Category: general

Manic Month, Part 1

Five joined roundabouts The last time I managed to get any decent amount of work done was mid-December. This is not a good thing by any means. Well, at least, it doesn't seem such a good thing now with the amount of stuff I have to do to catch up! Anyway, an interesting few weeks ensued, which helpfully took my mind off of work.

This was going to be one long post, but it's taken me quite a while to type up, so I have split it into three parts, this first part covering the week leading up to Christmas.

Driving Home for Christmas

My mini-adventure started out with the drive down to Devon with my girlfriend for a week of Christmas-ness with family. It didn't really start out the way I meant it to go on. We decided to visit a couple of friends on the way south and having got “lost” trying to get to Banbury (we were meant to be on the M1, but the road signs disagreed), we then got flashed at by a speed camera when trying to make up some time.

We finally made it to Banbury an hour late. After an evening of catching up and an overnight stay, we sampled the delicious delights of Woodstock (no, this one's near Oxford), the ridiculous roundabouts of Swindon and the beautiful (if rather samey) buildings of Bath.

It was nice to get back to my home town of Barnstaple. It was time for my usual manic Christmas shop, as I hadn't yet sorted out any presents other than my girlfriend's. Other than that, our week in Devon was quite relaxing. A friend from Australia visited us for a couple of days before Christmas, so we took him for a few nights out and got to see a few more old friends who were back home for Christmas. And, of course, there was the obligatory carol service.

Christmas Day was quite busy for us. Our flight to Phoenix was on Boxing Day morning so we had to drive up to London straight after Christmas lunch. Christmas morning was opening presents and packing them up again soon after for the drive up to London. Father Christmas must have lost his sleigh while he was delivering presents – while we were packing, a yellow Sea King rescue helicopter flew over the house with him waving at everyone. I hoped he finished his rounds!

Me in Christmas hat with a glass of bubbley! We had an early Christmas lunch with my family – the classic turkey with lots of stuffing, chestnuts, pigs-in-blankets… Of course, someone had to drive up to London – that was me. I was permitted to have one small glass. Oh, and we had a white Christmas – just as we sat down to eat, it started snowing.

After lunch, we set off for London to have another helping of family Christmas before flying out for eight days in the Arizona sun. As expected, the drive up to London was quiet and uneventful. It did give us the chance to listen to some of the CDs we got for Christmas though!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone had a pleasant Christmas holiday. I crammed a lot into two weeks off work and had a great time.

In Brief

I finished work a week before Christmas to spend a couple of weeks visiting family and friends. I managed to visit a few friends on the way down to spend Christmas with my folks in Devon, travelled to London on Christmas Day (the roads were very quiet) and then spent eight days in Arizona visiting Phoenix and the Grand Canyon with my girlfriend's family. I had hoped to write a couple of posts while in America, but limited Internet access and funds stopped that. I'll write up a full debrief soon as there's quite a lot to cover!

Now that I'm back though, I'm having issues catching up with everything! I've managed to wade through a load of e-mails and forum posts today – thank goodness for spam filters. Now I have to catch up on a bit of work that piled up during the break and try to book my train tickets to get down to Devon for my Dad's 80th birthday. That's something else I'm going to rant about soon, as I've already tried to book these tickets eight times, making me even more pissed off with the railways in this country than I already am! Anyway, look out for that in a series of articles I intend writing discussing things that annoy me.

Disaster in Asia

Shortly after take-off from Heathrow, I was saddened by the breaking news of the earthquake and tsunami in South-East Asia. The holiday in Arizona took my mind off the disaster a little, but the extent of those events was driven home by the reports I read upon return to Britain.

It was good to find out about Blog Aid, set up by Andy Budd to raise money for the relief efforts from blog earnings through schemes such as Google AdSense. It's given me a good reason to add Google adverts to this blog: to raise money for different charities. I don't get a lot of traffic, but every little helps right?


As yet, I haven't made any. I often don't because I tend to make them and then completely forget about it. I guess if I had one for this year, it would be to exercise more, but as someone who is mostly tied to a computer every day, getting active can be difficult to work into the day.