lnr: (Icknield Way)

Last year Mike and I went away for the weekend nearest Valentine's Day, and had a lovely time in Stamford. Valentine's Day happens to mark the anniversary of when we got engaged, which makes it a little extra nice to celebrate it - but generally if you go out you end up with over-priced set meals which can often be disappointing - so we're happy to time shift it a bit. This year we also decided that while it would be nice to go away it wouldn't be too wise to go very *far* away this close to my due date. So instead Mike took Friday off work and we had an early weekend in the far off city of Cambridge :)

We actually had a nice quiet morning pottering round the house, and I did a bit of gardening too, then we headed into town on the bus and checked into our hotel - The Varsity Hotel and Spa on Thompson's Lane - which it turns out had upgraded our room, to a really rather enormous one with a lovely big bathroom and great views out on two sides across the roofs of Cambridge.

Bedroom Bathroom

We decided to make the most of the nice evening, and headed out for a touristy walk around the backs and through town, taking in bits of Trinity and Kings, and the Corpus Clock. Then we filled the big bath with *all* the bubbles (a foot deep in bubbles alone!) before heading out to dinner in the restaurant which is associated with the spa/hotel. It calls itself the River Bar Steakhouse and Grill, and definitely specialises in steak - which Mike enjoyed. I went for a pretty decent venison and ale pie instead, which at least had good pastry even if it was still technically stew in a bowl with a lid. We didn't have room for pudding - but did have a box of chocs back in the room which made up for it :)

Trinity in the evening sun Kings just after dusk

Saturday morning after a lie in we had a lovely big cooked breakfast, and then headed out for another nice walk. It was a really spring-like morning, and heading along the river was lovely - though crowded with other walkers, cyclists, rowing coaches and joggers - the river itself was busy too. All very photogenic. Then we had a bit of a potter round the shops before heading to the Fitzwilliam Museum to continue being tourists for a little longer. Despite having lived in/near Cambridge for just over 14 years it's the first time I've visited! We skipped through the Egypt/Rome/Greece exhibits fairly quickly as Mike had seen them before (with my dad, while mum and I shopped for wedding dresses), and were perhaps a bit underwhelmed by the room full of European/Japanese pottery and most of the galleries of paintings, but then there was a room full of pottery, sculpture and even some jewellry, including a couple of Barbara Hepworths and suddenly I was much more engaged. And the last room we visited with an exhibition of contemporary Chinese pottery just blew me away: China's White Gold.

Our last stop before heading home was Brown's - for a rather lovely afternoon tea. Finger sandwiches, scones with jam and cream still warm from the oven, and a decent little selection of cakes too. Lovely. We've had a really nice time, and all well within 10 miles of home. Recommended!

More photos from the weekend can be found over on Facebook (public link).

lnr: (Wedding)

We got married, and we're blissfully happy about it :)

OK, so that's the very short version. The slightly longer version is that we had an absolutely fabulous day. My dress and hair and flowers were stunning, and couldn't help but make me feel people weren't just being nice when they said I looked gorgeous, and Mike looked lovely too. The only cloud on the day was that Mike's mum Gina was very unwell in the morning and missed the ceremony, and that will always seem a little sad, but thankfully she was well enough to join us later, because I'd hate for her to have missed it all.

The ceremony was moving, Janet read a passage from Captain Corelli's Mandolin and Rae most of a poem by W H Auden, and both were absolutely lovely. The registrar was great, and even had a tissue on hand for Mike, and hopefully everyone enjoyed the music as much as we enjoyed choosing it - the theme from the Princess Bride for the entrance and The Darkness with I Believe In A Thing Called Love for the exit.

The weather held long enough for a lovely reception with all our friends and family in Old Court, and hopefully not too much of that was taken up by the formal photographs. It then proceeded to tip it down during the wedding breakfast, but in the splendour of the Old Hall we didn't care except for the quick dash across the courtyard to the loos. The food was lovely, the company even better, and the speeches were good and not too long.

And after dinner there was drinking and dancing in the Old Kitchens (we were in the Old part of college all day :) and a buffet back in the hall for any of those who had room. We had our first dance to Everybody Needs Somebody To Love, which was great fun, and I think it has to be about the only wedding disco over where I've seen not just moshing and slam dancing but an actual circle pit. We rocked. But also rolled and grooved as well, with hopefully a bit of something for nearly everyone.

Everybody I've spoken to since says they had a lovely time, but it can't possibly be as much fun as we did, and they can't possibly have been as happy. Hopefully the official photos will be available fairly soon, but until then I'm relying on seeing those of family and friends on Facebook. I can't sensibly link to those here but I'll ask permission to put a few on Flickr. If you've any photos you took on the day I'd love to see them! We'll tell you all about the honeymoon and post lots of photos of our own in due course. Suffice to say we've had a lovely time in Italy too!

Thanks so much to not only everyone who came and made it such a special day but to all those who sent good wishes in any way shape or form. They're all very much appreciated.

The readings )

Hen night

Aug. 23rd, 2010 10:59 am
lnr: (Default)

First of all I just want to say a huge thanks to Emily for organising it. I had a fabulous time and was pretty much completely in the dark the whole way through. Perfect :)

Read more... )

I did get a couple of pictures on the digital camera early on, though it wouldn't fit in the handbag along with the disposable one in the evening so you'll have to wait for the rest. They're over on Facebook but you should be able to see them.

lnr: (Default)

I'm hopeless about writing about things as they happen, but there've been a few things this week that have been ace enough I want to make a note of them.

Tuesday night was the night of the Leonids meteor shower. The peak was supposed to be around 2am, but no way were we going to stay up that late. So after dinner we wrapped up warm and headed out up the hill to Gog Magog down with binoculars and a blanket. It was clouding up a little, and we only saw three meteors between us, but it was still a lovely evening, and so nice to be up there on our own in the dark. The wind was funny though: cycling up the hill was much easier than usual and instead of free-wheeling back down at a vast pace we actually had to pedal! Fab.

Thursday was my birthday, and I had a lovely day. Opening presents in bed is always fun, even if you only have 10-15 minutes before Mike really has to get up and leave for work. Dropping the lid of a le creuset paninni press/grill thing on your leg is not recommended, even with a duvet for padding. Mike made me laugh by buying me a pack of four lovely field mushrooms as a treat. A strange present, but very romantic coming from someone who really doesn't like them. I had most of them for tea, along with a nice steak slightly overcooked in the grill thing (a present from mum and dad). I got lots of lovely things from other people too: I'm very lucky. And it was even a nice day at work :)

We saved going out for Saturday night, with a brief stop in HMV to buy the part of my present from Mike which was inconveniently only released on Friday - Super Mario World for the Wii! A half of Old Rosie in the Mill was followed by dinner at Loch Fyne, where we had the most enormous seafood platter in the world (or so it seemed) complete with a whole crab and a whole lobster. An utter treat, and we were stuffed by the end, so we didn't stay for pudding but went home again on the bus (such style!) and spent the rest of the evening playing Mario. And we played quite a bit more on Sunday - today I have a slight case of Nintendo thumb, and struggle to peel a clementine at coffee time.

Off to the Dentist after lunch, which I'm not really looking forward to, but hopefully it should all just be routine. And then on Wednesday afternoon we're off to the Register Office to give our Notices of Marriage, an appointment for which Mike had to take time off work. They're too busy at the weekend doing weddings :) And on Friday we'll have been officially going out for four years. Brilliant. Did I mention how lucky I am :)

lnr: (Default)

I'm not going to try and play catch-up, mostly because I simply can't remember anything particularly exciting of late. At least until this weekend. Emily and John have finished decorating their room, so the guest room is now available for the first time, and they invited me to stay, to coincide with my birthday, or at least the nearest weekend to it.

So we arrived on Friday night to find that Steph and Dave were also staying the night, though on the living room floor. A nice curry from the local takeaway and lots of chatting and drinking ensued, with children in need on the telly as background, and us getting to bed around 1:30am.

Saturday Emily had to work, and John had taekwondo, family and football, so Steph and Dave took us off to spend the day out and about, but not before we'd had danish pastries and crumpets for breakfast. Being in Hull, and Mike not having seen it before the first stop was... The Humber Bridge. We didn't go over it in the end, as I'd thought to toll might be a bit expensive for just driving across and back, but in retrospect maybe that was a mistake. However we did walk down from the visitor area under the bridge and down to the shore, which was briskly windy and rather cool, in both senses, especially impressive when the sun came out. Then we walked back up through the trees of the country park, which was rather lovely, and kept us nice and sheltered. Then we headed into Hull and spent 45 minutes trying to get parked. Here we had time for lunch and a bit of pottering, and looking at some historic ruins, before heading over to the shiny new St Stephens shopping centre to find Mum and Dad buying shoes in Em's shop. Well OK, mum buying shoes. Steph then joined in, while I popped into New Look to find a top - it's nice to be in one that actually stocks the Inspire plus-size range. Then the six of us headed over to a rather nice pub called the White Hart for nice beer, before heading back to Em's.

Mum, dad, Steph and Dave headed off to check into a hotel for the night, while Em and John tried not to panic about the oven not working. Thankfully it eventually got up to temperature, allowing us to have a lovely 3 course dinner. Steph and Dave provided a starter of cold meat and assorted anti-pasto with bread and salad, Em and John proceeded to stuff us with chicken and bacon cooked with cherry tomatoes, along with broccoli, spuds and butternut squash (hint, you can roast it with the skin on, and then either eat the skin or remove it while eating, which is much easier than trying to remove before cooking, and hadn't occurred to any of us but John). Then we needed something of a break before we cracked open the champagne and cerise liqueur and tucked into the tiramisu, all courtesy of mum and dad. It was another lovely evening sat around talking.

Sunday morning they all came back for a big cooked breakfast at about 11, leaving me just time to finish off my French Harry Potter before I had to get up, and then they insisted I open my presents a day early, since otherwise they wouldn't get to see what I thought. So now I have some lovely artwork on the wall in the living room (though I doubt that will be its final home), a gorgeous lamp sitting by the stereo, a fab clock made from a CD with a picture of a VW campervan, and a huge box of dark chocolates. We barely had time for all the food to go down before it was time to head out yet again to the Pipe and Glass pub in South Dalton (http://www.pipeandglass.co.uk/), for a 3 o'clock Sunday Lunch. The website has menus which are rather out of date but can give you an idea of just how good the food is. I had the hare, pork and fois gras terrine to start with, served with toast, pease pudding and a sail of air dried ham. Followed by a lamb casserole with rosemary dumplings and carrots cooked in local honey. And finished with a fabulous warm plum and almond tart with eggnog ice cream. And then they even brought us truffles with our coffee. We could barely move by the time we left at around 6, but it was utterly utterly wonderful. And just a shame they didn't have space for us to sit in the bar for a bit before we ate. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone.

When we got back to Em's again everyone else had to get off, to get home and get a reasonable night's sleep, but we sat up watching telly for a while, including Top Gear which had an item featuring not only the Humber Bridge but the Alfa Romeo 159, which happens to be my dad's shiny new car, in rather an impressive coincidence. It was strange seeing James May down on the beach in the exact spot we'd walked past only the previous day, in the car we'd just been driving in. We didn't have room for dinner, just a very large gin and some pringles, before we bid them goodnight and thanks for having us. Sadly while Emily had booked the week off work she ended up having to work on Monday after all, for the induction of a new team leader, which was definitely a shame.

So in the end my birthday itself featured a lie-in, a long journey, a lazy afternoon geeking, and a lazy evening watching TV and eating fish and chips. Very quiet, but lovely nonetheless. And today I got chocolates in the post from Janet, and couldn't be happier, noting it's also now 2 years since Mike and I went on our first date. Yay!

lnr: (Default)

Anyone with a non-soppy nature should consider looking away now.

flowers )

lnr: (anniversary)

I haven't liked to say anything here until the landlord got back to confirm it, just in case of the jinx effect, but Mike and I looked at a place last Thursday which we decided suited us, and we'll be moving in on the 17th March (well, and at least a few days thereafter).

It's just off Staffordshire Street, behind the Man on the Moon pub, so spitting distance from the Grafton Centre, town, the station and work, without being too much further from friends in the north of Cambridge. It's unfurnished and recently decorated, with a lovely kitchen, big lounge and two large double bedrooms and we're just really excited about it and can't wait to move in together.


lnr: (me+mike/gurney)

It's always nice to go out on a Thursday night, as even with work on Friday it feels like the start of the weekend. So Ernie and I went to see Ezio at the junction. They were supported by Ecki, a solo singer songwriter we'd seen before at the Junction, and whose album I bought earlier this year. I only realised I knew him after I started singing along to the second song though - he's cut his hair and hadn't introduced himself yet and I didn't recognise him. He was still pretty good, though didn't wow us as much as first time. A good support act though, and nice to see him supporting somewhere a bit bigger than the Portland.

Ezio themselves were brilliant as usual. This is the third time I've seen them at the Junction, plus once at the Soul Tree, and it was nice to be up at the front for a change, right in the middle immediately behind the people on the barrier (in case of "acoustic moshing" as Ezio later commented). This did mean that when I was singing along I felt a bit self-conscious for only really knowing the choruses properly, when everyone else knew every word, but I bluffed along as much as possible and generally had a great time. They're a real feel-good band, and it was a good set, and being part of a crowd that's singing along to some of the favourites is just great. Ezio and Booga (the singer and lead guitarist) doing 2 nights in the 80 capacity Boathouse in January, so ernie got himself a ticket for the Friday night, and I got two for me and Mike. I'll be looking forward to it. They always do a couple of songs at the beginning with just the two of them, and it'll be cool to have a whole night like that.

On Friday I definitely needed a quiet night in, so I cooked a rather nice fish pie (if I do say so myself) and we ate in front of the telly and watched Bend it like Beckham and Buggsy Malone on DVD, which was fun even if a bit silly. And after a lie-in on Saturday I spent most of the day doing some serious tidying and cleaning. The bathroom had been depressing me with how grim it was and it must be 6 months since the house was last hoovered properly, so the whole place got a real blitz, including my room, which now has a completely junk free floor - I still can't quite get over that, and the living room looks like a living room again instead of a weird sofa-based storage facility. Pretty chuffed with that.

The reason for the effort was I'd invited a few people round in the evening to celebrate the fact it would be my birthday on Sunday. It was all a bit last minute, and most people couldn't make it, but the small handful who did were very pleasant company and we stayed up til around 1:30, just chatting around the coffee table and demolishing a small mountain of nibbles. Mmm cheese. Some left around 11:30 to go to Jack's party or home to bed, but Mike, Andrew and Pete sang me happy birthday at midnight, which was sweet, and a good time to eat cake. Before we went to bed I gave Mike a card for our anniversary, which we'll be sort of celebrating all week. The night before my birthday was when we first met - at the Kambar - and I gave him my phone number. Definitely one to remember with a smile.

In the morning I opened my cards and some presents in bed, and discovered I really ought to be more careful about updating my wishlist when I buy myself things. Then Mike won the admiration of all my family by insisting I have a lie-in on Sunday morning while he tidied and did the washing up. We had a late breakfast/lunch, where he finished off the last of the fish pie and I ate some of my birthday card from him, which was in the form of a large watermelon. Had a nice chat with both my mum and my sister by phone, and mum and dad sang happy birthday at me down the phone. We spent the rest of the day completely lazily reading and napping in the late afternoon sunshine, before heading out for a lovely dinner at the Galleria, and a pleasant walk back to his house along the river before cycling home to mine and bed. A lovely weekend.

Tonight is the next bit of anniversary: our first date. We met in the King Street Run for a couple of drinks, and ended up staying til closing time and walking each other home, where Mike came in for a hot chocolate, stayed to watch silly Sisters of Mercy videos, and was persuaded to stay the night. Tonight the plan is to catch a film, find some dinner, and then have a quick drink in the KSR for old time's sake before we go home. I'm looking forward to it. Mike's made me very happy this year, and we're hoping for many more happy years to come.

lnr: (shadow)

Or something. It's a funny old world really. But I have another date with Mike S tomorrow, which will hopefully be lovely. And after much wibbling Mike P has wished me good luck with it. Which regardless of what might or might not have been nice is probably the right answer.

Now if you'll excuse me I have a teddy bear in need of a hug.

lnr: (window)

But for once it's nice to treat oneself:

Mozarella and tomato salad
. o O 0 O o .
Siciliana pizza (ham, olives, artichokes, anchovies)
. o O 0 O o .
Banoffee pie with vanilla icecream
. o O 0 O o .
Double espresso

Mmmm. And post-pizza involved watching a mad game I've already forgotten the name of while I crocheted, then playing a round of knockout whist. Nice. And we listened to the new BRMC (now lent to Mike) in time for tomorrow's gig. I think on balance I like it. But I'm earwormed with the Muse that Clare put on to follow it.

Yesterday I played games too: Bridge at GR and nethack at home. And had a nice Sunday lunch and couple of pints at the Carlton. Mmm beer. Digestive system copes, with the aid of indigestion tablets. Saturday night I stayed home and watched Bride and Prejudice from the comfort of my blanket on the sofa. I missed a nice party, and Rachel at the Kambar, but it was a nice way to spend the evening, even if I started quite late. Weekend in reverse order, how confusing.

Mood is up and down, still struggling with this broken heart thing. Can't work out if being around Mike is good or bad for it really. Perhaps should take Tom's advice and send him off to an Eastern European country with no mobile or internet for a couple of months, give me time to get a grip. Reminded all too harshly of 10 years ago, and being on the other side of the equation, with a lot more blame. Christmas 1994, long long before it all went wrong. Pictures slowly lose their grip on you. I can look at this now and smile, and wish it were a better picture. I have lovely ones of Matthew and of people I'm still in touch with like Tom and David, all of which remind me of good times. And the one of me and August grinning at the 2003 beerfest, before the world fell apart is lovely, and makes me happy now not sad. Things will get easier I know. But right now photos of you only make me cry, and though being with you makes me smile for a while it wears off quickly and feels worse after.


Sep. 3rd, 2005 07:37 pm
lnr: (Default)

Good things: lie-in, picnic, nice food and people, playing with small clanger, knitting.

Bad things: shattered. Despite falling asleep around 9:30 last night. And slight cold seems to have upset my stomach again. At least I got home before throwing up. And I'm just so sad. Thinking too much about the last few months and wondering if I could have changed things.

So I'm sorry I didn't make your party Tony, I hope you had a good one anyway.

I'm amazed

Aug. 31st, 2005 09:08 pm
lnr: (gigglefish)

I just had a conversation with my mum about splitting up with Mike and basically we didn't disagree on anything at all for the most part. With me and relationships this is usual. Salient points being that he's very nice and that makes it more sad to lose him but probably makes the whole splitting up less horrible than it would be if he were nasty. That being properly single for a bit is a great idea. That turning a part time relationship into a full time one was always going to be a bit difficult so it's not too surprising if we ended up wanting different things. And that being friends is cool. I think you're still in her good books.

I was amused that she also said "I'd say there were plenty more fish in the sea but I'm beginning to realise the nice ones really are all gay". Presumably not including my dad ;-) But as I say I'm not fishing right now.

lnr: (bridge of sighs)

Catching myself still hoping Mike will change his mind, and knowing he won't.

I should go to bed and sleep.

lnr: (beach)

/~ and I feel fine ~/

Well. More or less. It's not what I wanted, but sometimes a relationship is past its best before date. So now I'm definitely single. Which I admit is something of a novelty really. The last time was probably about a week at the end of February 1998. But it's not really the end of the world, and despite a somewhat teary evening I do actually feel quite positive about stuff. And have a lot of wonderful memories, as well as keeping an excellent friend. What's not to like?

The moon is shining tonight. It's not full. It's not new. And to my nethack addled mind that seems a good omen of sorts.

Quiet day

Aug. 23rd, 2005 10:06 pm
lnr: (bridge of sighs)

Got through work OK. Even fairly productive in places. Found one bug of my making and one old one not my fault which just hadn't been being triggered due to the data only just now having someone with no name in. Data itself is nasty nasty nasty full of bugs and typos and discrepancies, but hopefully we'll hammer a set of expected postgrads out of it soon.

Had a remarkably focused trip into town at lunchtime to buy lunch and hair dye and to do an errand in Fopp. Amazingly got out again unscathed despite the long list of things I'd quite like to buy at the moment. And even resisted the tins of G&T in Sainsbury too. Admire my 1337 willpower skills.

Going to pop round GR tomorrow to pick up my washing and talk more. We kind of only got round to taking the lid off the can of worms last night and we're not sure quite how wriggly it is. Still going to Reading, though planning on taking both tents rather than sharing. Will be odd but hopefully still good. And I know there are other people there I know as well as Mike's (mostly lovely) friends. And everyone's being quietly and unobtrusively lovely, which is just what I need. Hopefully you're being nice to Mike too.


Aug. 23rd, 2005 10:44 am
lnr: (window)

Hard enough saying it once, so I'll just quote what I said on #tropic

10:02 <LNR> lets just say if me and mike are great friends we're not sure quite how much more than that.

All a bit "wait and see". Don't really want to talk about it.

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