Wednesday 30 September 2020

Poor Josie


Here's some photos of the new arrival, we're lucky we have a very tolerant cat.  She's mostly lived upstairs since Arwen arrived, although did come downstairs for some roast chicken on Sunday and she's down now when the cleaners have arrived.

Once they start hoovering in the kitchen I'll take them both outside.

All signed

Just signed my 3 month extension.  Not bad with only 3 weeks go before it was due to end.  There were a couple of other opportunities elsewhere but i'm on a good rate, the company is nice and I can do the work.  I don't think I can charge much more than I do now as i'm not an actuary.  £1000+ a day would be nice but I just couldn't justify it.  I mean, I might have to actually work hard...

Tuesday 29 September 2020

It is good news

 Just spoken to the recruiter and HR have been in touch and they're drawing up a contract now.  It's only a 3 month extension but it was mentioned that it was likely to be extended again.

I'm happy with that.  6 months would have been better but the market is a little funny at the moment so I can understand where they're coming from.  They're a tiny company, compared to what i'm used to, there's around 50 people but they're expanding considerably and taking on some fairly hefty portfolios next year to keep things interesting.

Monday 28 September 2020

Well that's good news

 Looks like my contract is getting extended.  Just got off a call with HR to say that there was a meeting tomorrow with the Chief Actuary and wanted to know if I was interested in renewing.

I told her I am

 I don't know if it's another 3 or a more reasonable 6 months yet but we will see. 

Sunday 27 September 2020


Our architect was round all day yesterday with a colleague measuring up our house. After starting at 8am they gave up at a little past 5.  With the house being old meant that none of their measurements matched up so we're going to have to pay extra for a topalogical survey.

The problem was that all of the internal and external walls go off at slightly different angles whether by design or original building error or by the natural slippage of a 125 year old house.

We should be able to get someone round to complete this next week. At least that's progress, and we're moving along towards our goal. 

Perfect football watching buddy


Puppy training session 1

After rugby tots we had Arwen's first puppy training session 

Stair gate reattached. 

Here's Mandy setting up the play area. 

Flo was cold

So put on the fire. 

I've missed the fire over the summer. I've just ordered some more wood as I've already used it 3 things this week. 

It's what he would have wanted

April bought me a lobster cracker and set of lobster picks for my birthday and yesterday I finally managed to use them. 

This, is Pinchy. My first whole lobster to cook at home. There were some live ones at the fish mongers but I don't think I'd be able to do the killing myself so bought a precooked one instead. 

Not to be had every week but I think it turned out nicely. 

I probably won't griddle pan it first next time as the chilli butter I made didn't really work but still quite pleased. 

Here it is having been expertly cut in half. The YouTube video I watched beforehand recommended doing the cutting in a baking tray as quite a lot of liquid comes out. It did, so thank you. 

Friday 25 September 2020

First night in my own bed for 4 months

Up until a week ago Arthur has been sleeping in our room since he was born and to save both of us having to get up during the night to settle him i've been sleeping upstair in the top front room.  Arthur is now semi reliably going down to sleep at around 7:30 in his own room so now I can have my old bed back.  Or I could if we didn't have a new puppy.  I had to sleep downstairs with her on the sofa for the first 3 nights.  Last night was my first in over 4 months sleeping in my own bed.  Not sure how happy April is about this...

Monday 21 September 2020

I'm sure this will amuse most people

 I've only had the dog for 1 and a half days before stepping bare foot in her shit. Yuk! 

The great escape

I left Arwen in the kitchen this morning whilst I was getting Flo ready for pre school. Suddenly Arwen was in the room with us. The clever girl can squeeze through the bars! Won't be long before she's too big but fit the time being I'm using cardboard. 


We've finally done it

Here's little Arwen! 


Friday 18 September 2020

Should I walk past this guy?

 After dropping of Flo this morning I spotted this guy and considered for a minute whether or not I should walk past him.

I concluded that he wasn't a biosecurity officer about to lockdown the whole town but in fact someone in fancy dress as Cate Blanchett in Hot Fuzz or maybe a car spray painter for the garage next door. 

Thursday 17 September 2020

Such an idiot

I want a spare pair of batteries for my lightsaber as when left in the sabre they slowly discharge. 

It needs special powerful batteries as normal AA don't work. I've now ordered new sets twice of what I thought we AA batteries but what actually turns up are these monsters. FFS! They're not cheap. I've ordered what I now think are AA from the US but they might not turn up till December. Grrr... 

Two days left


Tuesday 15 September 2020

My commute

 Since Covid19 started appearing in the UK and we were put in quarantine i've tried to keep up my step count so have been doing a lot of walking. Since Flo's been allowed back at the nursery i've been taking the hour before I have to start work at 9:30 to walk around our local parks.  

Here I am today.  

Not another soul

Nice and quiet


I'd normally be crammed on an overly full commuter train at that point.  Who would want to go back to that when you can do this instead?

Monday 14 September 2020


 I think this kickstarter took around 18 months to arrive.  I think I drunk ordered though as it's only one die. Given the amount it cost,  it's not even a set.

It is nice though, oversized for a normal D6, but also reassuringly heavy.

Sadly it's probably going to go back into it's bag / box and never get used. 

Playing with one of the filters on my phone

There's an AR (Augmented Reality) app on my phone and one of the options is trying out makeup.  The phone's camera and software analyse your face and then suggest what makeup you should use.

Here's my analysed face

Is the score of 86 in Puffiness good or bad?

I would...

Parenting is easy

 April went for brunch with a friend on Sunday and was gone all morning.

I had these two on my own, nobody died.  It was actually fairly harmless.

Halloween already?

 We had some friends over for dinner and movie night last night, two of them are vegetarian, one permanent the other just for the month so I cooked them a butternut squash, we had roast beef.

I did the food shopping with Flo so when I was looking for the squash Flo also spotted a pumpkin.  Here he is.

Not sure how Halloween will work this year.  Sadly it's probably not going to work as which is a shame as I think it's my favourite nights of the year.

Friday 11 September 2020

Not quite finally finished!

After what must be nearly 6 months our carpeting is finally finished!  The runner had to be sent away to get stitched up down the sides, but it's finally in now.

It's been a bit of a disaster really, firstly (not their fault) bloody corona virus meant they had to stop work for a couple of months, then once the lockdown started to relax a little they knocked the plaster off the ceilings whilst being overly vigorous with their carpet laying.  Once that was done we noticed that the carpets mismatched so they had to wait till the manufacturer replaced the carpet.  Finally the runner got stitched and we're finished.

Except we still need the carpet shop's owner's mate to fill in the holes in the ceiling then re-paint.  Hopefully we can get him round next week.

In other news my nice new shelves in my office have slipped so we need to remove the invisible fittings and replace them with more sturdy metal brackets.  The shelves were screwed into plasterboard so were never really going to hold up the weight of the shelves and all of my books too.  Hopefully that will get sorted next week too. 

Thursday 10 September 2020

Puppy proofing

 9 days before we get little Arwen home and our garden needed puppy profing. 

Gaps in by the side of the shed

Holes under the shed

More gaps

Gaps under the fence

Our carpenter Petre did this for us yesterday.  Not bad at all.  He even fixed the garden gate, glued the wall pillars to give them more strength and rehung my North Clark Street (Chicago) back up (without being asked).

He's been round ours a few times this year, he's fixed some wooden floor panels before the carpeting went in and he's refitted a few of our doors.  He's very good and doesn't charge too much either.

Wednesday 9 September 2020

New bed

With the new puppy arriving in just over a week we thought we'd help Josie get used to the new arrangements.  We've bought her a new bed which will stay outside my office on the first floor.  We're going to start feeding her in the bathroom too so that she knows that this space is hers.  However i'd like to see the dog that tries to eat Josie's food.  It wouldn't be pretty.


Tuesday 8 September 2020

They didn't put it fully out

 We got home from picking up Florence and the fire had started again.  FFS

I knocked on the door again to let them know and got out into the back garden to help with my hose, so did their next door neighbour Robin.

As it turns out one of the boys next door's friends didn't get onto the college course he wanted so decided to set fire to the prospectus.  Jesus.  How fucking stupid?

There's now a hole in their back fence panel as well as a massive hole in the decking.

Monday 7 September 2020

Fuckwits next door

April spotted fire at the end of next doors garden, I knocked to let them know.


They're still there 20 mins later.


Saturday = rugby tots and fried breakfast

The new term has started

Yum, fried breakfast


Fancy kitchen and home shop

We popped into Neptune to have a look round their kitchen and home where


Here's Flo and April testing a nice new sofa.  We're not ready to make any decisions regarding the fittings yet but it's probably worthwhile to at least get some ideas whilst the architect comes up with his plans.

The kitchens at Neptune look amazing but they come with a hefty price tag to match.  I think we could probably afford it but it all comes down to how much the ground works cost and what we end up doing to the conservatory.  It would be a shame not to get the perfect kitchen when realistically we won't be doing it again in the next 20 years.

Giant darts

 Flo went for a swimming lesson for the first time since lockdown yesterday and I arrived a little early so decided to have a look round Tonbridge school's (private school) facilities.

Here are all of the boarders playing giant darts!  How odd.

A new idea

I watched the ITV charity football game last night and donated thirty pounds, this was tripled to ninety pounds by the government and some vaccination organisation.  I had the idea that you should be able to donate money to your own club during normal matches.

  • Your aging striker misses another sitter, please donate now to order a new one
  • Your overweight central defender ate too many pies during the summer break, please donate now to help fund getting his stomach stapled
  • Your manager loses his 9th game on the trot, donate now to contribute to his leaving do

Here's Josie trying to get some love before the new arrival in a couple of weeks.

Sunday 6 September 2020

Still somewhat plodding

I went out for a run 3 times last week. Still pretty slow and nowhere near my 30min 5km target but it's nice to get out of the house before a days work. I've walked for an hour after dropping off Flo in the morning pretty much all summer but I should really do a bit more. 

Saturday 5 September 2020

2 weeks till P day

It's been a while since we received an update from our puppy breeder so we were starting to get a little concerned. Then I remembered that they said that they were going away on holiday for a week so wouldn't be posting. Phew. Hopefully we'll get some news of little Arwen (Winnie) this weekend. 

Friday 4 September 2020

I'm just useless

 I picked up a new joystick today so that I could try Elite Dangerous again.

Turns out i'm just shit!  I still can't do the tutorial...

Maybe i'll give it a go fresh from the very beginning again as sure it's not me???

Another day, another dollar

Or in my case, cold hard British pounds. It's been another mostly quiet week at work this week. Apart from two anomalies where I worked till 8 and gone 10 a couple of weeks ago, I've finished work at 5:30 every day so far.

It will pick up over the next couple of weeks before a big submission to Lloyd's but we're almost there. Or at least my part is.

And all this for an extra 11.11% more to my daily rate when compared to my last place. I did have nearly 3 months off in between roles which is not ideal but the timing of that couldn't have been better with helping out with Flo and the new arrival. 

Posted without comment


Wednesday 2 September 2020

This year's birthday haul

Dog walking waterproof coat


Paul Weller's new album

A Star Wars game for children

Dog toy

Dog toy

Dog pull

Poop bag holder

Poop bags

Metallica biography

Ray Mears outdoor cook book

Lobster cracker

Lobster pick set

Lobster claw pan holders

£20 from my mum

Large ceramic Le Creuset oven dish

Tub of mini cola bottles

Colin the Caterpillar cake

New mortgage signed today

And it's for £500,999.  Yikes.  And the most scary part of it is that the mortgage was granted solely on my income.  We've decided to finally get things in place to redo our kitchen and back garden.  This would be far too expensive to do on our own at this stage so we've decided to take some equity out of the house with an offset mortgage.  Initially our mortgage payments will drop as we've extended the term by 5 years but as we gradually take the arranged limit out of the account our payments will increase till we finally owe the whole £501k.  All of this sounds pretty scary but at the end we will have a wonderful house to live in and will be worth it.

We initially saw an architect a couple of months ago and he suggested that the first thing to do would be to see an arboriculturalist (tree guy) as the ground works we want to do may require taking down a couple of our trees.  This was delayed as he has a month off in France every year and then had to quarantine for 2 weeks when he got back.  We finally saw him yesterday and he's writing up his findings as we speak.  Once that's done the architect can work his magic and get some ideas back out to us before we send them off to planning.

The current view is to knock the walls down in the kitchen and open this up into Flo's play room making one large open space.  We'd make the current conservatory a permanent brick structure and build it up to the current end of the utility room which would also be removed (much to April's disgruntlement).  Once that's done we'll have bifold doors the width of the house that would open up to a lovely retaining wall...  That's why we'll need to push that back and redo the entire garden.  

Sadly my shed pub will get sacrificed and replaced by something a lot smaller (maybe a trendy can bar) but this will help to minimise the loss of garden with all of the ground works.  

If all goes to plan, we'll be starting work in the Spring, but that is very optimistic as there's still loads to do.

To top that off we now have a second child, and soon to get a puppy (2 and a half weeks).  What could go wrong?


Future bass player?

I took an unsettled Arthur out for a walk on Monday, he eventually dropped off and adopted his bass player sleeping position.