First post from the iMac

Cheryl and I went to Stratford this morning to go and buy an iMac. Cheryl has been saying she wants one for quite a while now, and I think that some sort of desktop computer would be preferable for writing code on because I need screen real estate.

We decided to go and buy the 27-inch one with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB SATAII hard drive, and a bunch of other cool bits. Luckily Cheryl’s student card still passed the inspection by the staff in the Apple store, so we got 12% off.

We did ask the guy to give us the keyboard with the numpad section, and he said yes, but when we got home we found he hadn’t swapped it at all. Oh well, not a huge problem.

Getting the thing home was a massive effort. I had to carry it through the Westfield shopping centre as it was getting busier and busier. Then I had to carry it down escalators and through the tube gates and then find a place to stand with it on the tube. It was quite awkward at times, but luckily the trains leaving Stratford were considerably less busy than the ones arriving there.

At the moment it’s been set up on the dining table. It’ll probably be here for a while because there’s nowhere else suitable for it. When we get rid of the Christmas tree we’ll hopefully put some sort of big desk thing in its place and the iMac can live there. Then I’ll get a nice computer chair and everything will be nice.

Since we got it back here I’ve been configuring it to work more like a Linux installation. I’ve got my terminal set up, installed git, ports, Chrome, Spotify, Xcode, and all the other crap you need to make a computer feel personalised. It’s starting to feel pretty nice. It’s basically the most well-designed Linux distribution out there.

So yeah, I now have Linux, Windows, and Mac OSX running at the same time, as well as an Xbox 360, a PS3, and a Wii. I guess I just don’t believe in brand loyalty.

A weekend at the BBC

On Thursday I met up with Gordon and Claire outside the BBC building because we were going to see them filming Harry Hill’s TV Burp. It was really busy though, so at the last minute we decided to go and see Alan Carr’s Chatty Man. There was no info about who would be on the show as it was kept secret until the show started.

Once we’d settled in they announced that we’d be seeing Nicole Scherzinger, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Matt Cardle. I was pretty well impressed with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Nicole Scherzinger was interesting to watch as she stumbled around on ridiculous heels in a small piece of fabric barely holding her top-heaviness in and necessitating sitting with her legs crossed at all times.

Matt Cardle was better than I expected him to be, but that’s not really giving him much credit, because I expected him to be utterly shit.

Simon Pegg was basically exactly how I thought, and Nick Frost was slightly less nice than I expected. he seemed generally uncomfortable, but then I guess everyone has their off days, and they don’t have to leave their newborn baby to go on some TV show to be questioned by someone like Alan Carr. On the other hand they do get paid a fucking shitload of money. Maybe he should just cheer the fuck up. ๐Ÿ™‚

Towards the end of the show they announced that there would be a special guest who would be appearing on the following week’s show. It turned out to be Dermot O’Leary. So we ended up with even more talk of X-Factor. I was pretty bored of hearing about it by the end, but oh well.

We all came back to the flat and Cheryl had cooked some awesome chicken and garlic with cous cous and salad. YUM! The house smelled awesome as soon as we walked in.

We had a relatively quiet night in and then went to bed at a reasonable hour.

We got up in good time on Friday and Cheryl and I had the day booked off work so we could hang out. We went into the city centre and headed to a gallery that Gordon wanted to visit to see some work by a guy named Adam Neate. It was the last day of the exhibit, so it was quite good timing. When we got there they were doing some sort of filming about the exhibit, so Adam Neate was actually there. We looked around everything and Gordon bought a poster. Gordon asked him to sign it and he also drew a little something special on there for him. Pretty damn cool.

Cheryl had to go pick up the deeds for the apartment after that so we went and sorted that out. Afterwards we grabbed some food and sat in a place called Phoenix Park and ate it. There was a little mouse climbing around on all of the plants and pots and things. I couldn’t quite manage to take a picture of it though.

We walked through some parts of the city heading towards Camden because Gordon wanted to look at the markets and stuff. Unfortunately for that plan there are pubs in Camden before you reach the market. We went into the Camden Head where Cheryl and I went to watch JonP’s gig a few months ago. A few drinks went by and it was getting dark and we were getting hungry. We caught the tube back to Canada Water, and then went over to The Mayflower for some food.

When we got back home we decided to have more drinks and watch a film that Gordon had bought for me as a gift earlier on in the day. I now have the 2-disc special edition of Senna! ๐Ÿ˜€ Thanks Gordon!

The girls went to sleep after the film (or during) and Gordon and I decided to stay up to finish the rum and coke. We put on Werner Herzog’s Encounters At The End Of The World and both ended up falling asleep before the end. Unluckily Gordon fell asleep while holding his drink. One cushion cover was harmed during the watching of this film.

Saturday felt the most like a Sunday any other day has ever felt. It started out with me waking up on the sofa at 6:30 with no idea why I was where I was. I got up and went to the bedroom instead and then went back to sleep for a few more hours.

Once everyone was up we headed to Bond Street with the aim of going to get some food and then going to Selfridge’s so Cheryl and Claire could buy a bag each. After a bit of walking around we spotted a Carluccio’s in Fenwick’s and decided to go in there. We got some delicious food and had a chat for a while. Then it was time to hit the shop. I was dreading that bit, but luckily there wasn’t a lot of spare time and the girls literally did only want one item each. It wasn’t so bad, despite the karaoke and all the people.

At Bond Street we went our separate ways. Gordon and Claire were heading back to Nottingham and we were heading home before we went back out to watch another recording at the BBC.

This time we were watching a recording of a show called Trust Us With your Life. It’s a show based on Whose Line Is It Anyway? 60% improvisation, 40% interview. Ricky Gervais was the one being interviewed and so he was also the subject of the improv. The improvisation was done by Colin Mochrie, Wayne Brady, Greg Proops, and Jonathan Mangum. The show was hosted by Fred Willard.

I’d got 4 free tickets thinking that Dan would really like to see Ricky Gervais, so I invited him and Fran along to enjoy the show. I’m pretty sure they enjoyed it as much as Cheryl and I did. Definitely looking forward to seeing the finished product on TV one day. Despite the warnings on the ticket application page I don’t think there’s that much stuff that an English audience wouldn’t understand. Perhaps that’s just for the Ricky Gervais episode though.

Wahaca was calling us when we left the BBC building, so we went for some dinner together. I do love Mexican food!

The journey home was quite interesting because there were a lot of drunk people on the tube in fancy dress. Most of them were loud and annoying, so Cheryl and I ended up getting off at London Bridge to wait for the next train. After a while we considered walking home, but then decided to just wait for the next train instead. It was much more normal, so we got home in peace and quiet.

So yeah, now I can get to bed so that I don’t completely waste my Sunday. ๐Ÿ™‚

New house

This is something like the 8000th post on this blog about having moved to a new house. Hopefully it’ll be the last one for quite a while!

Cheryl and I have moved into an awesome new apartment in Canada Water. We’ve got a large amount of stuff sorted now and it’s already starting to feel like home. It makes me happy every time I get home, or wake up in the morning. It’s way more awesome than anywhere I’ve ever lived before, which is reflected in the rent, but oh well. I think I can manage it, and eventually it should get easier.

We’ve still got things to buy to make it better, and things to do with stuff we’ve already bought, but nothing show-stopping.

I’m really looking forward to having some time off work that I can spend in the house when it’s ready. The weekends and evenings just aren’t long enough! ๐Ÿ™‚

9 days to go

Towards the end of last week I got a call from Cheryl while I was at work. In an excited voice she told me that the move-in date of June 10th was confirmed!

At 4pm we will get to our new apartment, pick up the keys and be given a tour. Our first look at our new home. I can’t wait!

Every day seems to be taking longer than before we had a definite date, and I just want them to go by instantly so I can get moved in and begin getting everything sorted.

Tim Curry and a ten pound note

Yesterday was the day of the royal wedding. Emma and JonP had organised a bit of an event at their house to celebrate. Cheryl and I headed over there between 10 and 11 in the morning. When we got on the train at Stratford two girls got on behind us and we heard them ask “does this train go to Pudding Mill Lane (nearest stop to Emma and JonP).

We got off the train at that stop, and so did the girls. We all walked along Pudding Mill Lane alongside the Olympic entrance. A guy walked by us on the way.

We got to the entrance of the building and the girls and the guy were at the entrance too. We heard the guy asking the girls if it was George Hudson Tower, but they didn’t know, so we told him that it was and then we all went through the gate together. We all got in the front door together and then all got in the lift together. When we were all in one of the girls pressed the button for the 19th floor. It was at that point that I decided to ask “are we all going to the same place?” Quite surprisingly we were! ๐Ÿ™‚

It turned out that we’d briefly met the girls, Vicky and Florence, at a club in London for Florence’s birthday a few weeks before. The guy, Mikey, was a friend of Emma’s but we’d apparently not met before.

JonP had prepared scones with clotted cream and jam for everyone, and there were several bottles of champagne. It felt a bit weird to be drinking before 11am, but it was a celebration.

Another couple of Emma’s friends turned up (Ellie and Jo) a little bit after the rest of us and we had a little wedding party thing going. I wasn’t planning on having anything to do with the royal wedding, so I was quite surprised to find myself watching it on TV all the time. I guess it’s just the kind of spectacle that it’s hard to ignore.

After Prince William and Kate Middleton-William-Arthur-Philip-Louis-Windsor had kissed they were waiting for the flyover by the RAF. JonP kept saying to look out to see if we could see the planes going by the building. A minute or so later JonP spotted them and we all went outside to watch them fly past on their way to the palace. A few seconds later a second set of planes flew by. We went back inside as they reached the palace. It was so weird to see stuff happening knowing how close we were to it. ๐Ÿ™‚

People started to leave Emma and JonP’s apartment after a little while and Emma went for a nap. JonP kept drinking the champagne, enjoying the bubbles. He was quite drunk after a while, so we had a rather interesting conversation about politics, immigrations, and various other things (including his “well-fed” girlfriend).

When Emma got up we decided we would go to Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Canary Wharf. We met back up with Ellie and went in. The food there is really delicious and I am sure we will go again.

After dinner we headed to SoHo to enjoy the street party atmosphere. On the way to one of Emma and Ellie’s friends’ houses we walked right past Tim Curry! I made eye contact and realised it was him, but I didn’t want to bother him, so I just walked past and then Cheryl and I turned to each other with a look that said “holy crap, that was Tim Curry leaning on a wall!” He’s the first famous person I’ve seen in London. ๐Ÿ˜€

Literally about a minute later I was stepping from the pavement into the road and I spotted a ยฃ10 note folded up in the road. It was basically the best 60 seconds of the entire day. ๐Ÿ˜€

The rest of the night was spent drinking in various places around SoHo. The last place we went to was this little basement bar about the size of the cellar at my mum’s house. It had a Staffordshire Bull Terrier walking around the place and lots of posters of boxers, members of the mafia (mafiosa?), and musicians. The music was mostly from the 1950s to the 1970s and it was a really cool place. It cost ยฃ1 to get in and 4 drinks came to less than ยฃ15 (good compared to everywhere else I’ve been in London).

We managed to catch one of the last tube trains back to St. Paul’s tube station and walked back the rest of the way from there. It was a really good day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Moved to London

Blimey, I’ve had a busy few days!

Cheryl came up to Nottingham last weekend to help me get the last of our things packed so that it was clear for me to move down with her. We spent a bunch of time sorting out our things and putting them in boxes and suitcases. I also had to sort out a whole bunch of things for the house I’m renting out on Crown Street because of a bunch of annoying plumbing stuff. I also spent a while seeing friends and family, and a few of my (now former) colleagues.

I didn’t really feel the same sense of everything being done for the last time that I felt before I moved to California, but I was a bit sad to see things for the last time out of a taxi window on the way to the train station.

The first day in London was Tuesday. It was fairly late when we got to St. Pancras so we just caught a taxi to the apartment and spent the night unpacking and getting ready to sleep in the lovely single bed.

On Wednesday we decided to go out and be tourists for a day. We needed a destination so I randomly picked Little Ben and we set off for a walk. We walked for about 3 hours or so and managed to see St. Paul’s Cathedral (about 5 minutes from the apartment), walk along the Thames, see Big Ben, Westminster Abbey complete with idiots in tents for the royal wedding, and then finally Little Ben! ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a really nice day, and I believe I got a bit sunburned.

St. Paul's Cathedral

Little Ben

We went back out a little bit after getting back from the walk to pick up some pillows, pillow cases, and a blanket for the inflatable mattress I brought along with me.

I inflated the mattress when I got back and sorted out all the other bedding stuff. The blanket turned out to be a bit too small, and the fricking mattress decided to deflate during the night. I woke up at least 3 times and gave up on “camping” at about 5am. I got into the single bed with Cheryl and a short while later she got out and slept on the mostly-deflated mattress. I told her not to, but a single bed is not a comfortable place for two people.

A short while later we woke up and started to make plans for the day. Cheryl wanted to make sure that we got a drying rack for the laundry, so we reserved one from Argos near Old Street. They offered to deliver it within 90 minutes for about ยฃ5 or so. As tempting and awesome as that was we decided to go and pick it up ourselves. Before we could pick that up from Argos we had to go and look at some furniture in a show home so that we could pick things for the new apartment (currently expected to be complete in June).

When we found the Argos on Old Street we were both pretty hungry, so we went to a pub and grabbed some lovely food. While we were sitting there a NAVTEQ car stopped at the lights beside us with a camera mounted on the top and this weird bit revolving constantly. So I assume that means Google Maps for London will be updated soon. Cheryl and I were sitting in the pub by the side of Bunhill Row near Old Street. ๐Ÿ™‚

We bought the drying rack from Argos, and I also bought a new blanket and cover for it so that I could sleep better. Then we headed home and watched Stargate SG-1 for a couple of hours. ๐Ÿ˜€


The other week I went on my first holiday with Cheryl. It was also my first holiday with Dave and Hayley. Here is a bit of a run-down of how the whole thing went.

On Wednesday I finished work at 5pm and went back to Cheryl’s to get everything ready. We left the flat in the evening and caught a bus to Mansfield so we could stay at Dave and Hayley’s house. We had a bit of food while we were there and the drinking got underway too.

We woke up early on Thursday and got ready nice and quickly. We set off on the way to the airport at 8:56 and got as far as Glapwell before turning around and going back because Dave forgot his coat(!) and Hayley forgot her toothbrush (Chris Evans would not be impressed). We set off for on the way to the airport at around 9:20-something and didn’t have to turn around again. The journey there was fairly easy. There were a few moments where I thought Hayley was going to have a heart attack as lorries closed us in a horrible moving tunnel of death, and Dave was going to have a heart attack because of Hayley, but it wasn’t so bad.

The car was parked in a big car park and we caught a bus to the terminal. We went through security and stuff and then sat down for some food. We thought we had plenty of time, but within a couple of minutes of them announcing which gate we should go to they were giving the final call. We ran the last part of the way to the gate only to find the doors weren’t even open and we were at the back of a huge queue.

Once we’d gone through the regular hassle of getting on a bus to be taken 40 metres to the plane we got on and found that people had taken all of the space in the overhead lockers. My bag ended up at the other end of the plane, Dave and Hayley had theirs somewhere in the middle, and Cheryl’s had to go into the hold. I could go on about how this wouldn’t be an issue if they didn’t charge so much to bring a case in what must often be a 75% empty luggage compartment, but I won’t.

The flight was pretty short, which is a good thing because the seat was not very comfortable. I managed to fall asleep for a few minutes and when I woke up my neck ached because of the rubbish seat.

When we got to Prague airport we had to wait a couple of minutes for Cheryl to get through the passport check point because the person she was being served by didn’t know if a visa was required, but we all knew it wasn’t. While Cheryl was waiting on the other side of the barrier Dave grabbed her bag from the carousel and then we pretended we were still waiting for it when Cheryl joined us. It took her a few seconds to notice that Dave was holding it.

We left the airport nice and quickly and stepped out into the freezing cold Czech day to find a taxi into the city. We got one at the front of the queue and started the last part of our journey. The view from the taxi was quite bland and grim-looking, but I guess that’s what it looks like when your country is freezing cold for 6 months of the year (even more than England!).

We checked in at the hotel, found our rooms, and set down our bags. It was nice not to have to pull them around any more.

After a little while we got ready, took some of our money, and headed into the city under cover of darkness. We were half way to the National Museum when Dave decided to cross the road in front of 3 or 4 lanes of traffic just as they started to move. He ran and the rest of us stayed on the pavement like normal people. We walked a bit down the road, crossed safely, then walked back to the end again and continued the journey to the museum. It looked absolutely awesome with all the lights on it and we took some pictures before realising it was too cold to just stand there.

We walked back towards the hotel for a minute and decided to go into a hotel/restaurant called Muลกketรฝr. It was set mostly underground and was nice and dark with a really warm log fire. We had some drinks and some nice food and then decided we should move on to another place because it was a bit quiet and we were a bit loud.

Then I got bored of writing this blog post and got busy with moving to London and completely couldn’t be bothered to write it any more, so instead I posted another incomplete post about a holiday. I’ll include the random list of things that I was going to write about so that you can fill in some of the very exciting gaps for yourself.

Rocky O’Reilly’s
Singing along with Liverpool fans
Astronomical clock + old square
Little garden place just off the square with weird statues
Hard Rock Cafe
Tacky tourist shops
Book shop
New Yorker
Van Graaf
Zoo + shit restaurant
Stags Russian dolls
Restaurant near the hotel
Strip club
The Pub
Mr. Krakoviel (crack a feel) missing the flight

That was easy.

Cheryl’s gone to London, 1700th post

Cheryl set off for London earlier this afternoon. It seems quite strange. So far I’ve spent most of the time at my mum’s house so it’s not really had much chance to sink in, but I’m sure it will when I wake up tomorrow, and when I get back from work and stuff.

I guess all that’s left now is a few more weeks of work, and a whole bunch of packing/moving and I’ll be off to London too. Then only a few weeks after that we’ll get to move everything once again and end up in the new house in Canada Water. I really can’t wait for that.

This is the 1700th post to my blog since I started it back in January 2003. That’s quite a lot of writing. A fairly big history to be able to go back and read. It’s mostly only interesting to me though. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been aiming to blog a bit more over the last week or so. I kinda got out of the habit some time in the last couple of years. I seem to have written a bunch of entries about programming and stuff. Those will probably carry on, but I would also quite like to go back to using my blog how I used to when it started.

Things changing

This morning I hugged a very sleepy Cheryl before I left the flat as I have done 5 days a week for the last few months. It wasn’t until I was half way to work that I realised it’s probably the last time I’ll do that.

On Sunday Cheryl is leaving for London and her new job. I will be heading down there in about 4 weeks, so we will be together again fairly soon, but Cheryl will be getting up to go to work at around the same time as me. It’s weird when something like that changes. It really drives home how big the upcoming changes are.

I remember writing a fairly similar (but more emo) entry about a similar thing almost 6 years ago.

I am looking forward to all the new things, but it’s very easy to get distracted by all the old things.

Trip to London

On Friday Cheryl went to London for a second interview with a company. It seems to have gone quite well, and she should hear back about the possibility of getting the job in the next day or two.

We decided to spend the weekend in London, so I caught a train down there after I finished work. I decided to go First Class because it was only ยฃ8 more. It was totally worth it because I could plug in my laptop and connect to the WiFi. The connection wasn’t great, but it was better than having to use my phone the entire time.

When I got to London I headed over to London Bridge and then walked along to the restaurant where Cheryl and her friends were. We stayed in there until fairly late just chatting about random things, and then we headed over to Pudding Mill Lane to stay with Emma (JonP was away for the weekend). It was fairly late and we were all really tired, so we basically went straight to sleep.

The next day I was woken up before 8am by JonP’s alarm clock. I couldn’t find the button to turn it off in my sleepy state so I ended up snoozing it for an hour and then being woken up again. I’m kind of glad for the alarm though, as I could quite possibly have just slept the day away otherwise.

When we were all ready we headed to Canada Water to look at an apartment that Cheryl’s parents are interested in buying. The marketing suite was open and they had a selection of drinks and nibbles for us to eat while we looked around. After a bunch of looking around and Cheryl talking to her parents we decided that we’d done enough stuff there, and we were hungry for breakfast.

We headed over to Canary Wharf to get Mexican breakfast (after lunch time) at Wahaca. I had a chipotle chicken quesdailla, and a steak burrito. The quesdailla is the nicest one I’ve had in the UK, but still not quite what I miss about California.

After that Cheryl and Emma did a bit of shopping while I played with my phone on a bench outside the shop. Cheryl and I decided we should head off to the hotel and let Emma get on with some rehearsal stuff.

We caught the tube over to Old Street and then walked over to Thistle City Barbican hotel. The hotel room was nice enough. Perhaps a bit old-feeling. Some of the paint on the wooden bath-side was flaking off, but it’s a tiny detail, really.

I decided I needed a nap before we went back out to meet up with Emma for food and drinks, so I fell asleep while Cheryl cried along to My Girl on the TV!

I woke up after a fairly short amount of time and then got ready to go out for food. We walked to Angel station to catch the tube and met up with Emma again when we got to Covent Garden we set off for a restaurant called Rossopomodoro (easy to remember). We found the place and got there just after Emma. The meal was nice. I did find a dead fly in it at one point though, so that kind of put me off. I suppose it can happen anywhere though.

After the meal we went to a pub down the road to meet Emma’s friend James for some drinks. We only had chance to get 2 drinks before the bar staff started to close down the whole bar. It was full of paying customers and they were kicking everyone out at about 10:45 on a Saturday night. Oh well.

We went our separate ways and then Cheryl and I decided to get a taxi back to the hotel to avoid the tube for a while. It ended up costing about ยฃ8, but it was much easier than the tube.

We woke up fairly early on Sunday morning and went downstairs to get breakfast. We got a table right away and we were offered tea and coffee as soon as we sat down. Our breakfasts were nice, and the orange juice was extremely strong. None of the weak stuff we got in the hotel in Prague (still writing that blog post).

After breakfast we went back up to the hotel room intent on killing time until we had to check out at 12. Cheryl spoke to her mum about the house they were looking at buying and so we agreed that we would head over to the development to speak to the marketing staff again. We left our bags in the hotel to collect later on. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to, but it was fine, and saved a lot of hassle. After a little while with the marketing people (no free champagne or chicken this time) we headed off to go to the Korean Restaurant that Cheryl and I went to before near the Holborn tube station. We got all the way there only to find that it is closed on Sunday lunch times. A bit silly for a restaurant, I think.

We walked around aimlessly for a little while and then ended up going to Samurai Sushi just over the road from the tube station. We got some bits of sushi and ate them, but it wasn’t particularly filling. While we were eating I spotted Krispy Kreme’s over the road. As soon as we’d finished eating we went over there and bought a dozen doughnuts. ๐Ÿ™‚

We walked to Drury Lane and then headed to Leicester Square. The whole park bit of the square is under construction, so there was nothing much to see there. We were heading for Rendezvous for ice cream though, so it didn’t matter. We got some ice cream and ate it slowly to kill some more time. Cheryl decided that she wanted to show me China town, as it was right around the corner, so we walked there. We walked up to a Singapore/Malay food place and Cheryl reminisced about all the things she couldn’t get in Nottingham, so we decided to go in. Cheryl had a bowl of soupy stuff and I had a Tiger Beer.

There wasn’t much time left after we’d done that, so we went back to the hotel to get a drink in the bar there and pick up our luggage.

There was a taxi outside the hotel so we caught that to St. Pancras to avoid carrying our luggage for 20 minutes. We were really early for the train, so we just stood around and chatted until they opened the gate for us.

I was a bit worried when we were looking for our carriage because it was coach J. I could see that the train wasn’t quite that long, but when we got to the end of coach G we saw that they’d decided not to include coaches H or I for some weird reason.

The journey back was pretty nice, and it was good to be back home before it was too late at night. Another successful trip to London! ๐Ÿ™‚