Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas surprise!

Well here I am at the end of a very hectic day! This morning I travelled with my father over the Dartford River crossings and into Essex to pay a visit to the Air Gun Centre near Southend On Sea. The idea was to upgrade my Weihrauch HW97 Spring action air rifle to a PCP, (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) to increase the power and accuracy, (as well as enjoyment of use,) and to attempt to take out a few more bunnies in the new year that are currently ripping our newly planted trees apart. What a helpful bunch of people in that place. Job done! I returned hom minus my HW97 but with the aquisition of a beautiful new HW100.

Now to the Christmas surprise. I had my suspicions for part of it. In the summer, I reported going on the London Eye with Fleur and we commented then on how great a night flight would be. Well, she went one better and we started the evening with a guided night time river cruise and then a night flight on the Eye. What a fantastic evening. The necessity of a very high ISO on film speed as things were moving and light was low resulted in these somewhat 'noisy' pictures but I think they capture the flavour of the evening.

First, setting off at dusk whilst enjoying our complimentary hot chocolate and cruising past Westminster Palace where the bell commonly known as 'Big Ben' resides.

Limit of navigation was Tower Bridge before the return trip.

Then onto the London Eye.

Soaring above the twinkling lights.

Then finally some Christmas light spotting and Hamleys shopping in Oxford Street and surrounding roads.

London was an interesting place to be this evening as there was frantic activity and hi tech equipment at every corner with sound companies testing sound things, lighting companies testing lighting things including projecting images right across the entire Shell building and barges laden with fireworks being pulled into place on the Thames. It did make us discuss and the current plans are to return to London tomorrow evening to see int he new year celebrations and fireworks displays. The only question remaining is what to do before then. We've tried to get tickets for a show but not possible without paying hundreds of pounds so it looks like we may resort to the Winter Wonderland fair at Hyde Park.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sales.... where?

OK so I decided this morning to sample the sales and hunt for some bargains. First stop, M&S for a shirt; none unless you like shirts that more clesely resemble pyjama tops. Nothing else worth buying was anywhere near the 'sale' racks so I hunted for a good quality speaker system that I can integrate my TV and laptop into in order to save having separate speakers for different jobs all round the boat. Having given up in the sales, I resorted to simply looking for the one I liked. Found it.... at the exact same time as a tall thin gentleman wearing knee high brown boots, a trench-coat and a cravate who was sporting several facial piercings and brandishing a wooden cane with a skull on the top also set eyes on it! "ahhh, that is it!" he declared to the entire store as I was examining the box, "cushtie - that's the one...." and he continued to tell me all about its virtues and the sound quality of said item in his friends flat, at a volume seemingly to demonstrate the 140 watts of power that the box proudly declared. In a desparate bid to reclaim my thoughts and solitude, I excused myself on the pretence of asking the sales assistant a question. No sooner had I turned my back, he picked it up and strode off with it towards the till queue. My father followed him convinced that he would abandon the item somewhere along his route. His eccentricity notwithstanding, blow me - he bought the jolly thing!! It was back to the hunt whilst musing on the fact that he looked just the sort to have come from a boat off the Thames!
Eventually I decided upon this little beauty!
A nice 'basey' sub woofer, 2 little speakers that are wall mountable and discreet, long enough cable for the desired connections, a little remote volume and base adjusting gizmo, 2 inputs, (one for TV and one for laptop,) enough power to fill my boat and bonus; no irritating little eccentrics in sight!
Now what prompted me to this purchase was my desire to 'organise' all my music on the laptop. Please can someone explain what the heck 'itunes' is all about? I had all my music organised in nice little folders - each CD had their own folder and name and multiple CD's from the same album were categorised in order. After an afternoon of exploring itunes, I now have Paul Potts in with Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, every other track in my TRex collection is Berceus, half of Libera are missing, (!) and Bruce Springsten stubbornly refuses to be added to my 'Library'.
Come to my boat, any music being played will be an interesting 'pick n mix' of just about anything now.
Tomorrow, I have my mystery Christmas present from Fleur. I would tell you about it tonight, but it's a mystery so I don't know. More on that later in the week.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Done for another year!

Do you realise, in just under another 525600 minutes it will be Christmas 2009!! Until then, it's done and gone for another year!

Christmas 2008 was good. Lots of great presentes including a Fresh Air Globe for the boat.

Today was a beautiful boxing day! The sun was warm and the sky was blue and cloudless but this did mean a drastic drop in temperatue! We decided to go off for a walk down to Sussex along the coast and over the seven sisters.
Spot the mountain goat - Simba off exploring having fun!
Tomorrow I have a day trip back to the boat! Well my brothers boat to be precise. We are driving back to the marina to spend the day with Steve and my neices on K2 before driving back south again in the evening! for the rest of the weekend and the continuation of my holiday!
I have something booked with Fleur down here for 30th December, (my Christmas present apparently,) although she won't tell me what it is! Possible plans also include a trip to London for new year's eve as well as catching up with friends and checking out the sales in Kingston!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas!

A quick Christmas day post to wish all readers and friends a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for 2009.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Finally broken up!

Well - that's it!
Let Christmas begin. I've finally broken up. A great last day of term today - the kids were super fun and I got some lovely presents. I have enough chocolate to last me a life time! My two wonderful colleagues in the Year 6 team clubbed together to buy me one of these:
It's awesome and really does flash in time with the beat of the music! Unfortunately I have something of a reputation of being a geek and as I also run the school discos - it seemed to fit and I love it!!
Tomorrow morning, Simba is booked into the grooming parlour at 9.00 so it will be an early start for me! At least he'll be out of the way so I can pack and get ready to leave for London on Sunday.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Feeling festive!

OK, I'm now just beginning to feel 'Christmassy'! Spent much of today writing Christmas cards and wrapping presents. As my online friends list is growing rapidly, I took out a membership subscription to Blue Mountain which has enabled me to send electronic cards to the many friends I have who I won't see and don't have an address as they live on their boats but to whom I still wish to acknowledge at Christmas.
Against my better decision, I pulled out the Christmas lights from the 'attic', (Under my bed in the back cabin!) One set was duely binned but 2 sets of LED lights work and so I have festooned Khayamanzi for the season.

Several people have also decorated their boats for the season and decoration include cut out wooden santa on his sleigh lit up with Christmas lights as well as net lights and twinkling strings - all very pretty, especially as it's so dark out here!
This time next week, I should be down south for Christmas.
Since installing my sofa last half term, the cushions have constantly kept sliding off. John came in today for dinner and noticed immediately that the sofa was tilting forward. A few blocks of kindling wood under the front legs and the problem seems solved with the sofa feeling so much more comfortable!
Ah, well - into the last hectic week of school before we break up.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Still alive but only just....

OK, a quick post this evening just so that people know I'm still alive. Every single evening last week involved an evening or after school late event including two late evening concerts and the school discos last night which resulted in me finally arriving home at about 10.15pm. This weekend was hoped to be a lazy weekend to catch up but of course that doesn't happen as time rapidly runs out and my 'rushing around' gets quicker as I realise that I'm not going to get my weekend chores completed. Well, I haven't and so tomorrow I have to carry a load over! I need to replace some ballast as since moving my book case in the last half term holiday, the boat has started listing too much and I think a little ballast re shuffle might do the trick. I also have to start writing Christmas cards and wrapping presents tomorrow - or at least get the ones done that I need for school. I break up at the end of the week and next Saturday evening is our marina Christmas meal - over 70 of us have taken over the function room of a local pub so it should be good. I plan to travel down south for Christmas next Sunday, ( a week tomorrow).

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A wintery scene!

Well, this is what I woke up to this morning! Completely frozen in with ice almost half an inch thick in places...
Temperatures dipped to minus 5.5 degrees over night and a thick frost looked almost like snow. The ice hasn't melted all day in fact and temperatures are dropping again this evening. One casulty of the treachorous black ice down th elane was a Vauxhall Frontera - one of my neighbours in the marina who walked up and asked if I could pull him out of a ditch. When I arrived, he was well and truely in the ditch and I didn't think I would ever get him out but my faithful old Shogun made light work of it much to everyones relief!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

2 weeks to go....

Christmas seems to be everywhere and people all around are 'gearing up' for it despite a gloomy economy! I have 2 weeks to go before term ends and I can start thinking seriously about Christmas. This week, I have 2 evening performances of our Christmas whole school production and the discos to run on Friday. The following week are more performances and attempting to keep the kids under some sort of control - or as much as 35 excited 11 year olds can be at this time of year!

Today was 'pump out' day as well as getting another 3 bags of coal as the temperature is set to drop once more.

My water pump stopped working during the week. The pressure has been dropping for some time but this past week it finally gave up the ghost and no water cam out at all! Quite a problem as it meant I had no toilet, shower, taps or anything! A hasty phone call to John and the following day it was sorted and better than it ever has been! He's a star. Not only did he identify that the pressure switch had given up and replaced it for me but he also installed an accumulator tank for me. My shower is now a power shower and I have consistent high pressure water consistently - I'm so chuffed!

A beautiful day today with clear blue skies and warm sunshine as I finished planting the last of the daffodils, moved a few trees, (only young ones!) and sorted the boat. Now we're paying for it as the water has had to be turned off over night due to the forecast of temperatures dropping to between -3 and -6 degrees!

Last week saw me go down with quite a nasty lurgy for a while! I have felt shivery and achy and clearly had a touch of something horrid. I'm recovering now but it has still left me feeling a bit tired. I have to say that for the last year or so, I have been taking vitamin C supplements on the recommendation of my father and they certainly help me to shake things off quickly.