Friday, 26 October 2001

Old News - Newsletter October 2001

Well, I can hardly sit still! 2 hours to go and I'm off to Heathrow to catch a flight to Egypt. I have hardly slept the last few nights, and I'm so worked up now that I'm trembling! Either that or it's the 3 cups of coffee I had this morning to get my eyes open. Tonight we land in Cairo (Pyramids) at midnight, spend Saturday there, fly to Luxor (Valley of Kings etc) on Sunday morning, and on Monday we bus to Hurghada on the Red Sea for the rest of the week (Diving and snorkelling). Head back to Cairo next Saturday, and land in London next Sunday. woohoo!

Egypt is one of the places I have dreamed about visiting since I was little. I am so thrilled and excited to actually be on my way to the Pyramids! Truly a dream coming true!

The political situation seems to be reasonably stable there at the moment, so as long as we don't walk around shouting anti-muslim slogans we should be fine.

Hmmm, what else have I been up to?

The first week after Mountain Man got back from Peru was pretty quiet, with him struggling with his jetlag, and me struggling with his jetlag. He came right by the weekend, and we spent it catching up on sleep!

2 weekends ago we went over to Brussels to visit A and P. A is contracting there in SAP at the moment. They took really good care of us, driving us all over Belgium sightseeing, and guiding us through Brussels to the best sights, restaurants and watering holes.

We took the Eurostar there on the Friday night, went for a few drinks and ended up eating hot chips in the street at 1am (a Belgian speciality (!)). Saturday was a slow start, and then we whizzed off to Bruges, an absolutely stunning medieval town with canals and gorgeous houses etc. We ate lunch at a pavement restaurant overlooking a canal, and then pootled contentedly home for a rest. That evening we went into the centre of Brussels, to the Grand Square, which is really impressive - especially when lit up at night. The entire area is swarming with restaurants spilling out onto the street, and we had glorious mussels (another Belgian speciality) and seafood outside in the balmy evening. There was an Anthrax scare nearby, and we had to leap to one side and grab the tables out of the way of a fire engine at one point, but otherwise a very congenial evening! On the Sunday we went out for a late breakfast, then went exploring around Brussels, and caught the train home.

Last weekend I went along to visit my Mom, and Mountain Man had a boozy boys weekend. Mom and A are working as housekeeper and groundskeeper for a huge estate (North Aston Hall) in Oxfordshire. The Hall has 16 bedrooms, each with full bathroom with claw-footed tub etc, on 3 or 4 stories. There are also various sitting rooms, and every single room is fully furnished with all sorts of expensive ornaments and linen. Walking inside made me feel as overawed as entering the Lord Nelson in Cape Town. My Mom has her hands full keeping it up to speed! When the family come up from London (!) for weekends and holidays she has to cook and clean for them too.

The grounds are 200 acres, and have been quite neglected. Alfons is beginning to make a dent in what needs to be done, but he is working all day to clear barns, sort out equipment and mow. There used to be a private 18 hole golf course in the grounds, but that's been left to grow over for the last few years. There are also formal lawns and gardens, a huge indoor swimming pool, and tennis courts to look after. They are extremely busy!

Work is still boring. They were going to finally go live next week, but 2 days ago suddenly noticed I was going away (hellooooo... I told you months ago!) so have moved it to the week after. Then I expect I will have lots of changes and bugfixing to keep me quiet. We also have a French version to be released sometime... yay. I've settled down a bit, as I have no option but to stay. I'm lucky to be in a job at the moment with the recession, so there is no point in rocking the boat! Delphi jobs are always hard to find in London, and the American recession has spilled over onto the London IT market. *sigh* I would love to go contracting again though. I miss the money and freedom.

Mountain Man is feeling it worse than me though. Some of our friends are travelling through South America (hi guys!) and he is sick as a parrot with envy. If we were still in the contract situation he'd be with them! I'm not so sure about myself, as the letters home all sound a bit primitive and jungly... but I'd probably enjoy it if I was there!

Cheers for now!
We're off to see the mummy, the wonderful mummy of ..er