seen him before!" Ha!

R came down for the weekend so we could see Star Trek Into Darkness (verdict: good but not as good as the first film and Harrison could have stayed Harrison and still been chilling and villainous). We also watched both my DVDs of Batman: The Animated Series and I cooked roast chicken. The chicken was nicely done but the gravy was weak, so I swore I'd do better next time.

This concludes my mad May!
sea_thoughts: (Spring - luna_ann)
I went to see Iron Man 3 on Saturday May 4th with my friend R, who is studying in London for her PhD. I took her to Ed's Easy Diner because she was missing root beer and she complimented the chilli con carne. Unfortunately, we missed the Thor 2 trailer because of severe delays on the Central Line. The ushers kept telling us we hadn't missed the film, but that wasn't why we were rushing! At least we saw the Man of Steel trailer. I enjoyed the movie a lot (I always like it when Tony is stripped of his trappings and shows just how smart and resourceful he is). I was pleased with the increased focus on Rhodey, wish there had been more Pepper, loved every scene that Ben Kingsley was in, and was disappointed that Maya and Pepper did not team up to be snarky badasses on the run. Ending credits scene was perfect, well done, Marvel.

Sunday May 5th and Bank Holiday Monday were spent with my sister at her flat in Bristol. The weather was beautiful and we had a barbecue on the hill outside her house on Sunday afternoon. I was able to meet her cat properly for the first time and we finally watched Rise of the Guardians together. (This also turned out to be the last time as they had to put the cat to sleep at the beginning of June. ;_; ). On Monday morning, we went to Rocotillos for only the second time since I've been living in Gloucester (six years) and I had a butterscotch milkshake with the Breakfast Club meal (bacon, fried egg, sausage and toast all for £3.95).

Tuesday, I went to the Guildhall with Lorna and saw Cloud Atlas. Some of the storylines were interesting, some were not, and the digital make up they used to make the Caucasian actors look Asian was discomforting and smacked of latent racism to me. I would recommend it for rental.

Wednesday, I went to see Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty with Mum and Helen at the Bristol Hippodrome. It was funny and beautiful and tragic, but we had to leave before the end because I had to catch the last train back to Gloucester. I can't wait to pass my test so I can drive myself about.

Part Two coming soon!
sea_thoughts: (Spring - luna_ann)
The second half of April was not as much fun as the first: I broke the frame of my glasses; the new pair cost £134, which took a big chunk out of my bank account. Then the back wheel of my bike was punctured and I had to leave it in the shop over the weekend until I could pay for it.

The first half of May has been very busy and deserves its own post, which will come soon, just wanted to update this and let everyone know I'm still here. :)
sea_thoughts: (Spring - luna_ann)

  1. Went to my friends' dad's memorial service. The world and his wife turned up, which was great for their dad, but not so great if you wanted to talk to the family. I managed to say hi to both the girls but we didn't hang around for long. We stayed for the toast to their dad with the local beer and we had some hog roast and then we left. I finally showed my parents Rango and they really enjoyed it!

  2. Had my first mock driving test on Thursday. One major and six minors. If you get even one major, you automatically fail, but I expected that and thought I did pretty well otherwise. My parallel parking was perfect and I didn't ask my instructor for guidance once. I also learned how to emergency stop. However, two hours of my instructor complaining about her life and her marriage took its toll and I was on the point of tears by the time I got home. It didn't help that she was running nearly two hours late, so the mock started at 7pm instead of 5pm.

  3. It was my dad's birthday on Friday. I bought him the new Jools Holland CD by myself. We went out for a meal on Saturday at Da Vinci because he knows the owner-chef and we always get a discount on the total bill. I had scallops, cannelloni verde and panna cotta. Mum, Helen and I paid the final bill, which was £160 even with the discount!

  4. The Prague holiday is officially going ahead! Dad has booked the hotel and the flight. We are going on my birthday weekend, and we will be staying here. I am so excited, I've always wanted to go to Prague. I promise to take lots of photos, and this time I won't be relying on my sister to send them to me.

  5. Really happy that Doctor Who is back on television. I love Eleven and Clara's dynamic and can't wait to find out more about Clara.

Hope everybody is okay. :)

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