Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Nobody died

We had a games night a couple of weeks ago and towards then end of the night we gave Throw, throw Burrito a go.  As expected it ended up in carnage, but it was fun.  We had to move all of our drink glasses to another room before play commenced.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

6 months done

Another 2 and a half to go.  I'm now been at my current contracting role for 6 months.  It's flown by.  The last couple of weeks haven't been tremendously fun but the project will end eventually...  The rest of the time's been great.  I do turn up an hour early each day but also get to leave at 5 so they get an extra half an hour of Stu time for free.  Bargain.

My contract ends at the end of October.  We will see what happens after that, you never know, they may extent again, but the current plan is to start looking in a month or so's time.

Work away day

We had a departmental away day last week and it culminated in us all going on a bbq boat.  Urgh.  I don't like going on boats at the best of times but this time I was still hanging from going on the booze with the rugby nights the night before.

Luckily it was on the flat waters of Canary Wharf.


We bought a new (second hand) sofa and chair from a charity shop on Saturday on a whim.  It still needed a bit of a clean but resulted in nearly £4 in change down one of the sides.  $1.50 in Aussie $ too.

Chili twig is producing a lot of chillis

It's been on deaths door for years now but still manages to produce the odd chili.  The latest harvest has yielded 10!

Monday, 5 August 2019

Missed the charity shield on Sunday

As I had to go to a friend's daughter's 3rd birthday party.  It was meant to be a really good game.  Urgh.

Saying that it wasn't that bad, there was a bouncy castle and plenty of booze.

Easy like Sunday morning

Friday, 2 August 2019

She finally likes swings

She's now 21 months old and she finally likes the swing.  This is the best play ground apparatus as apart from the occasional push you don't have to do much.  Although she can generally climb up most slides you still have to help her and make sure she doesn't plummet down too fast (she's done that once already and took a face full of dirt).

So good I bought two

I bought this mug for a friend's birthday a couple of weeks back, I also bought myself one.  Unfortunately it came all the way from China so arrived late.

Monday, 22 July 2019

Our fat cat

Josie's doing well in her new home but despite being on a strict diet I don't think she's losing much weight.  I do treat her occasionally, but surely she'll be able to fit back through the cat flap unaided at some point.


Yum, cooked a big rump steak for myself and April yesterday.  It was a little overdone if i'm honest but still tasted good.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Yes, it's an extender

Well, the big news this week is that my contract's been extended to the end of October. An additional two and a half months.

And what was the first thing that I did? Contract food poisoning. I had to leave work at lunch yesterday. I've been off again today but luckily I've not missed any pay as I've been able to work from home.


Tuesday, 2 July 2019


I had an informal chat with my boss yesterday and it's looking likely that i'll be getting an extension to my contract till the end of September and possibly to the end of October.  I should find out more by the end of the week.

Fingers crossed as the extra money would be nice, but i've done a good job filling in the gaps whilst they replace leaving members of staff.  Moving on somewhere else would be cool too.  Let's hope I don't have to wait too long...

Monster rib of beef

I massively over catered for my brother and his family coming over on Sunday.  I ended up buying a 5kg joint.  Probably more than twice what we needed.  It was pretty good though.  Shame it cost me £100.  Doh!

Jamboree 2019

2019 was a success.  Smaller turnout than usual but thanks to a nice breeze the silly temperatures didn't effect us that much. 

2nd in the sprint

4th on the 3 legged race, hampered by the child

More sprinting, I really need to get my back looked at


I'm now debt free!

I paid off the last of my credit cards this morning.  That's apart from our massive mortgage that is.  I am now officially debt free.

They were all on long term interest free but i'd rather get rid of the payments for good.  I think i've had this kind of debt since starting uni 20+ years ago.  It's nice to think that all of my money now goes direct to me.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

BBQ on Sunday

It was fairly hot on Sunday so we decided to invite people over and have a bbq.  Unfortunately I ran out of gas 5 minutes in!  Luckily i'd pre-cooked most of it in the oven anyway so it wasn't to big of a problem.

Florence decided to poor her washing up liquid all over Daddy's crotch.

Stand off


More fire

First holiday of the year

Our childminder took a weeks holiday last week so we used the opportunity to take some time off work too.  We drove to sunny Whitstable.  Here are some photos.

Fancy lunch at the Sportsman

A piece of art

Bike ride to Herne Bay


Miniature animals

Friday, 14 June 2019

4 months in

I've now done 4 months out of a 6 month contract.  2 and a half months left to bill.  Will they renew?  I'd like to think so but you never know, they're definitely looking for a permanent so that may hold me back a little but we shall have to wait and see.  There's actually 2 roles up for grabs in the team, they're now also looking for a data scientist.

It's been good.  Lot's of new stuff to learn and for the most part it's been fairly straight forward.  I'm enjoying contracting, lots of pay, with none of the politics.  I've generally been able to leave on time every night and work from home when needed which has been refreshing too.

5 years

Yesterday was the 5 year anniversary of moving into our 'new house'.

Apart from the silly amount it costs to run (gas / utilities), it's been a great house.  There's still plenty we want to do with it but we'll get there eventually.

  • New front drive
  • New doors throughout
  • Refurbish back windows
  • New kitchen
  • Make permanent the conservatory
  • Line and paint the hallway
  • Replace the top front windows
  • Redecorate the top 3 rooms and toilet
  • Replace a window in the utility room

Monday, 10 June 2019

Josie enjoying her Sunday

I think she enjoys her new house.

If only she can get back in the catflap after going outside.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

We won the leauge

My rugby team, Tonbridge Juddians 3rds won the league this year.  We won all our games except for 2 where we had to pull out due to player shortages.  The opposition wouldn't reschedule so they count as losses.  A special note must go out to me of actually scoring this year.

Here's a photo of 3 of us at Kent rugby's prize giving ceremony.  Will I play again next season?  Not sure yet.


Some of you might not be aware, that I went to Madrid at the weekend to watch the Champions League Final between Tottenham and Liverpool.  We didn't manage to get tickets in the end but had a good time getting there. 

The route Tonbridge->Gatwick->Malaga->Madrid->Malaga->Gatwick->Redhill->Tonbridge

3:40am waiting for my taxi to the airport

Our transport / bed for the night.

It even had a shower

2 double bed bunks

En route 400km

Spurs fan zone

Our first of many beers

Our venue for the game

Champions! James supports Tottenham

Moon Base Alpha, where we parked for the night

The victory parade via an Irish pub in Malaga

Friday, 31 May 2019

Blank, blank, blank. BEES!

I spotted a guy last week depositing a box full of bees on some railings.  Very strange.  Pretty sure this wasn't official.

Madrid bound

I've stupidly agreed to travel to Madrid for the Champions League final.

  • Problem 1:  No flights left to Madrid so we have to fly to Malaga
  • Problem 2:  Malaga is 400+ miles from Madrid so we need to hire a camper van
  • Problem 3:  We don't have tickets, i've got a number in my head that i'm prepared to pay but even if we can't get any we will have a fun adventure.
Let's hope I get back in one piece.

5000th post

Well, it's been a long time coming.  Especially as i've not really posted much this past year.  Who would have thought having a child would be so time consuming?

Quite an exciting year really, this time last year we would have all been in Chicago, where I spent most of my days marching around the streets trying to get Flo to have some sleep.  America was great but it was also tough.  Not knowing anyone and having only Flo to talk to during the day certainly was difficult at times.  Luckily we had 5 sets of family and friends coming over to visit which certainly made it a lot easier.

We tacked on a week or so's holiday at the end to do a bit of travelling which was good.  We got to see Cleveland, Toronto, Buffalo, Detroit and Niagara Falls (plus a few other places).

When we got back I was back into getting a job mode.  The easy part was setting up the company but actually getting work proved more difficult.  I think at first it was my reluctance to go back into capital modelling which meant I wasn't getting put forward for much (my last 10 years is based in capital modelling), then when I became less choosy,  it was getting onto Christmas where notoriously nothing much gets done in terms of recruitment.  Things picked up in the new year and I started work mid Feb.

All good, despite being in a new part of the industry, I seem to be doing well and although not confirmed looks like I might get an extension which will be very nice.  I like contracting, I don't have to deal with much politics these days and have mostly been able to leave on time every day, I get in an hour early so they can't really complain when I leave to pick up Flo.

In other exciting Clark family news, April has had a big promotion, partly thanks to her time at head office.  She's also been elected as a green party councilor in our local elections.  We've acquired a new cat.  After the disappointment of losing both of our previous cats in a very short space of time we've now just opted for one (although she's about the size as both of them combined).  Josie is her name in case you're interested.  She's a very patient cat and generally accepts Flo's attentions.  She's also not that fussed when our friend's dog pops over for a visit too which is nice.

That's probably enough for the time being.  Now to get back to working from home.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Stag, stag, stag

I went to Brussels this weekend with three friends from Tonbridge.  We had a great time.

Although there was a lot of drinking involved, it was over a prolonged period and we were all in bed by 10:30 (9:30 UK time)

Fruity beers

Mussels in brussels

Pints bigger than your head

Sunday morning in fancy kitchen shops

Miss timing the final day of the season so watching the Liverpool game on the Euro Star back.