Friday, September 29, 2006

Out With The Old

It's been 15 months since we last upgraded our mobile phones, that's the longest we've ever had to wait to upgrade having gone for an 18 month contract last time around. Another first is the fact that we weren't desperate to get a new phone, the outgoing Nokia 6680 has been a pleasure to use over the last year or so.

The main reason for changing this time was to get back on to a cheaper 12 month contract which we've managed to do, knocking a tenner off the old monthly bill. After perusing the mobile phone market for the last 6 months, I still wasn't sure what I wanted when I walked into the 3 shop on Sunday but in the end went for a Sony EricssonK800i in sexy black, the one with the Cybershot 3.2 megapixel camera.

Debbie hadn't looked at any phones previoulsy, her only critera was that her new phone should be small and be able to make phone calls. It took Debbie all of 10 seconds to decide on a Sony EricssonK610i which with only a 2 megapixel camera (I say only, that's still pretty darn good) and no radio, I hadn't really looked at. It's turned out to be a smashing little phone though, very small, very slim, extreemly light, and with great buttons, Debbie is delighted with it!

I love my K800i too, while heavier and bulkier than Debbie's K610i, it's still on the small side and should an impromptu photo opportunity arrise, I'll be ready, just like in the televison advert, not that I've seen anyone falling past our office window latley, but you never know...


Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Curse Of The A64

We decided to head off to the coast on Saturday, getting up bright and early to beat all the traffic and then in the middle of loading up the car, the mobile goes and I have to head of to work because the alarm is going off on the one day in a million I'm covering! Luckily there was nothing untoward when I got there but it did put us back over half an hour, of course we were then stuck in traffic on the A64 going past Car Park, sorry, York. Apparently there was a caravan show on in York and that was causing the extra traffic. You see, they don't even have to be on the road to cause chaos!

By the time we arrived at Robin Hoods Bay it was almost lunch time but once we were on the beach, the hectic morning was forgotten. We enjoyed leisurely strolling along that much that when we did get back to the car, it was over 3 hours later! We had planned to go on to Whitby but with time against us we weren't sure if we should bother, but we decided to go, if only for something to eat. The town was busy as normal, it never seems to get quiet here anymore, not even in the middle of winter.


We treated ourselves to fish & chips from the Magpie take away and while they were cooked to perfection, I don't think we enjoyed them half as much as we thought we would, not having had chips for over 3 months. I think our taste buds have changed since we started our weight loss plan and the oil dripping from the fish was enough to bring on sea sickness on dry land! We sat near the bandstand on the pier, watching the sea fret slowly seep into the harbour and cloak the abbey in the thick sea of mist. It looked just like a scene from the "The Fog".


Exhausted and ready to get home for a shot or two of something alcoholic, we set off at tea time, meandering back across the North Yorkshire Moors. Hitting the A64 dual carriageway, we picked up speed and looked forward to getting home... it was then that the curse of the A64 struck again, just as it did last time we went to the coast a few weeks ago. We came to a grinding halt and heard on the radio that there had been a serious accident ahead. We just had to crawl along until we got to the next roundabout. Everyone was ushered off on to alternative routes and on this particular road, there aren't any! We had to crawl in to York and then crawl back about again to rejoin the A64 further down. By the time we got home we were ready for dropping, we left most of the stuff in the car and flopped on to the sofa for the rest of the evening.


Many more photos on our Flickr page!

It'll be a while before we head for the coast again, but when we do, we ain't going anywhere near that chuffin road!


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Leaky Roofs & Countryside

We had a fabulous weekend, starting probably not so well with me climbing on the roof of the extension to fix the leak. The damage wasn’t as extensive as we thought but it was clear that the stuff we had bought to cover the cracks wasn’t going to fix it. I did manage to get a temporary fix up there using some all weather sealant, the fun started when it was time to come back down. All I could think of was reaching for the ladder and loosing my footing, that’s when the dizziness started! I did get down eventually, slowly, very slowly!

Witnessing my distress, which was difficult to hide when clinging to a pipe in the middle of the roof, Debbie rang for a roofer to come out and take a look. He came out the same day and we were quoted happy for an all new rubber roof which should last for about 50 years.

On Sunday, with the leaky roof in hand, we went out for the day to Matlock. After a tasty lunch in a local pub and a walk round the beautiful park there we set of for the aquarium at Matlock Bath, the main reason we had gone down there. When we got there we found the place overrun with bikers and there wasn’t a parking space to be had, the aquarium was on the main road and looked rather like one of those sea life centres we’ve been disappointed with in the past so we decided to give it a miss.

Debbie had a flick through all the leaflets we had picked up from the tourist information place and suggested going to the Chestnut Centre. The map on the back of the leaflet didn’t look anything like the one in the road atlas but we got to where it should have been without too much trouble. The problem was that on their map, it says it’s on the A625 which is near Hathersage when on closer inspection, it’s actually on a minor road about 10 miles from there!

So we abandoned that idea too and set off to Castleton. We decided to visit one of the caverns that we had not seen before, Blue John Cavern. It was amazing inside, narrow gaps to get through and some huge caverns with Blue John round every corner. The only disappointment was that Debbie’s camera was struggling with the lack of light but she still managed to get some great shots which just needed a little tweaking in Picasa.



Click here for more pictures.

On the way home, I decided that we should bypass the traffic in Sheffield and cut through some beautiful countryside. It took a bit longer than I thought and I did have to turn round a couple of times but the fact that I didn’t have the faintest idea where I was going didn’t stop us from emerging at the place I’d planned for, albeit an hour later than I’d thought!

We’ll do the Chestnut Centre another day and we’ll read the camera manual before going to any more dark places!


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lucy Goes For A Dip

Following a great night out on Saturday we headed off to Pugneys Country Park on Sunday, we've never been before but spotted the lake when passing by last weekend. The lake is huge with a 1.5 mile track all the way round and it didn't take us that long to do a lap. It was quite busy with warm sunshine coming through, there were plenty of dingys sailing about and the wanna be windsurfers were hilarious. We'll definitely go back there, perhaps in winter when there's snow or frost on the ground.

Boats moored at Pugneys (Click here for more pictures)

Having had such a good morning, we decided to call at Worsborough Mill Country Park for a stroll around the reservoir. We made it all the way round the park, back to where we started, at the mill pond and were both busy snapping pictures of the ducks. We heard something plop into the water, both Debbie and I spun round and Lucy was nowhere to be seen. Seconds later, what looked like a huge white and green drowned rat surfaced and started paddling like crazy. Debbie flew over and had to lay flat at the side of the pond to reach her as there a 3 foot drop to the water. When Lucy paddled over to where Debbie was reaching, she promptly stopped swimming and stood up in about 8 inches of water!

Back on dry land, Lucy stood there looking bewildered, soaking wet, covered in green stuff and what a stench!. It's hilarious looking back but at the time, it was a heart stopping moment and she's so lucky she got off so lightly!


Monday, September 11, 2006

A Good Nite Out

Ready for a good nite @ the China Rose, Bawtry
Dan & Lisa, our very close friends! Posted by Picasa

Looking Good

The pounds are coming off and oooooooooooolala looking good!! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A New Beginning!!

On Tuesday 13th June 2006, something amazing started to happen...

A few weeks beforehand I accompanied Debbie to the hospital to see a professor, who has been following her case with PCOS over the last 4 years. Since she has had the condition for over 16 years, its very hard keeping her hormonal state in balance!! There are lots of side effects which include rapid weight gain and the weight she gains feeds an overactive hormonal gland and thus results in more weight gain, this intern can result into becoming a diabetic. Scary, very scary…

She was enrolled on a 12 month weight loss plan, it’s not a diet, it's a change of life.

With the plan comes a book to read with a food diary to keep and make other notes in, a couple of cd's to listen to and a tablet to take each day which is designed to suppress hunger. I've taken up the challenge along with Debbie, following the plan in exactly the same way but without the tablet.

Because it's a change for life, the changes required for success aren't as drastic as they can be for most diets. The main aim is to keep the weight off and live a healthy life. The guidelines we've been following over the last 3 months are sticking to food containing no more than 4g of fat per 100g and less than 10g of sugar per 100g. The last guideline and probably most important in my case, is the alcohol! We've stuck rigidly to only having any alcoholic beverages on Friday and Saturday nights, for the rest of the week it's strictly brews and water only.

When we set off on our first healthy shopping trip, we were astonished at some of the things that are laced with either fat or sugar, sausages and burgers we expected, but surely not turkey and chicken roll! Yep, we only have fresh chicken now and the cooked meats are mostly confined to ham and beef. Just spending a little time examining labels in the supermarket reveals a hidden world of very crafty marketing where nothing is as it first seems. The healthy stuff is there to be had but it's normally surrounded by rubbish in appealing packaging to mask the dodgy nutritional content. One recent find has been Ryvita Minis, one of the very few so called healthy snacks that are actually low in fat and sugar but high in fibre.

The plan does suggest becoming more active and for a few weeks we did go swimming first thing on Saturday and Sunday mornings but with the sessions being from 7.30am until 9am, it soon took its toll. With a week of getting up at 6am we do need an extra snooze at least once in a while, so walking Lucy and taking lots of photos while in the process is better for us.

The results of our endeavours?

Well, this will explain why Debbie was overjoyed with her new smaller size clothes on Tuesday...

I've lost just short of 2 Stone over the last 3 months and Debbie... wait for it... can we have a drum roll please... Debbie has lost 3 Stone!!

We're still only a quarter of the way through the plan, we're determined to see this through to the end and then beyond that, sticking to the life changes we've made.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Just Being Frank

It's back to being dog tired again in the evenings now we're back at work, Friday couldn't come fast enough last week, even with a bank holiday and my extra day off on Tuesday. We spent most of Saturday out shopping and on Sunday I made the fatal mistake of setting off out for the afternoon, not knowing exactly where we were going. This never works out, especially if we've got Lucy with us as it's best if we know where we're going so she can have a good run. It also helps if you've remembered to fill up with fuel before you've set off and you're not driving in the middle of nowhere with just 1 bar showing on the dashboard.The beautiful scenery we past through at 10 miles per hour was dulled by the sound of Lucy throwing up in the car and Debbie's frustration at another one of my spectacular cock-ups.

We did eventually make it to Newmillerdam near Wakefield, Lucy got her promised walk, Debbie got a much needed brew and I just tried to keep quiet! It wasn't a total disaster, well it was, but we did see somewhere nice to go one day on the way back home, only we'll make proper plans for that trip and Lucy will be in her carry cage.

This modern day Frank Spencer did it again last night though, after yet more visits to Meadowhell (Meadowhall Shopping Centre) on Tuesday, I finally managed to exchange Debbie's camera for a Panasonic Lumix FZ7 and then got home to find out the paper work was wrong. We had to go back last night to sort it all out, going through the process for a third time, it became apparent that I'd forgotten the cheque book for the account number and we could proceed no further. Debbie ended up calling directory enquires, got the number for the bank and then got the account number from them. Thankfully, after over two weeks of mucking about, I've got my Nikon D50, Debbie's got her Panasonic FZ7 and we're all sorted.

A therapeutic 'nice top' shopping session ensued and bubbly Debbie returned as we made our way home with a nice selection of new clothes and some posh salad from M&S.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin - A Sad Loss

We were greeted by sad news this morning that Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter himself has died as a result of being stung in the chest by a stingray. We love watching any animal programs and have especially enjoyed the Crocodile Hunter series over the years. It's hard to believe such an enthusiastic embassador for the natural world is gone, I'm sure he'll be missed the world over and our heart goes out to his family.