Wednesday, 30 January 2002

Old News - Newsletter January 2002

A whole month into the New Year, time flying as always.

It's been a busy month. In the first week I went to Paris with my Mom for a couple of days. We've been before, and decided to do the art galleries this time. It was very cool, we spent most of a day in the Louvre, and a morning in the Musee D'Orsay, with plenty of wine and cheese breaks, and an awesome steak in the evening. Plus some sightseeing thrown in to and from the museums. We'd managed to get a free upgrade to first class on the Eurostar too, which means free wine and a meal on the way... very cool!

One thing I have to warn you about though. There I am thinking I am a veteran traveller, and I got horribly conned in Gare de Nord. We'd got in late at night from London, and I had a pretty good idea which Metro tickets I wanted, so we happily toddled down to the ticket area. All the windows were closed, and the machines would only take Euro coins, so we had a bit of a struggle, and eventually got change and came back. Then we got 'helped' by a French bloke, who insisted we had to buy two 2-day passes (E100), and we were so tired and fed up and struggling with the language we finally agreed, and as we didn't have enough coins he kindly paid with his card, and we handed him cash. The next day our tickets wouldn't work, and it turned out we had two singles... worth E5. I don't know how he did it, but it was very slick and I had no idea! So watch out.

Mountain Man came back from SA on the 14th, L also got back that week from Oman, and B got back from SA the week after, so we've had lots of reunions. N and N have arrived from SA too, and we've seen a bit of them, so a nice social month.

The weekend before last I came down with a cold, and stayed home when Mountain Man went for 'quick drinks' with mates, and got home the following evening after going clubbing and staying over. Nothing changes.

On the job front things are interesting. My company has been acquired by a big one out in Bracknell (near Windsor), and we will all be working there by May. It should be a good move for me, as I have gone as far as I can in my current place, and was getting very bored. They are massive, and international, and committed to training and new technology and to keeping their staff. Might be good.

We are going to have to move, as the commute from where I now live is too far, and so we will be moving to Putney in March. I am now frantically taking down shelves and repainting our flat back to the way we found it!

Wednesday, 2 January 2002

Old News - Newsletter January 2002

I am back at work after a lovely relaxing break. My company gave everyone the days between xmas and new year off for the price of one day's annual leave, which was very sweet of them.

I can't remember what I'm meant to be working on, so I'll postpone it a little longer by writing email...

I think I last wrote before my company xmas do... it was great fun, and I didn't get too blotto. I made it home on the last train without falling asleep, and felt halfway reasonable the next day. Not so the rest of my office (some of whom had been in the hotel bar until 3), and we all repaired to the pub at midday for the hair of the dog. At 3ish I decided to go home for a nap before Mountain Man's do that evening. I had a nice snooze, dressed and dolled up, and called him for directions... apparently I sounded so out of it that he told me I didn't have to come out, so I had a nice long bath and an early night instead! Just as well as he staggered in reeking of vodka at 7 the next morning!

The rest of the weekend was very low-key, with both of us resting our livers in preparation for xmas.

On xmas eve I travelled through to my Mom's in the afternoon. She was busy preparing the xmas dinner for the family at the Hall, so I took a bottle of wine across and sat at the kitchen table chatting. Mountain Man arrived in the evening and joined me, and towards the end of the evening A's and A also came across. So the 'staff' were in the kitchen while 'family' were in the living room! Straight out of an old novel... we took our portion of dinner back to the servants quarters after serving the family, and had a very nice evening opening pressies, and drinking lots of wine.

I woke up feeling a bit under the weather the next day, just in time to see my Mom off to the Hall to prepare xmas lunch - and didn't see her again until 5. A's daughter and I made lunch for the rest of us, and we chilled out watching TV and reading, and Mountain Man flew to SA in the evening.

Mom and A were given Boxing Day off, so after a slow and lazy start we all went for a pub lunch and then a long frosty walk on the downs near Uffington. It was freezing, with thick frost on the frozen ground, and bits of snow in the wind. Very bracing!

The next couple of days were very lazy, and I came back to London on Friday to an empty flat *sniff*. I hibernated over the weekend, and on New Years Eve caught up with J and T to tag along to a New Years do. We went to a house party with a bunch of Jon's Cambridge mates - 6 couples and one baby... very grown-up and civilized. We had a 5 course dinner, each course organised by a couple (T and I did the starter) and all of it really impressive gourmet stuff. Then we had port and coffee in the lounge and watched Big Ben strike midnight and played Trivial Pursuit until quite late.

Everyone stayed over, and we had a massive fry-up brunch, and then a long frosty walk through lanes and fields (the long frosty walk seems to be a very English festive thing).

Then home, and a very early night. I managed to set my alarm for PM, so overslept somewhat - but got in to work on time anyway!

So, now back to normal. It is wierd not having Mountain Man around, and I'm looking forward to him getting home in 2 weeks.