lnr: (Default)

Really productive week at work - I'm training my colleague Julia up so she can cover the most of the postmaster parts of my role once I'm on maternity leave, which is quite rewarding, but John and I also managed to get a new server up and installed and running as a replacement for the very elderly hardware which was doing our virus scanning and giving off repeated temperature warnings from the CPU whenever it had any mail to process! Plus I've made a bit of progress on some documentation which isn't even really my area but has become my problem which is also good - though it'll be more satisfying when it's finished.

At home by contrast it's been a pretty lazy week - watching Sherlock (the BBC version) and The Inbetweeners (series 3) on rental from Lovefilm, playing some more Minecraft and so on. I pre-ordered the new XCom game online and got a free copy of Civ V with it, which led to some amusement (but not much progress) on evening - and having spent all night downloading it I've spent this morning playing the XCom game. It's definitely quite good fun :) Whether it's 30 quid and 12GB of download worth we'll have to see. No baking this week.

Now 19 weeks pregnant and this week's vegetable is a giant tomato - well, it says "large tomato" but I've never seen one which is 15cm across. I'm pretty sure I may have actually felt the baby move now too! Not enough for Mike to feel yet. Just over a week until the next scan! With a birthday ceilidh for a friend to look forward to in the meantime. While bump is getting quite a bit bigger it's not slowing me down much yet and I don't intend to let it stop me! Weight gain suggestions from the US have now been plotted on a graph and my gain so far is nicely between the upper and lower suggested amounts so far. Still eating sensibly (she says while tucking into an apple :)

In today's fit of doing something useful though I rang our mortgage provider up to arrange a new deal for when our current fixed rate runs out in December - to make sure we don't default to their standard variable rate. Rather bemused to note that they do a quick valuation of your property themselves using a computer model and that took about £14K off the expected value of our house - meaning we no longer had a good enough Loan to Value for the deal we wanted. Turns out that if you ask they can do a more complicated version though, which they do warn you could be even worse. Provided it gets a high enough confidence score they can use that instead - and in our case it did - undoing the £14K reduction and adding a further £25 on top! Given it makes 0.3% difference in the available rates it was worth asking, but I do wonder how many people just believe the first computer and don't even ask!

You can catch up on any ranting I make midweek either on Facebook or twitter. I won't repeat my thoughts on bad cycle facilities or union action here.

Busy times

Sep. 3rd, 2011 07:22 pm
lnr: (Default)

Mike and I have been busy for the last few weeks, mostly in getting a new kitchen installed. It's now all finished and we *love* it.

finished kitchen

Click through for before and during photos and more of the finished result

Now it's all done though we can relax and prepare for our holiday later in September: walking the West Highland Way. So today we made the most of the lovely weather and went out for a walk, which at 16.6 miles turned out a bit further than we'd originally intended. We had a lovely time though.

Walk to Barrington at EveryTrail

lnr: (Default)

Had all the family visiting at the weekend (except John, who was off in Berlin getting very drunk any staying up til 10am with his mates). Takeaway curry and birthday/housewarming presents on Friday night. Then a nice chilled Saturday with the farmer's market in the village, pub lunch, a walk on the Magog Downs (while Mum, Dave and Emily went shopping in town), and a party in the evening with a rather *fabulous* buffet and cocktails. Steph and Dave made us breakfast on Sunday and Mike and I cooked a proper Sunday lunch while everyone had a go on wii music. It was a lovely weekend, even if we are now completely knackered. The house is now quite throughly warmed (we turned the heating up quite high all weekend give how cold it was outside) and contains many more vases and cushions and wine glasses then it used to.

Then an adventure on the way to work this morning: I parked up outside the Co-op while buying breakfast, and I dropped the bike as I unlocked it, and it landed hard on the derailleur side. The chain had come off the rear sprockets so I put it back on and turned the pedals until it settled back into gear. Poked stuff and it looked vaguely OK so I set off again for work. Then I thought I'd best see if I could change gear OK. There was a large thunk and my rear wheel locked solid and I didn't quite fall off but skidded to a stop. Stopped to look (and a nice chap who was just parking up had a look too). Seems I'd snapped the rear hanger (the bit the derailleur attaches to), and the derailleur had spun round and lodged itself in the wheel, above the sprokets, having bent the mudguard in the process. Here's me thinking "arse, can't weld aluminium, OMG am I going to have to buy a new frame??!?", because the lug had snapped clear through.

Turns out that bit is "fail safe" and replaceable for 15 quid. I presume by fail safe they mean "if you damage me a cheap part breaks off and you can replace it without having to replace the entire frame", since jamming the back wheel and trashing it in the process is not what people would usually call "safe". Actually I think the wheel is surprisingly OK and just needs a bit of trueing. But I may need a new rear mech, and will need a new mudguard, so it may turn out to be fairly expensive. Which is a shame when I've just decided that I *will* sell the bike I won in the raffle, and put the money towards staying in a posh hotel in Oxford for a couple of nights in January (instead of the cheap one we would normally have gone for). But hey, I do have a couple of people interested, and it's not the end of the world, and I didn't even fall off, so it could all be much worse.

I have removed my bike lights from my bike in case they can't fix it today. That way once I've got the bus or train home tonight I can fit them on my spare so I have something to ride in the meantime. It's a shame I didn't have a camera handy to take a picture of the mess though!

Edit: They rescued the mudguard, but £57.95 got me the replacement bit and a new rear mech, new chain by the look of it too, and the labour and re-truing of the wheel. A fair whack but much better than a whole new bike, and on the other hand I've just found a promotion that gets me 60 quid off the hotel room for January if I pay now rather than then, so it's all worked out quite well really.

lnr: (Default)

internet... )

But it works, hurrah!

In other house news we have all settled in, we have a fridge, and it has lots of food in, which is nice. And not having a TV aerial but having a satellite dish instead we've splashed out on a FreeSat box that can do HD, and it's very shiny. Just in time for me to watch the dancing and for us to watch the footy on Tuesday and the first two episodes of the new season of heroes last night. Being back at work is tiring, but the 4.5 mile commute is surprisingly pleasant given it's along Trumpington Road. And the removal men came and collected their boxes from the garden this week just in time to stop them going soggy in the rain. We still need curtains, but otherwise we're pretty much settled. And the big hippy scarves are making good temporary ones in the bedroom. I knew the was a reason I had so many safety pins. All in all life is good.

lnr: (Default)

Thankyou so much for the advice on what to expect with the packing and moving. It was very helpful, and it all went smoothly. Though you were all wrong on one point: they drank coffee not tea!

We had one chap to pack on Tuesday, and he was rather embarrassed not to have brought enough small boxes to pack the books: I think we've got much crockery, glasses and plates crammed into smallish cupboards than we expected. So the packed the books into big plastic crates on the morning of the move instead. They arrived at 8, and we were out of the house by 10:30 or so, and they'd finished unloading by about 1pm just as it started to rain.

By teatime we'd unpacked apart from half a crate of books and 2 boxes in the kitchen. So far nothing broken. We caught the train into town and finished the hoovering and cleaning and then Kevin came and inspected and took meter readings and gave us a large cheque for the deposit and the unused rent up to 17th October. And Becky kindly gave us a lift with the mop and hoover and got to see the house (with its large pile of flattened boxes in the middle of the living room. She kindly dropped us again by Shelford station so we could have dinner at Zara, which is a rather posh indian in the old station building. Very very tasty food, we'll definitely be back.

A fairly early night meant we were awake bright and early this morning, and we've finally got the computers put back together in our rather snug study. They're both working fine, and when we plugged in the ADSL modem it turns out AOL are more efficient than they advertise, as it's working fine. And since it's now in the same room as the computers we're on wires rather than wireless and feeling a little faster as a result. Sorted.

Squeeeeee! We like our new house. Fridge is supposed to arrive today and then we can go buy some food for it.

Those of you who are LJ friends of mine can find updated contact details in my original post, which is also linked from my Memories. If anyone else wants to know drop me an email (lnr@livejournal.com).

lnr: (Default)

Has anyone reading this moved house and used the removal firm to do the packing as well as the moving? I've never done this before, and I wonder is there anything I need to do before the packers arrive on Tuesday? And what will they leave out for us until the move itself on Wednesday?


Oh yes, and we won't have a car.

-- more --

Sep. 19th, 2008 07:17 pm
lnr: (Default)

After a week of much stress and 7 calls by me to HSBC I was told on the last call about 2:30pm that it still wasn't sorted but that yet another person was looking at it as a priority and they would let me and my solicitor know. I almost despaired: the vendor had a place lined up provided she could exchange *today*, so she could go sign the contract and pick up the keys. 5 minutes later my solicitor calls, and after him getting rather cross at them over the phone earlier in the day they have now faxed him the go ahead. In fact they had probably already faxed him at the point in time where I was on the phone trying to find out what was going on.

We exchange. Completion date is the 23rd, same as it always was. I ring my removal firm and they can still do the packing on the 23rd and the move on the 24th as originally planned. I'm am a) delighted b) completely gobsmacked. It just seems so surreal to have all this stress for a whole week and still end up exactly where we were supposed to be in the first place.

We will shortly be going to the pub, but first I'm going to crack open the tiny bottle of bubbly in the fridge and phone my mum.

And they still haven't called me back.

House saga

Sep. 17th, 2008 10:42 pm
lnr: (Default)

HSBC haven't got back to me in time, despite me ringing again today, so there's no way we can exchange on the 23rd or 24th, and hence we can't move on the 24th and won't be there on the 25th, so I've emailed to cancel our removal van (for now) and try and arrange that our fridge can be delivered on a later date instead. And having done these things I feel a lot better, especially as Kevin the landlord has said he really doesn't mind at all when we move in and Peter moves out so long as he can come and read the meter on the day. Thankyou Kevin, you have made me a lot less stressed. If they get it sorted tomorrow or Friday we might be able to move out on the 25th or 26th, which means Peter can move in pretty much as planned. If not we're fairly sure we can come up with contingency plans. The world has not ended.

I wonder if they'll ring me back tomorrow? - Edit: ha! They didn't even have a note on my file that they were supposed to call me back.

Grr Argh

Sep. 16th, 2008 10:25 am
lnr: (Default)

Apparently the vendor did agree to amend that clause in the contract, so we've gone back to the original terms and conditions. It seems the delay in exchange is actually because HSBC hasn't answered a letter which they received from my solicitor on 6th September, which asks them to confirm that a) they're happy with the house's concrete construction and the remedial works which have added the brick skin and b) they're aware that the sale is of only part of the original property (ie that they know the garden was already sold off to someone else). So yesterday I rang them to chase this up, and point out we were completing in just over a week and they said they'd sort it out as soon as possible and get back to me.

Later yesterday the vendor contacted me to let me know she needs at least a week between exchange and completion. Which means we need these answers from HSBC by *today* - as soon as they say "yes, go ahead" we can exchange. And if we don't get them today then we'll have to move the completion date, because she won't commit to a rental property until we've exchanged and it'll take a week to do the references and so on (apparently). Which is a complete bloody nuisance since we've already committed to moving out, booked a removal firm, allowed our landlord to re-let the property for the end of the week, ordered a fridge to be delivered to the new house and so on.

So today I rang HSBC to try and let them know it's even more urgent than I said yesterday. All the chap I spoke to would say is that someone else is looking into it and will get back to me as soon as possible, and couldn't put me in contact with this person directly or give me any time-scale for how long it's going to take. I don't know if he's even going to pass on the extra urgency, but I was too flustered to make sure.

Originally I was cross at the vendor for not changing the clause, and this turns out to have been unfair, and I was cross at them for not saying originally that they needed longer between exchange and completion than we suggested: I'd have been quite happy to go for longer myself! Now I'm actually cross at HSBC again for adding more unnecessary delays, because they weren't even looking at the question until I rang them yesterday, cross at my solicitor for not allowing enough time for HSBC to be useless in and cross at myself for letting things get into this state. I should never have tried to organise the move for so soon after the original completion date anyway, I was just trying to save a bit of overlap rent, especially since Peter's move date to Cambridge seemed to coincide so well.

Hopefully we'll get it sorted today, if not and we get it sorted tomorrow it's just about still OK, since we weren't going to move out until the day after completion anyway, so could still be out of the house as intended. If not I end up messing my landlord about and messing Peter about or putting our stuff in storage and trying to live in a B&B.


P.S.: thanks for all your kind words on my last post.

lnr: (Default)

The standard terms and condition of sale (fourth edition) as published by the Law Society say:

5. Pending Completion
5.1 Responsibility for property
5.1.1 The seller will transfer the property in the same physical state as
it was at the date of the contract (except for fair wear and tear), which
means that the seller retains the risk until completion.
5.1.2 If at any time before completion the physical state of the property 
makes it sustainable for its purpose at the date of the contract: a) the 
buyer may rescind the contract b) the seller may rescind the contract 
where the property has become unusable for that purpose as a result of 
damage against which the seller could not reasonably have insured, or 
which it is not legally possible for the seller to make good.

Our contract for buying our house says it incorporates these standard terms and conditions, but adds:

3) The Standard Conditions of Sale shall be amended as follows:
i) Standard conditions 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 shall not apply and the following 
condition shall be substituted: if the Property is destroyed or damaged 
prior to actual completion and the proceeds of any insurance policy 
effected by the Buyer are reduced by reason of the existence of any 
policy of effected by the Seller the purchase price of the Property shall 
be abated by the amount of the reduction but this special condition shall 
not apply if the proceeds of the Seller's policy are applied towards the 
reinstatement of the Property pursuant to any statutory or contractual 

The latter means that if the house were to burn down between exchange and completion, and our insurance refused to pay out because their insurance existed, they'd reduce the price of the burning hole in the ground from 200K to 125K. But we'd still be obliged to buy it at this new price, and somehow persuade our mortgage company they still wanted to not only lend us the money to buy the wreck but also the money to rebuild the house on it. Our solicitor being sceptical of the generosity of mortgage companies suggested that we insist that they remove this clause, and that if the wouldn't do so we will exchange and complete instead on the same day.

We expected to exchange today, if they'd remove the clause, and hadn't heard anything until a letter in today's post setting out the amount we need to transfer to the solicitor on the 22nd for exchange and completion on the 23rd. Which means we have to make all the remaining preparations for the move in the full knowledge that there's still no binding contract on us to buy or the seller to sell. Which is incredibly frustrating given our landlord wants to be able to advertise the place, and a potential new tenant who was keen to move in pretty immediately after we move out is left without any guarantee the place is going to be available. Argh.

And the stupid thing is I should have really expected it, and not be so bowled over by it today at all, but somehow I'd let myself assume all would go according to the most convenient plan. Sometimes I could do to be a bit less optimistic. I just wish the solicitor had rung or mailed us to confirm that the earlier exchange date definitely wasn't on.

Some things

Sep. 6th, 2008 10:31 am
lnr: (Default)

We went on a holiday. There are maps (day one, day two, day three, day four). We went up and down hills, visited Beeston Castle and a lake, ate lots of big breakfasts and nice dinners and very little in the way of lunch and also before cycling had a nice explore of Chester which has walls all the way round and roman ruins and a cathedral and weird shopping streets where there's a second level of shops as a gallery above the first. It didn't rain and it wasn't too hot and we had no injuries and only one puncture. Very much a success. There will be photos of some of it at some point.

We went to see our solicitor, and signed things and made a couple of decisions, then we checked with the vendor and now we have an exchange date (12th September) and a completion date (23rd September) and I'm busy getting removal and insurance quotes and it's all very exciting. Eek! (in a good way).

Last night it absolutely tipped it down. We were very impressed and stopped the DVD we were watching to open the back door and look at it properly, then we went upstairs to listen to it on the roof and coming through the skylights into the bathroom, and then we thought sod it and put on swimming costumes and went outside and splashed about in it in the dark. It was *brilliant*, if completely mad. Ace.

lnr: (me and mike)

I've wittered about it a bit in assorted comments and in person to a few people, so I figure I might as well mention it here. Mike and I have had an offer accepted on a house in Great Shelford. No idea how long it'll take to get to exchange (at this rate forever, we've been waiting a week for the mortgage application paperwork to arrive, and I've been told today they only posted it yesterday!) and until then I'm not counting my chickens, but still, we're cautiously excited.

I'd link you to the details but they've already pulled them from rightmove. 3 bedrooms. Concrete construction but very recently converted with a brick skin and cavity insulation with a 10 year guarantee. Very good decorative order throughout. 5 minutes from the station, but within cycle commuting distance for both of us. And with nice views over fields. The only snag is not enough garden and a new house going up next door, but you can't have everything.

If the paperwork doesn't arrive tomorrow though I think I will probably explode.


Jul. 14th, 2007 06:11 pm
lnr: (flowers)

On Friday when I got home from work I pulled up the row of dead leylandii in our front garden. Today we went to homebase, bought a spade, shears, secateurs, gardening gloves and some plants both for indoors and out and brought them home by bike. This afternoon we attacked the garden with the implements in order to make room for the plants, and this is the result:

Front garden Front garden
This is the "after" shot. We foolishly forgot to take one of what it looked like before!
Pile of wood Pile of wood
In addition to this heap of dead leylandii, rosebush and random woody shrub we also filled the green wheely bin

PS: if anyone wants the wood, perhaps as firewood, feel free to come and collect. Contact details in memories.

PPS: Managed to find the photos the landlord took last winter when trying to let the house, and they included these two "before" photos. It had all grown a fair bit since then, although we had already hacked a fair bit off about a month ago.

Before! Before

lnr: (flowers)

My mum rang with sad news early on Sunday afternoon: the younger son of some of their best and oldest friends has died, deliberately walked under a train. Upsetting even though I've not seem him since he was about 10. We used to go round and play with their Castle Greyskull. I'm terribly terribly sad for his parents and brother though. I know mum and dad will be going to the funeral even if it means cancelling their holiday.

It somehow seems a bit wrong after that to say that in fact mostly I've had a lovely weekend. Lots of TV and DVD watching (7 ages of rock, a bit of glasto, Buffy and Clerks I and II), some good food, half a jigsaw, lots of reading, and just hanging out with Mike. And Richard popped round on Sunday afternoon to drop some books off and stayed for tea and cake. Thanks Janet, the cake is lovely!

This morning I'm working from home, cursing how slow the connection to work is (much slower than to LJ for instance, but this may be because I'm trying to do more stuff over it), waiting for Argos to turn up with a table and chairs. Not the ones we originally ordered but a set that actually looks nicer, and was only close in price to the original one due to be reduced to half price. They've got about another hour to turn up in, so I'm not holding my breath, but despite messing us about for a while on this one I've never had Argos actually fail to turn up on a day they've said they'll deliver. <fingers crossed>

lnr: (books)

I'd be really grateful to anyone who would like to help loading or unloading the van when we move house on Saturday. We should be ready to start at Arden Road at about 9am. If you want to come and help later give me a ring on the day. Dinner is on offer to able assistants!

lnr: (Default)

  • 4 medium boxes fiction books
  • All boxes and empty bookcases and CD racks moved out to garage
  • 1 medium box school fiction (and Enid Blyton)
  • 1 medium box music and magazines and filing.
  • 1 plastic crate booze

Having filed all the paperwork on Friday made it much easier to pack, though I did spend a couple of hours going through my old MSc notes. In the end I threw away anything that wasn't an assignment, leaving 2 A4 folders and 2 notebooks, much improved. All rubbish so generated is now filling the green bin. And I've also been through the airing cupboard and sorted the sheets and towels and moved mine into some of the space cleared in my room, ready for the next batch of packing. And I've made a start on writing moving cards.

That's all the medium boxes (10) full. And the small boxes (6) were all filled together, there are 8 empty big boxes left, and then I might need to resort to the odd shaped ones in the garage left from when we moved here. Buying a packing kit was definitely worth it, even if it cost a fair bit and the book boxes are a bit on the heavy side.

We're counting down in days now. Only 12 days left in this house.

Also this weekend watched more Dungeons and Dragons on Friday, did some shopping and then had lunch while watching the football at the Burleigh Arms on Saturday, and had a nice roast for lunch on Sunday.

More boxes

Feb. 28th, 2007 10:30 pm
lnr: (floppy-smile)

Yesterday and today:

  • Kitchen: medium box of plates and saucers and coffee cups
  • Kitchen: medium box of fragile stuff: nice wine glasses, decanter, vases, cafetiere, nice bowls
  • Study: big box, entirely filled with wool, plus my knitting needle and crochet hook cases, and a bag of scarves and feather boas which just fit in the top

In addition I've cleared all but the living and the dead computers from the study here, herded everything in the living room apart from the books into one place so as not to forget anything, and brought the paperwork upstairs to file and sort into house-things (staying) and me-things (coming along).

That means pretty much everything else that needs sorting out is in my room. It looks like a bombsite.


Feb. 25th, 2007 10:28 pm
lnr: (books)

  • Kitchen: big box assorted mixing bowls, cake tins, roasting tins, kettle and toaster, etc
  • Kitchen: medium box mugs and everyday glasses
  • Living room: 3 small boxes CDs
  • Living room: 1 small box vinyl, tapes, computer disks
  • Living room: 2 small boxes DVDs and videos
  • Study: 1 medium box books: non-fiction and comics

Obviously there's still a long way to go, but a fair bit of it is at least already partially sorted out, if not yet packed. One free weekend remaining, then a weekend away for my sister's hen night, then 2 days off in the week before the move. I can see why people get professional movers to do the packing as well as moving!

lnr: (books)

As some of you already know I'm moving out of Arden Road on 17th of March (3 weeks on Saturday). I was wondering if anyone would like to help us move? It's only across town to the Grafton Centre area. Ideally we need someone to hire and drive a van for us for the day, and help carry boxes and furniture. Obviously we'll refund the van hire and petrol, but dinner will also be included, and a bottle of whisky or preferred nice present.

If anyone else wants to help lugging boxes there's dinner on offer for them too. Probably takeaway of some sort.

Thanks in advance!

lnr: (cards)

... but I'd rather stay up a bit longer and write up the weekend.

Friday night my dad was staying over, although since he was coming after work Mike and I had time to watch another disk worth of Buffy first. I'd been working from home so I'd had home made chilli on the stove since lunchtime, the sort with big lumps of beef rather than mince, and it was lovely if I do say so myself. Dad and I polished off a bottle of chilean red between us, and spent the evening chatting, about work and planes and nonsense.

On Saturday we had to be up bright and early (well, 7:15 alarm) to get to Stansted in time to meet the 8:25 from Belfast. See my mum had a bright idea and decided to arrange a mystery tour for my Grandad for his Christmas present. All he knew was what time to be at Belfast airport on Saturday morning - even the boarding card was in a sealed envelope which he wasn't to open until he got to the airport. He said he'd been guessing a flight to Leeds, where my parents live. So we got to Stansted, intending to get Mike to meet him with a sign at the gate to prolong the surprise, since he hasn't met Mike before. We were foiled however by the entrance to the terminal from the carparks being closed, because someone had been smoking under the detector. Eventually we got in, but when dad and I spotted Grandad we couldn't hide quickly enough before being spotted ourselves. Still, he seemed tickled pink by the whole thing.

With some time to kill we had breakfast at the airport, before heading back up the M11. As we turned off at Duxford Grandad noticed the large hanger, and we commented it was for the Imperial War Museum and asked "do you want to go?" - "oh, that would be nice" says Grandad, not knowing that this was the intended destination anyway. Both him and my dad are basically plane nuts, and they had a great day together doing the whole museum, and Mike and I had fun too, even if we were flagging a bit by the end. We arrived just after opening at 10 and didn't leave until they were chucking people out at 4, and only stopped for about 45 mins for sausage and chips and beans for lunch in the runway restaurant. By this point we were definitely glad for a sit down and a rest. I guess I hadn't really considered that we'd been on our feet for 5 hours, so it's not really surprising they were getting a bit tired! I think I might at a push be able to recognise a spitfire now anyway. And if you point me at one I can tell you if it's an early or late model :-)

Next stop was the pub, and we headed to the John Barleycorn in Duxford village, since it was one of the readers recommendations in the good pub guide. And there we sat and chatted for a while, since we had some time to kill before grandad had to be back at Stansted for the flight home. Lots of anecdotes followed - flying related, and related to my Grandad's various jobs working on an oil ship as it was transported across the atlantic, and later working in a shipyard. Dad was keeping an eye on the time, but misread his watch at one point, and when I glanced at mine and spotted it was 7pm we left in rather a hurry. The flight home was at 7:45 and the gate was due to close at 7:20. So we pegged it back down the motorway in the rain, at a rather alarming and speed limit breaking pace, arriving just on the dot and dropping him outside. But when we'd hung around for 10-15 minutes just to be sure he rang to say he'd just made it.

Dad dropped us back home for a very lazy evening, and headed straight back out for the drive back up to Leeds, but I think both him and his dad had had a brilliant day, and it was definitely a stroke of genius of my mum's to think of it. Mike and I briefly considered trying to join the party at Relativity, but decided we were just too tired, which was demonstrated by us barely managing to keep our eyes open over a rather impromtu dinner. So we got an early night and a nice long lie-in reading in the morning - only slightly interrupted by the alarm on my phone going off again at 7:15. I'm always forgetting to turn it back off.

We got up around lunchtime and took a leisurely walk in the warm sunshine over to the shops to buy some lunch - sandwiches and scotch eggs and pasta salad and nice cheesy bread, and then just crashed out on the bed in the sunshine for a bit longer, before Mike headed off to do some shopping and I headed round to Jack's to play some bridge with him and Ross and Naath.

I arrived and immediately had to borrow Jack's puncture repair kit and tools, as a bit of flint from the short cut into his little cul-de-sac had gone straight through my tire so you could hear the air escaping and it was completely flat within 200 yards. Still, it only took 15 mins or so to fix, and by then we'd realised Naath wasn't going to make it and drafted Ian in instead, for a pleasant afternoon. I partnered Jack, and Ian partnered Ross, and despite a few minor errors and a few requests for recaps on the local conventions we ended up at the end of 2 rubbers with only 100 points between us, although we sneaked in one last hand which widened the gap a little more, leaving Jack and I just ahead of the other two. Though it would have been a very satisfactory afternoon even if we'd lost.

Cycling home showed my repair seemed to be holding, but I think I need to have another look at it tomorrow. I've got odd allen key fixings for the wheels, since I didn't want to quick release ones it came with, and I'm not quite used to them and not sure if I've managed to get it back on quite central - it's definitely rubbing on the brakes on one side. It'll probably make more sense in daylight.

Looking forward to getting the tenancy agreement for our house signed and sealed on Tuesday. Then we've got a plan to have a picnic in my room to celebrate some famous saint on Wednesday, and there's something on next weekend for Rae's birthday, though I'm not quite sure what. It should be another good week.

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