Thursday, 17 June 2021

Cooking new recipes

 I've been doing a little bit of new cooking recently.  We've been very lazy and eaten out a fair bit and ordered lots of takeaways so though i'd try a few new ideas.

Salt and chilli king prawn (one of our favourite dishes at our local Chinese)

Double coated in corn flour

Air drying

Frying the rest

Finished dish

Griddled Apricots and Goats Cheese Salad (There's no photo of the roast beef I did to go with it)
Griddle pan

Finished dish

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Potential game store / cafe in Tonbridge

 We spotted this a while back but looks like there could be a new addition to Tonbridge.




Tonbridge Pirates

Our friend Laura took Flo out on their kayak on Sunday.  Flo loved it.


Spot the difference

 Arwen had her second haircut this morning



That was a bit of a scare

I was looking into paying another income tax instalment (due end of July) and couldn't find a the entry going out of my bank account for the previous one.

As part of being paid in dividends as a contractor I have to fill out self assessment tax returns and one of the weird quirks is that you pay for the first year then half again for the next then the remaining half 6 months later, despite the fact that you may actually have earned more (like I did).  It will all even out in the wash but it's still odd to me.

Anyway, I couldn't find the year and a half's worth of tax that I thought i'd paid going out of my account.  I initially panicked as I certainly didn't want to have to pay for it again.  I searched our joint account, my business account (or old business account) but couldn't find it.  It was only when I was mid call to HMRC where I realised where it was.  I had a savings account keeping tabs on all of my tax that was due to make sure that I didn't spend it.  Phew!  What a fool.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Upon the high seas

 A couple of weeks ago we took a trip on along the river Medway.  We were supposed to go the week before but there were wind gusts of 50 mph+ so thought better of it.

 Went for a big dog walk with a friend yesterday.  Had lunch in a village pub, then walked back, stopping of at a new brewery and tap room in town for a couple more.  Arwen was pooped afterwards!

Eastbourne Trip

A good portion of the Tonbridge Massive went to Eastbourne on Saturday to visit some of old friends that had moved down that way.  April decided to hitch a rid on the back of Jono's bike.

Long time no post

I quit my job a few weeks ago.  Leading up to that I was fairly stressed with work and on the Monday I decided to hand my notice in.  Seeing what had happened to Ross a few weeks previous I didn't see the point of doing something that was stressing me out and also something I didn't even enjoy.  Anyway, luckily I didn't have to do much handover so am now in the last week of a nearly 3 week break which has been great, the recent spell of good weather has certainly helped too.

I've now got a new role lined up and am due to start next week (the laptop arrived yesterday).  They wanted me to start this week but I really need the break so pushed it back.

Monday, 10 May 2021

Covid-19 Vaccinations

 I had my 1st dose of the covid vaccination last Monday and more or less felt fine.  That was until the night when I went to bed.  I was feeling a little tired so went to bed early but woke up multiple times during the night with night sweats.  The next day I was a little tired and run down but more or less fine then I had the same again at bed time although not quite as bad.  After that I was completely fine.  Weird.

Early tea

 We had early tea again on Sunday.  Same place as last week, this time with different friends.  Although it turns out the friends from last week and some other friends were also there.  Doh!

Here's Arthur making an escape attempt.


After the walk we popped over to some friends house for brunch in their back garden.

Arthur's almost eating as much as Flo now.


Lovely walk

 I didn't have much time to myself this weekend (or last) so on Sunday I was out and about early on a long walk with Arwin.

Beautiful house

Waiting a long time for the ball I didn't bring

Blossom now fully out in the orchards

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Not sure where she learnt the art of elbow smash


Spot the ball

 I launched one or Arwen's balls into this tree this morning expecting it to cascade down like a binomial machine 

I waited but nothing happened.  The ball never landed.  The tree was too big to shake so Arwen was left without a ball for the rest of her walk.  Sorry Arwen.

Maybe it was the spirit of the tree we took down yesterday enacting some form of revenge.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

And yes...

 I am better than you

And finally

 Here's Kris

Gender: Male

Race: Halfling

Class: Thief

Alignment: Chaotic Neutral?

Strength: 14

Dexterity: 15

Constitution: 12

Intelligence: 15

Wisdom: 12

Charisma: 10

I don't think there's much more readership than this but if you would like your own persona butchered into a d&d character please let me know.

And another

 Here's Ian

Gender: Male

Race: Elf

Class: Wizard

Alignment: Neutral Good

Strength: 12

Dexterity: 12

Constitution: 14

Intelligence: 16

Wisdom: 15

Charisma: 9 (sorry)

Bonus:  A cat familiar to cover his black cloak in cat hair

Too late...

Here's Ben

Gender: Male

Race: Human

Class: Cleric

Alignment: Neutral Good

Strength: 12

Dexterity: 10

Constitution: 14

Intelligence: 12

Wisdom: 15

Charisma: 15

And just like that

 It's gone.

House build update

Final Structural drawings / pack:  Still waiting for this, which is frustrating as it's holding everything up till complete.

Builders:  Spoke to one last week but said he can't quote till the final structural pack is complete.

Trees:  Coming down today

Kitchen quotes, we've had two quotes, £10k apart in overall cost.  Not to be unexpected as one is very high end.

Replacing heating system and new bathroom:  Quote came in yesterday.  Only £5k or 25% more than we originally budgeted for.

Things to do now: Basically wait till we get the pack.  Builders won't quote till it's done so that's it really.  Another issue is that there is a shortage of good builders in the south east as it looks like everyone else has the same idea.  Even if we find one we like, they're usually on at least one other job at a time and might have a 6 months wait.  That would take us into the winter for the build which may not be ideal with 3 key rooms downstairs out of action.

We can probably get the bathroom and heating sorted before hand and get it out of the way but might make sense to do it all in one go.

We've got a few things we can do like decide on finishes and things like tiles for outside but at the moment we're what feels like a very stagnating place which is frustrating. 


There she goes.  Poor tree.  

Review to company:  Overall, very disappointed.  You got rid of the tree which is what we asked for but why oh why did your workers not shout timber?  Is it too much to ask?

There she goes.

Disposing of the body.


 Two trees in our back garden are coming down today.  It's sad, but they need taking down as part of our house renovation.  The really big one is quite dangerous too as it's very close to two houses and the works next door weakened it's root system.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Me as a dungeons and dragons character

I had the idea years ago about playing ourselves as D&D characters but after a quick rethink realised that we'd die almost immediately and decided against it. 

Here's a heightened version of me. 

Gender: Male
Race: Dwarf
Class: Fighter
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Strength: 16
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 15
Intelligence: 14
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 10 (12 after some good quality dwarven ale) 

Who should I do next? 

Outdoor Sunday lunch at the Plough

 A late Sunday lunch at the Plough with some friends.

We prepared for the worst with umbrellas and hot water bottles but it was actually really nice in the end.

Lovely woodland walk

 We went for a lovely walk in the woods yesterday with some friends and their dog.

Here's me holding a bag of Arwen's poo for almost the entire walk

The bluebells are out


I know you are all disappointed in this video, but I wasn't wearing the right shoes.


 So, I had my first Covid-19 (AstraZenica) jab yesterday morning and it went well.  Apart from them having no record of my appointment.  Apparently they've had hundreds of people with the same issue but if you don't book your second jab at the same time the application isn't submitted.  Basically there was no option to book my second jab at my local site so just left it.  I'd try and book it in at a later day.  Doh.

Luckily they had spare and let me get pricked.  It was absolutely fine, all until last night.  I woke at about 2am with a severe fever and night sweats!  Great.It wasn't much better this morning so had a long hot bath but now that i'm up and about feel more or less okay.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

BBQ in Sunday

 We had a bbq on Sunday.  I made yoghurt marinated lamb kebabs.

I stayed up a little later tending to the fire

It was fun but fing freezing!

Flo had a good time

So did the dogs.

London Calling

 I met up with my old work colleague in London yesterday for drinks.  The start didn't go too well as the place we chose didn't sell beer.  £20 later we found the Porterhouse which was great.

The West End was strange.  Most shops and things where open but it was terribly quiet.  A lot of the pubs that we would have liked to have gone in had no outdoor space so remained shut, but we managed to find a few that were open to keep us happy.  Another friend, Danny,  met us after work which was good.

Soho became largely pedestrianised after 5 but by then it was beginning to get cold.  We managed to brave it till around 8:30 but decided to call it as it wasn't much fun holding onto a cold pint shivering in the shade.

Friday, 23 April 2021

Cold drinks

 A bunch of us went round a friend's house last night for drinks in his garden.  It was fucking freezing.  I think BBC said it was down to -2 last night.  Brrrr....

Luckily he had a firepit that took most of the edge off but walking back to his house for toilet breaks was freezing.  It can't have been that bad though as I brought a large coat and scarf to put on after the sun went down and didn't end up using it.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Lunch at the Ivy House

Pub / restaurant gardens are open so why not make the most of it.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Lovely walks

We're very lucky living in Tonbridge.  There are lots of walks to go on.  This one is Dean Park, basically a big wood with paths stretched across and around it.

Flo's getting better on the longer walks, she only complained once on Sunday and usually has to be bribed with snacks.  Arthur is getting very heavy though so not sure how long I can carry him like this for.  I might need to get myself some snack motivation.

Sad news


I've been umming and arring about whether or not to write this but here it is anyway.

I had some sad news a couple of weeks ago.  My mum has died.  Roslin Witt (Bean, Clark).

I had a call from my brother saying that my mum had taken a turn for the worse.  She has been in and out of hospital for a couple of years now and this was one of her 'in' times.  My Aunty Diane who is a nurse had been to see my mum in hospital and called Steve straight away to tell us that we'd better get up to see her.

We both left more or less straight away and arrived at Kettering General at 5pm on Thursday (8th).  It took us a little while to find the department but when we got there my aunty and her daughter (midwife) were just leaving.  I hadn't seen my cousin in years so I didn't even recognise her.

We were shown in and although we were prepared for the worse it still didn't help with the shock.  Although not well when I last spoke to her a couple of weeks ago, her deterioration was severe.  She was very frail and i'm not even sure she recognised us.  It was tough for us both and we talked about what we'd been up to but my mum couldn't really talk, all we got back were a few moans and the occasional odd word.  It was clear that she was in pain so we managed to get a nurse to provide her with some relief, the nurse had to help her as she was unable to do it by herself.

After an hour and a half we kissed her goodbye and left.  That was the last time I saw my mum.

The next day at around 9 I received a call from my brother telling me that she'd passed away.  After seeing her the day before I was prepared for it.  And i'm glad that her suffering wasn't prolonged.

Work's been good about it and friends have been great but there's nothing anybody can do really.

I told Florence on Sunday and she could tell that I was sad, but don't think she got the finality of it all.  

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Not what I had planned

 April was ill and to be better safe than sorry got covid19 tested.  That meant that the whole house had to safe isolate, so I had to take a parental day off (not great timing as things are beginning to pick up) to look after the kids.

Flo lasted 30 mins of constant questions before asking for something else on.
Who's that guy, what's he riding, who's that guy (the same guy), where are they?  

Flo was great and really helped out, otherwise it could have been a very long day.  Fortunately two of our friends were off too so were able to take Arwen out for a couple of walks.