Wednesday, 8 September 2021

First day of our new Nanny today

 We've got a Nanny for two days a week starting today.  A lovely Italian lady called Serena. It's roughly the same cost as putting two kids through the nursery but means that it will break the week up a bit for Flo and Arthur.  They both enjoy the nursery but with Flo having to do another year whilst a lot of her friends who were born before September have gone onto the big school think she might get a little bored.

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

House progress

Bathroom / Heating

We're due to replace our old Rayburn with a new modern gas boiler.  The boiler is going upstairs in the top loft, the washer and dryer are going upstairs in a refurbed bathroom.  They're due to start work in a week and a half.  Fingers crossed they're finished before the next stage gets done.  

P.S. The bath costs £2,600!

Kitchen / extension

This part seems to have taken ages but we're finally up and running and this is all due to start on the 1st November.  If everything goes to plan (which it won't) it will all be done by the end of January.  We're all signed up and have decided to get our kitchen made with the same company.  Although we had our heart set on a Neptune one.  This is around a £15k saving so will give us more than enough money for the juke box we've got our eye on.

Garden / retaining wall

This may have to get postponed for a little while but by getting the cheaper kitchen means we could stretch the budget and get it all done in one hit.  Most of the builders we've talked to don't want to touch it as with access being so poor it would take a lot of manual labour, our current builder doesn't seem too phased but there have been some disagreements with the structural engineer that might need sorting before work can begin.


Being so close to the castle means we've had to engage with archaeologists.  If they find anything it's mine! Otherwise that's another £2k we'll never see again.

Work's going well

 After a busy couple of weeks things have begun to calm down at work.  There's a big deadline for next week and our validation report has gone to the risk committee for review and sign off tomorrow.  Deadline is Monday afternoon so in really good time.  On Thursday I start look at the new syndicate and working out how on earth to validate that.  There's no historic data more most of the classes so I think we're just going to have to make it up.  Or as they call it in this business expert judgement.

They've mentioned again that they want to extend my contract which is good.  It's a nice company.  If only it was outside IR35.  I've got to pay employee and employers national insurance plus pay tax on a PAYE basis rather than through my company.  Shame.

The way I look at it though, is I get paid far too much anyway, i'm hardly poor.

Monday, 6 September 2021

Stupid dog

 I had to pull Arwen out of the river last week.

She'd fell in whilst taking a drink.  Stupid dog.

Tonbridge food and Drink festival weekend


Arthur's just about big enough to ride on my shoulders now.

Flo assessing how best to eat her marsh mellow cookie sandwich?

The real reason we were there

Finally get to test my two main birthday presents


Fancy Japanese knife, and I didn't cut myself

Meat probe, what's not to like about a probe?

Thinnest beef i've ever been able to carve

Lake swim

 After a lot of pestering I eventually went lake swimming with my friend Lesley and (pictured) Glenn.

Here is the before shot at Bewl Water.  We were reliably told that the water temperature was 19C, I can categorically tell you it was closer to -19C.  Once over the initial shock and actually swimming, it was quite refreshing though.

The course was only 400m and I think I could have done it again.  Maybe next time.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Not posted in a while

 Not sure why, just don't seem that bothered recently.

Highlights since last month???

  • More sickness with the kids so having to look after them whilst working
  • Couple of pub visits with friends
  • Watching the last Lions game round ours turned into an impromptu gathering (which lead to the spread of the sickness above with friends, Arthur!)
  • Good fun last weekend at Tonbridge's free music festival Tonbridge calling.  I managed to get sunburnt!  I'm nearly 42 and still get caught out.  Doh!
  • Arthur is now walking
  • We're getting a nanny to look after the kids for a couple of days a week to break up the 5 days at the nursery
  • We've had a couple of quotes for the extension and have instructed one of them to draw up contracts
  • The new bathroom and heating system has been agreed too
  • Nearly signing on the dotted line for the new kitchen too
  • Work's going fine, I even had a message from my recruiter that said my boss said i'm doing well which is nice to know

Monday, 26 July 2021


 We were both pinged by the NHS app on Thursday. Doh!  That meant we both had to self isolate, the kids could still have went to school as we didn't have any symptoms but as chance would have it there were two teacher training days at the nursery that week so April already had the days booked off.  This of course meant that the whole family was locked down for the duration.

Luckily we only had to survive until midnight on Sunday, at times I wasn't sure if we would make it...

Doing a little digging it looks like we were flagged last Thursday about possibly coming into contact with someone had had since tested positive for Covid-19.  You get pinged if you spend 15 mins or more and within 2 meters.  Not sure if we ever were, but there you go.  There were only two places we went together and that was the Curlew (£220 meal with only April drinking) and the Westerham Brewery (April drinking again) and that was outside.  

We had to cancel Swimming, rugby tots, play date, dog walk and spend the whole time within the confines of our house and garden.  Despite it being a fairly big house it certainly felt small at times.  To top it off before the pinging we agreed to dog sit a friend's dog who was taking his family to Lords to watch cricket.  We couldn't really say no at such short notice so at 9:30 we had a new addition to the family.

Play nicely girls

With the rain off and on it meant the kitchen was filthy within 5 minutes

Anyway, we all survived and i'm glad to be able to shove the kids back into nursery and get back to work.  I certainly don't feel like i've had a weekend break.

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Recognition at last

(12:30 mins in)

Loki Doki is probably my favourite Youtuber and i'm finally famous on his latest football manager save.  I've been following him for years and think he helped keep me more or less sane during my 6 months in Chicago looking after my 6 month year old daughter.  

In his latest save he started out with Basingstoke Town FC in a very lowly division, he officially linked with the real club (he did a similar thing with Fort William the previous year) and set up a just giving page to help them out financially (£11k).

As part of your donation, if you paid £50 or more you'd get a regen named after you.  A regen is a regenerated player in the youth team that's created within the game to take into account player retirements and to mirror real life scouting and youth team set up in clubs.  The only other rule was that the player had to have 4 star or more potential.  

It's now 2034 in his save and has managed to get the side up into the Championship.  Miraculously these are the first three players that have had 4 star or more potential, I guess it's taken him that long to get the clubs facilities inline with the rest of his constantly improving side (promotion after promotion).  I think there were 70+ people who were in the draw I was the lucky winner of the best new player!

He's only 15 and has a lot of learning to do but I could potentially be a proper player in his save game in years to come, that's if I don't get poached by one of the big boys.  Determination is one of the big factors here and at 15 / 20 there is a big chance.  Being Panamanian, I may even get some international caps!