Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Diet and Exercise

After being unwell last week I lost extra weight, a couple of kilos. As part recovery I have been eating a few things that were considered off menu. I need to be very careful that I don't let a few treats become a habit.

Now that I'm feeling more myself I am also starting to think about exercising again. I have a strong suspicion that a yoga pose known as the Cobra on Wii Fit was what actually strained the muscles in my back. So that one is not something I'll be returning to. But at the moment I've stopped all exercise, which isn't good either. On Friday I think I'll start doing exercises again on the Wii Fit but I'm going to pick the safer ones.

Monday, November 26, 2012


The rain has been pouring down over the last few days. Fields are so wet because the water table is so saturated. There is nowhere for the water to drain off to. On the train I noticed a golf course flooded out - it would require a canoe to navigate the course!
My garden lawn is a squlechy horrid quagmire, not nice to walk on at all. The wet weather is moving North, where I work. I live in the South, so wherever I go it seems to follow me.
This is a photo from my train station, lovely isn't it? Nice and grey and wet! I'm joking, can't stand all this wet weather.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Car: the decision

I decided last Sunday on the car to buy, it was actually the first car I went to see, so perhaps that was more impetuous than I thought it was going to be. I had made up a few cards and was literally expecting to have to see a few cars before deciding, trying a few out. But I didn't. I liked what I saw, thought it was a good deal and that was that. I had more or less made up my mind on paper anyway. So I decided to get a city car, the Hyundai i10, it's the Style edition so has a few neat extras such as heated front seats, slide and tilt sunroof, front foglamps, rear spoiler with integrated brake light and an interior trim with two tone dash. The car has electric windows and aircon as standard, there is a CD player and MP3 player connection so I'm happy.
I picked it up today and the weather was so dismal and wet that I had to do something to jazz up the photos a bit, so forgive my poetic license with the photos. It's tiny but has a high body so the headroom and relatively high driving position makes it feel larger than it is - like the Tardis in Dr Who!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Recovery food

My back completely froze up this week and I've spent most of the time in chronic pain. It has gotten a lot easier today but it's been a hellish week.
My wife brought me home a MacDonalds McChicken sandwich and it cheered me up. I haven't eaten much this week at all. Funny how MacDonalds can help sometimes isn't it? What food or drink makes you feel better after being unwell?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cheese 2

Well here we are again. Another week and I'm here talking about cheese. This time it's about a cheese taster pack I was given, surprisingly enough. I was given the pack just after lunch last week so I put it in my bag for my commute home. I opened the pack and got a nice surprise. There was some oat biscuits, onion marmalade and three chunks of cheddar cheese. The company that was generous enough to give out these lovely samples was The Lake District Cheese Company, ironically we had a pack of their cheddar in our fridge at home. I hadn't tried the cheese from our home before I gave the samples a go. I have to say the cheese was very lovely. On an oat biscuit with the cheese and the onion marmalade the sample was delicious - that's a Deeee-licious!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Stargate SG1

Last weekend I saw a box set of DVDs for this sci-fi series and it was season 1, I've never really watched any of it before (I know, where have I been?!). I am quite liking the episodes I've seen so far. It is a bit more, how should I put it, anthropological than I was expecting!

Friday, November 16, 2012


It's autumn now and the weather is getting cold and damp. For lunch I've been heating up soup from a can. I've been eating Heinz soups from a can for years since I was a kid. I just wonder, what with soup becoming more of a specialty food and more fresh product variety on the supermarket shelves, whether you still eat the same soup from a can that you did as a child. Is it even around?
What's your favourite soup? I like the beef broth because it is thick and more filling.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Christmas approaches

Time until the Christmas holidays is slipping away. I'm a little unnerved by how fast it is approaching. Have you started buying for it yet? I've bought my wife some art glass ornaments but she chose them, I'll wrap them up for her for Christmas.

My wife is a lot more organised than I am generally, she has started but I am more of a slow burner. Things are so expensive. I wish people had lower expectations and that there wasn't so much pressure to spend so much. I think I'll have to be pretty cautious with my gift spending this year. I'd rather give out Christmas spirit than presents!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I'm planning to buy a car in December, to replace the one I have. It's not that there is anything very wrong with my current car but it is not very fuel efficient and I do less miles and spend less time in it. The fan in it has never been very strong so things like the heater and the air conditioning aren't very good. I find it relatively comfortable on longer drives and it can go fast when I push it. It has a big boot that has been useful and the seats fold down for times when I need to transport large items of furniture for example. Aside from the expense of fuel, I find it is expensive to insure and work on it is never very cheap. Being an older car I'm worried there will be work needed on it fairly soon that will be costly. My needs have changed since I bought the car, I really bought it because I was doing up to 500 miles a week and I needed a vehicle that would be comfortable on distance drives. Something smaller and more fuel efficient will do nicely, I don't think a 3 door is practical with my kids so I'm looking for a 5 door model.

My biggest question to settle is whether to stretch and go for a basic model of a brand new "cheap" car or buy a used car and get something a little bigger but with a history that I don't know about. Warranties are pretty good these days, so the former option seems better but I know I'll have to stretch my finance a bit even for a "basic" model. I could use a finance option but I'd rather go short for a while and own the car outright, not the easiest option but one I think is less stressful for me personally. I've no problem with other people who choose the finance option, it's whatever suits you best I guess.

I've never bought a new car. All of my cars have been at the cheaper end of the used car spectrum. The same was true for my wife but she saved hard to get herself a new car back in May. We are lucky enough to have jobs where we are able to afford two new cars but we have both been driving cars that are twelve/thirteen years old. Some basic models don't have air conditioning and I would really like to have it, which might add a few hundred pounds to the cost. The climate in the UK is not too bad but AC really helps in the middle of summer.

Here are some of the small, "cheap" cars I've been looking at - what do you think I should do: go for new or get a used car?

Kia Picanto

Citroen C1

Hyundai i10

Volkswagon Up
Chevrolet Spark
Toyota Aygo

I'll have to take a few test drives to see what I prefer. If I go for a used car then I will have an almost unlimited choice.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Shropshire blue cheese

Cheese is lovely. I was watching a TV show that was attempting to show the variety of English cheese on the market. Asking people on the street to name some English cheeses and most could name only two or three, which is not great! So I thought I'd try to invest a tiny amount of my energy into trying cheeses from around the British Isles that I might not have thought about trying before. My first one is Shropshire Blue cheese. It has a nice orange colour and has distinctive blue veins. It tastes creamy and has the bitter blue tang to it that stays in the mouth long after eating it. It's a great cheese to eat with food (like most cheese). I had mine cubed and dropped on to a plate with some salad leaves, ham and broccoli omelette and balsamic glaze. I drank a can of Pepsi Max with it but a nice wine would have been better. It is a cheese that will go well with other cheeses in case you are thinking of hosting a cheese party in your own mouth!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Photo Challenge: Autumn

I had a day off at the start of this week and took my kids out with a camera and asked them to take autumn photographs. I took my iPhone and did the same. These are my results. The kids photos were much better.

Monday, November 05, 2012

US Elections

It's very near the end of the race for the presidency and it seems to me catching headlines here and there over the last week that the encumbant president has the edge. However, I guess it all depends on who turns out to vote on the day.
I don't really have anything intelligent to say on the subject or otherwise, except that isn't it time for a female president?
One thing I find amusing is when they show the candidates going to the polling station to vote - who are they going to vote for? Their opponent? Can they vote for themselves? If they can, it doesn't quite feel right.
Another thing is when the winner on the podium thanks his opponent. And 24 hours before was slagging them off. That's just two-faced!
I am probably not a very good voter, I just go with gut instinct and ignore all the hype and words and promises. I know once they're in power they'll try to do whatever they like and the opposition will be opposed. Best that can be hoped for is that things aren't screwed up any more than they are and that the average person on the street can get by without feeling they are losing money everyday. I think the word is hope.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Bonfire night

There is a tradition of celebrating the day Guy Fawkes attempted and failed to blow up parliament with gunpowder. The 5th November is traditionally bonfire night in the UK but it has become less common for households to have their own bonfire parties. Instead many people attempt mass firework demonstrations run by local companies or community groups. I remember as a kid always having our own fireworks, they were more a demonstration of coloured smoke than today's fireworks. Nothing like the fireworks of todays professional displays.

The big local demonstrations of today usually fall on weekend nights. This evening we had some friends over and went to a local display. The fireworks were great, some screamed, some exploded with massive bangs and some made a type of camp noise that was very amusing.