Saturday, 7 February 2004

Old News - Newsletter February 2004

Well, here we are Feb already. This year is starting to speed up, and it is now only 4 weeks until my New Zealand holiday in March. I can't wait! I haven't had a holiday since October, and I'm feeling a little tired. T and I will be spending 3 weeks traveling across the North and South islands, visiting old friends along the way. We've roughed out an itinerary, but plan to keep things flexible in case we decide to stay on somewhere or skip a place.

The NZ trip is going to swallow most of my leave this year, but I should have enough over to squeeze in a couple of short hols this year too. If anyone fancies inviting me along to play gooseberry on their holidays, that'd be fine! I don't mind paying single supplements... bear me in mind for skiing trips next winter too ;-). I'm definitely hoping to go diving this year anyway, as it has been way too long since I last went.

We have a major release of our product happening on Monday, so things are slightly stressed at work. Not too bad though, and we haven't had to work weekends this time. We have a new Dev manager who seems to have his head screwed on right, and deadlines are much better than last year. I'm still happy here anyway, and got a little pay increase last month... just enough to cover the bank lending rate increase - drat!

Speaking of debts, my house is pretty much at a state where I can leave the decorating for now. There are some bits to finish painting, and I need new curtains, but it's really finished for this year. Next year I may replace the kitchen, but we shall see. I am now turning my attention to the gardens, and have a chap coming this month to take out the cypress trees in the back garden before any birds nest in them. The trees are too big for the little back garden, and block all the light, so have to go. This year I will probably just knock the lawns into shape, as I can't afford the landscaping I want (can you "landscape" something the size of most South African's driveways? I wonder.)

Spring is coming - the days are getting longer at last. The weather is doing its usual mad late-winter thing, with snow last week and up to 16deg this week! Never a dull moment. I have had a load of purple crocuses come up in my window boxes, and they are lovely! There are about 4 other layers of bulbs in there, which should come up at monthly intervals ;-).

I haven't been doing much walking with my rambling group, although I have decided to start attending again in spite of my ex. I average one walk a month I suppose, although I've been out walking on my own a few times too. I have been having fun exploring the area, and have discovered some really good walks starting from my house (and ending at a pub of course).

This coming weekend I may go for a walk on Saturday (depending on how big Friday night gets - the dept is going out together), and on Sunday my friend Kat and I plan to go for a "snowdrop walk" at one of the local estates who open their grounds in Feb to the public. It's supposed to be a clear cold weekend, and it will be nice to be outside.

Next weekend I have R and her family coming for Sunday lunch and to show off my house. The weekend after that I'm visiting T and J in London, and the weekend after that I'm visiting R and S in Hertford. Then off to NZ! whoohoo.