Monday, April 29, 2013

Black Cats Hit For Six

The games kicked off yet due to traffic I find myself jogging past the church towards the Holte End.  It's just started raining. An omen?  This is a must win game.  My season ticket clicks in the card reader and I pass through the turnstiles.  A quick glance at the screen in the foyer shows only a few minutes have passed, but I pause briefly to watch a corner be claimed by their keeper.  A two hour journey means a quick pause at the gents is required before I take my seat.  As I stand at the urinal I feel the adrenaline pumping through me, my heart pounding so hard in my chest I swear I can hear it echoing off the tiled walls.  Did I mention this was a must win game?  To those who don't 'get it', it's moments like this why us football fans just can't walk away.

I remember games like this when I was younger, just wanting games to end and points to be bagged.  A much older, wiser, and less superstitious me can enjoy the moment much much more.  And tonight was just amazing.   Properly 'did that really happen' amazing.  Sunderland took a beating and somehow we repaired our goal difference to climb above Newcastle to 16th.

The Highs And Lows Of A Footy Fan - In 60 Seconds

Oddly enough when I was playing with the Duc on Friday night I had 5Live on the radio which was previewing the weekends football.  And they focused on League 1 as it was the last fixtures of the season.  Brentford were due to play Doncaster.  After 45 games they were only 2 points apart, Donny on 81 in second and Brentford on 79 in third.  With only two getting promotion automatically it had basically come down to a one game shoot-out.  If Brentford could beat Doncaster they would steal that last promotion place away from their opponents.

And so with Tash out Saturday afternoon I was focused on the radio.  Every time they went to Griffin Park it was stalemate.  Doncaster seeming happy to play the game out for the point they needed.

The 90 minutes had passed.  Doncaster's army of away fans must have been preying for the final whistle.  This this happens.  Thankfully 5live clicked across to the game just in time.  Best end to a football season ever?  Quite possibly!  Click here to listen for yourselves.

Thankfully, in the Premier League, Spurs grabbed a last minute equaliser against Wigan, and it looks more and more like it will be a shoot-out against Villa and Wigan for the final relegation spot ... and we happen to play them last game of the season too!  We play Sunderland tonight which really has become a must win game for us as it would mean we could open up a 5 point gap on Wigan.  I think every Villa fan is preying we have more than a 3 point gap on Wigan come the last day of the season!

I Lick Spoon!? I Lick Bowl?!

First cupcakes since the Bake Off!  Maybe the week of endless practice scarred me more than I realise!  That was over two years ago now!

To be honest I always find cupcakes a bit pointless when you could just bake a proper cake instead.  But I fancied them so Alfie and I got busy with the electric mixer!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Plague Of Italian Electrics Begins?

Was hoping to spend my evening fitting a new water temp sensor on the 'cati to get my gauge working tonight.  However upon removing the fairing I learnt that the wire is missing the needed connector.

So I made this for Alfie instead.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Of Course, Next Was Meltdown

But for a few minutes two overtired kids lovingly shared an ice cream!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Two Seasonings In One Day

BBQ season is here.  Well, for a day anyway.  So lunch was a gorgeous marinated chicken with sardines lovingly prepared by Dawn and Dale and dinner was black bean burgers with bacon and cheese.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Does My Bump Look Big In This?

Cutting Back The Climbers

I have just realised that this photo basically looks like I've taken a photo of the washing.  What actually happened was that mass of jasmine, honeysuckle and bay got a big chop back.  Still got a little to finish and then we'll be raising the wall!  Big thanks to my Dad for coming up and getting stuck in with me.

We Want To Live Under A Big Gay Rainbow

Don't get me wrong here, the politics of a nation doesn't figure anywhere in reasons why I want to leave the UK or move to NZ .... however many could learn a thing from the attitude and approach of Maurice Williamson the MP for Pakuranga.

This is the speech he gave when NZ legalised gay marriage last week.  It's fantastic!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Play Up Pompey

Spent a lovely sunny day in Pompey yesterday.  Finished off the rework of my gecko/mech tattoo with Skelly, and in the meantime Tash and the kids caught up with Claire and Jody.  I gather they found a little water park to play in, and judging by the clothing they definitely had ice cream.  Then we all hit this awesome little authentic Thai cafe for food.  Food was gorgeous, prices were friendly, and the company was unbeatable!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bin Man Day

Friday.  Alfie's favourite day of the week.  The bin men come to 'empty bins' and he spends the entire day playing with his bin lorries and emptying 'wubbish' over his bed.  I barely see him except to receive a report on which houses have put their bins away.

A Bit Like Weightwatchers

 I now feel sorry for fatties, not because they struggle to cut their toe nails or have to worry about what's living in their creases, but because having to live your life to a points system is bloody stressful!

Of course, I am referring to our NZ application here as Tash spoke with our Case Officer yesterday.  You need 140 points to get in - based on our EOI we had 140 points, but as of last week we were down to 120 points as the Case Officer queried a few things.  Tash has already sent sufficient documentation to satisfy the work experience query and so we are now on a tantalising 135 points.  These final 5 points are pretty much make or break, and they are going to be hard for us to bag.  Whilst Tash's job is definitely in shortage out there, and her degree does back it up, they don't consider it an equivalent to what they would want in NZ.  Basically its not techy enough.  We now have two options, one is that we get letters from the recruitment consultants Tash has been speaking with which says "the employers consider her job equivalent to NZ", or we see if they can put our application on hold until we fly out in September and Tash has a job offer.  With a job offer they'd pretty much book us our own private jet as our points would be so high.  However it would be much nicer to fly out there in September with our residency visas all sorted and agreed.  We have seven days to submit everything - just hoping we can scrape 5 points together!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Moar Mehh

Translated from Essie means 'more milk'.  Which is all I seem to hear from both of the kids at the moment, and they seem to have developed a 4 pint a day habit.  I realised today that that means something like 15-20% of our weekly food budget goes on cow juice!  Crazy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Ecowarrior

Seedlings all growing (though you probably can't see them all in this pic) and solar powered radio providing the background noise.

From Field To Forest

Bit late posting this, but yesterday a dog walk became another geocache hunt.  The farmer was out spraying and so I wanted to get us out the field.  A quick look on the geocache app revealed there was a stash less than 100m away.  It revealed a new area of overgrown undergrowth I had never seen before and Alfie had great fun exploring this new natural playground.  Best treasure find so far too!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Treasure Hunting

So today we got our first taste of geocaching.  You dunno what it is?  Check out to learn all, but basically its using GPS to find 'stash' thats hidden about the place.  Massive thanks to our friend Bruce for getting me fired up for this one!

We attempted 5 and found 3.  At the third there was actual treasure for Alfie too!  It was great fun, and really adds a different dimension to a dog walk!

The One About The Lego, The Football And The Kiwi Situation

Today could/should have been all about football.  My mind ended up being occupied by other things though.

Villa were home against Fulham, we drew 1-1 which leaves us on 34 points and still in a spot of bother.  They say you need 37 to stay up, and with a home game against Sunderland coming up in a few weeks hopefully we can seal our safety then.  Token photo from Villa Park is of the mural in the Holte End, a massive painting celebrating the 1981 European Cup victory.

Before heading off my Dad delivered my old Lego for Alfie.  He already regards it as 'his' lego and I imagine it to keep him occupied for quite some time!

On the way up to Birmingham I got a text from Tash saying she had an email from Immigration New Zealand.  On the plus side it means we now clearly have a case officer and so our application is being dealt with.  Sadly they have come back with queries about her work experience and degree.  We have been invited to submit further evidence to support our application so I have asked on the immigration forum what we can best do to support our case.  Fingers crossed, I am preying we can tell them what they want to hear!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Adventures In Sticky Mud

Sometimes modern technology can be just magic!  We'd been forecast rubbish weather from yesterday till Sunday, but upon looking at a detailed forecast for the day on my phone I learnt we had a small window this morning when the rain was supposed to ease off.  So we donned our wellies and headed out to the fields with Harry.

We had such a lovely walk.  A lap of the Tuns field takes me 45 minutes when I walk Harry alone, but you can guarantee its at least an hour longer when Alfie's doing the tour too.  Where the hell have I got to be though, and in truth there's nowhere I'd rather be.  Today's walk involved walking imaginary dogs, fishing for mud monsters and finding big sticks!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thunder Thunder Thunder Thundercats

The weather may be warming up a little but its still rubbish outside ... so today Alfie learnt a little about quality 80's kids TV!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Bedtime Reading

Still keeping the pages turning, and I just finished Lair the second of the James Herbert 'rats' trilogy. 

I'm getting quite a reading list together now, and as well as the ficton I cannot wait to get round to getting into these two!

One day I will have land in NZ, grow my own food, generate my own power and be as happy as my pig(s) in shit.

In other news, at bathtime tonight I walked into the bathroom and Alfie shouted at me "Keees, Essie drinking f'cking water!'  In truth, it was only a matter of time.  But oh, it gets better, cos moments later when I pleaded with my daughter to stop eating bubbles Alfie joined in with "Essie, stop eating f'cking bubbles!!"

Monday, April 08, 2013

Bike And Boats

On the weekend the weather threatened to be almost Spring-like, during the days anyhow.

So with the sun shining I gave the Ducati a once over a took her for a quick blast to blow the cobwebs away.  Oh how I love that bike, and the confidence the chassis delivers blows me away every time I ride it. 

Upon my return Tash and Esme were in the garden to meet me, and after she had a sit on the bike she had a sit on Alfie's old blue bike ... which now pretty much fits her!  We're gonna have two kids tearing about the pavement soon!

On Sunday I woke to a 4am alarm and temps of -2!  With numerous layers applied I hit the rode for Brightlingsea - the weathermen had promised a glorious day and we had fish to catch!

We hadn't quite expected such a foggy start though, and it made the first hour of chugging a bit of an event!  When you looked away from the sun you could barely see much more than 20-30ft!

But the sun burned through, and we had an amazing session out on Reel Grumpy.  I caught 2 cod and 2 whiting and Bill had 3 cod - including a new boat record 4lb9oz monster!  Here's a few pics, all the rest are here.


Friday, April 05, 2013

Horses And Horsepower

In my short time of watching horse racing Sprinter Sacre is without doubt the most impressive beast I have ever seen!  Now 9/9 and blows the field apart every time.  Part of my winning treble today too.

And the MotoGP season has kicked off with a further 2 practice sessions this afternoon.  It's shaping up to be an amazing season with the new boy Marc Marquez looking to ruffle a few feathers.  And its wonderful to see Rossi and Lorenzo swapping fastest lap times again!

For dear Alfie it was all a bit too much though!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A Night Out With A Legend

A first for me.  I went to the cinema as a Billy No-Mates.  Quite enjoyed it, sat there on my lonesome with punnets of blueberries and raspberries.  Popcorn is just so 20th century!

Also, some photos of today.  She climbs, they climb,  they sleep!