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: (Default)

Saturday was Mike's birthday, so we went away for the weekend to visit his parents, catch up with some friends, and generally have a nice time.

Friday evening was spent travelling, since it's about 4.5 hours to Lydney station at the best of times. We only had time for a cuppa and a chat before bed, though since 3 of us were still up at Midnight Gina and I sang Mike Happy Birthday. We had a bit of a lie-in on Saturday, and then Mike and I went for a long walk around the woods and lanes and fields near their house, where I took lots of photos (click through for rest):

After that we had a quiet afternoon with books sitting in the conservatory and the garden before Rae and Adam joined us for a piece of birthday cake and then drove us into Chepstow to meet Mike's old schoolmate Phil for a night out. We had a nice walk down from the carpark past the castle for a pint in the Three Tuns, which has a lovely view of the castle from the garden. Then we headed back up the hill again for food at Mythos - which does excellent greek food and cocktails. Mike and I shared the meat meze and were absolutely stuffed. We were planning to stay for another drink in lieu of pudding, but it was too loud so we headed next door to a pub which turns out to be on myspace, but is nevertheless actually reasonably nice. Rae and Adam headed off about 11 to drive back to Cardiff, while Phil stayed out a bit later, and then kindly volunteered his dad to pick us up and take us home. It was a lovely night out.

Sunday we had a very quiet day. I read and knitted and napped, while Mike managed to pack some more stuff from his old bedroom to bring back to Cambridge. Mostly CDs and a few videos. We also packed the easter eggs which Gina and Evan had bought for us. At this rate we're going to be eating chocolate for months! In the evening they took us out to dinner about 12 miles away at the Empire indian restaurant - which apparently used to be a transport caff, but does really excellent food - I can see why they think it's worth the drive.

Up early on Monday we left on the 9:17 train and got home from the station around 2pm. This meant we had time to go into town and pay some cheques in, then wander over to Townsends for Mike to choose a bike. He's been so happy using mine the last couple of weeks that he ended up buying a very similar model. Mine's the 19" ladies frame 2006 Ridgeback Velocity, and his is the 2007 blokes edition, in a 17" frame, which is actually more or less the same size - they're measured differently. And jammily since it was a weekday the workshop wasn't very busy, so we went and had a drink in the Old Spring next door, leaving them time to fit all the extras he wanted, so he could take it home straight away.

We finished the long weekend with a quiet night in mostly geeking, with M&S pie and chips for tea. It's been a good one.

lnr: (xmas 2006)

I've just had the sort of Christmas that seems to be considered a myth by most people these days. A few lovely days spent with family - no rows to speak of, lots of nice food and drink, some telly and some playing of board games, and presents which made people happy in both the giving and the receiving. Brilliant.

The details )

A very Merry Christmas, and hopefully a very Happy New Year.

lnr: (cycle)

Friday night Mike came over, and we had takeaway chinese and played with Google Earth for a bit and got a fairly early night. Mike had sad news from his mum that his Nan had died in the early hours of that morning, and I was glad to at least be there for him to have a shoulder to cry on.

Saturday we woke fairly early and went into town to do some shopping, looking for something for Mike to wear to the funeral next week. We went through practically every shop selling men's clothes in the grafton centre and not one of them had a shirt which could be called red (apparently it's the colour his Nan would like him to wear). We gave up and watched the Everton v Liverpool match over a nice lunch in the Burleigh Arms. Nice food, big screen, Magners cider, just a shame about the result! Then we headed into town proper to carry on with the shopping and finally managed to find a dark maroony red shirt for quite a hefty price in Austin Reed and with that and our other purchases (a black tie, a couple of tshirts, a front derailleur, a red blouse, some stuff from Lush, a strapless bra and a pair of black jeans) we headed home again.

We ended the afternoon with a rather long nap and then watched Northanger Abbey on DVD - a BBC adaptation and not too bad. Tea came from raiding the freezer and resulted in salmon steaks with dill and lemon juice served with mange tout, cauliflower cheese and yorkshire puds, followed by summer berry crumble and custard. We were going to watch Hackers on video but rjk had set the video to tape something so we ended up watching Bridget Jones' Diary on DVD instead, since Mike hadn't seen it. Nice to be going out with someone who doesn't mind watching romantic comedy :-).

Sunday we woke at a reasonable hour, and after spending an hour fitting Mike's new derailleur (it took us a while to work out how best to adjust it so the chain ran freely) and eating the leftover crumble and custard for breakfast we finally set off nearer 12 than we'd intended on yet another bike ride. We made brief stops at his (to find shorts and trainers and the puncture repair tools/kit) and Sainsbury's (to buy a picnic lunch), then set off north west along the NCN51 towards Huntingdon. We were rather surprised to find we didn't need to stop to rest at all until we got there, though we had a slight pause in Longstanton as we realised the road was closed and ended up going through the tennis club carpark, round the back of the club house and climbing out over a bank to get past the JCB blocking the otherwise perfect looking road. Rather impressed to find 25 miles going so smoothly.

As a result we decided carrying on and going round Graffham water would be perfectly within our capabilities, and that's what we did, stopping at the green in Brampton at about 2:30 to eat our lunch. I struggled a bit from there to the lake, which I found very dispiriting, only realising on the way back how much it had been uphill! The route round the lake itself was mostly offroad, and would have been impossible for me on my old bike. As it was the first section alongside the dam had me feeling very nervy. I just don't like skittery gravel surfaces - having my wheels go sideways freaks me out. The rest of the path wasn't quite so bad though, and I gradually got more used to it, and it was well worth it for the gorgeous views. With the lake reflecting the perfectly clear sky it was an incredible shade of blue. We had a long rest once we'd got all the way round, and then set out home again.

It took rather longer going back than it did coming, and we definitely had very sore bottoms by the time we got back at nearly 8:30pm, having gone nearly 70 miles in total. We finished the day with fish finger sandwiches and Ben and Jerry's icecream before I waved Mike off home and hobbled upstairs for a much-needed shower and bed. A great day out, and a good weekend overall, which I think helped Mike cope with feeling sad about the news.

Gmap Route

Today I'm less achy than expected, and have got a fair bit done at work, as well as booking Tuesday and Wednesday off week to accompany Mike to his Nan's funeral. Quiet night in needed tonight!

lnr: (crochet hat)

I could be at post-pizza (hell I could have gone to pizza too but more on that anon) but why? Beer's no good if I'm not drinking. I don't even have the excuse of going to see the new format Grauniad 'cso rjk bought a copy. So that leaves the company and well, I'm fed up which makes just hanging out with the usual crowd of people unappealing. Not because of who they are but because I just don't feel like I can engage in anything that's going on, I don't know if that makes sense. And the part of me that really wants to see Mike is overruled by the part of me that thinks I'm pathetic and that I can't let myself rely on him for company, and besides I don't feel like risking making him feel even less like I'm a fun person to be with and risk a friendship as well as having lost more than that. So instead I'm home alone and a little lonely.

More positively, and yes at least partly because of conversations with Mike but not just that, I've somewhere found a little hard knot of resolve in me, and I *am* going to lose some weight again. I don't think it's just a flash in the pan this time. This morning's graph was in one way a new beginning, and in one way an end. Next week's data will go on file, and the following week there'll be new graphs, starting from today. I know it's cheating to be always making new starts, but I think this time it will actually help, and the failures of the past need to stop dragging me down. I'm going to ask Richard to take some photos of me when I get in. I don't expect them to be pretty. And I don't intend to look at them all the time and wince. But I want to make a record of how things are now.

Anyway as a result of this I went shopping at lunchtime and bought vast heaps of food :-) An odd way to start a diet perhaps, but I now have in my desk drawers a selection of stuff which can be filling, not unhealthy lunches, snacks and if necessary breakfast. All stuff that will keep, with the exception of the fruit selection on the windowsill. Living on pre-pack sandwiches with the need for extra variety being filled by crisps or chocolate or the occasional pork pie is the way of the expanding waist line, and the empty pocket too. This way it shouldn't matter that I just don't have the energy to make myself decent food for lunch when I get up in the morning. And that's my main reason for not going to pizza, which is a shame, as post-pizza would probably feel more worthwhile that way.

I've had conversations before with people (OK, mostly Ian, hi:-) where it was felt that diets of any sort just don't work. That even if you're apparently "successful" like I was then once the willpower wears off the pounds come back. The suggested alternative is to instead of changing your diet change your lifestyle so you get more exercise, burn off more calories and hopefully boost your metabolism long term. The thing is as far as I'm concerned this takes just as much if not *more* willpower, and certainly more time, than dieting. And equally if you stop you'll just go back to step one again in the same way. It's good to make sure you get a healthy amount of exercise but I would argue that in 15 mins cycling (more like 20, while I'm this overweight and unfit) twice a day 5 times a week I already do get enough exercise. [sorry, that's a little rant that's been nagging me since I worked it out after the last instance of this conversation]

So yeah. Stuff. And I'm knitting and crocheting various odds and ends. Don't show any sign of finishing anything else soon, having completed the second version of the hat in the icon using the same pink yarn I used for the top for Col and Kirsten's wedding. I could do with spending more time out of the house and with other people, but as usual for me I built my life too much around one person and don't know quite what to do any more.

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.

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.

August 2017

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