Busy, busy, busy

December has been a busy month, so I haven’t blogged much. Here’s some highlights:

  • Athlete gig, with RJ at the Anson Rooms in Bristol (a venue that I love because it’s like going to a school disco and I half expect boys and girls to line up either side of the room and pick dance partners…).
  • Home to Fair Oak for curry, beers and a good old catch up with my mum and step-dad.
  • Lovely lunch with Ally, who makes the best fishcakes in the whole wide world, and a spontaneous meet up with Jon, who I haven’t seen for nearly ten years. That was a little bit crazy but really lovely. You should check out his wonderful band, The Great Sojourn.
  • Mini break in Oxford: drinking wine out of mugs in our hotel room, Christmas shopping, running in the rain, eating moules, frites, French onion soup, yaki soba and ebi gyoza, travelling on buses, wondering round the colleges and taking it all in at the new Ashmolean museum.
  • Dinner and Seth Lakeman gig in Cheltenham with Leigh and Katy. Really impressive performer, loved Kitty Jay played live by Seth alone.
  • Partnership team Christmas dinner at Chesters – yummy Mexican food, bit too much wine, but nice company. And we were joined by Chris and Omar, who was visiting for the weekend, too.
  • Leigh & Richard’s Christmas Open House – lots of delicious homemade vegan/veggie food, mulled wine, jasmine tea, good conversation and laughing with some lovely Worcester people.
  • An early Christmas present in the shape of Tony Hawk Ride for the PS3. It hasn’t had great reviews from ‘serious’ gamers but it’s really fun. Pretty sure I missed my calling…
  • Christmas at my sister’s house in Hertfordshire: Human Twister (not as good as Human Buckaroo), a remarkable number of bottles of wine, the best roast potatoes I’ve ever eaten, posh porridge, lots of quality family time (loooong chat with my favourite big brother!). Ultimately, a Christmas run by my awesome 10 year old nephew, so all presents were open by 9am.
  • Second Christmas at my in-laws in Gloucester: brilliant homemade gingerbread men place settings, some really lovely presents (a new cafetiere!!), Trivial Pursuit, Chris’s ever-so-slightly dubious cocktails and delicious plum pickle and pigs in blankets.

Phew.

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Cashing in my winnings

So, I told you I won a prize, right? No?

Well, I got “a prize of books” from the RTPI for getting the highest grade in my masters degree, which was nice. Although, in reality, I received a cheque for £60 posted to me a few weeks after my graduation ceremony. But, in the spirit of the prize, I did indeed buy myself some books. And here they are:


Rather disappointingly, it doesn’t look like much but there’s £45 worth of books there (I’m saving the other £15 to spend later but already have a few books in mind). But I’m definitely looking forward to starting 2010 with the following selection of books:

‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’ by John Irving – recommended to me as a teenager but a book I never quite got round to reading, recommended again recently by a colleague so one I definitely must read now.

‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote – because I fancied reading some modern classics, and enjoyed Capote (the Philip Seymour Hoffman version).

‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ by Haruki Murakami – much to the horror of friends and family, I got to the age of 27 without having read any Murakami. Having absolutely adored ‘The Wind-up Bird Chronicle’ this year, I can’t wait to read more.

‘Simply Complexity’ by Neil Johnson – this looks fascinating and is full of maths, which I’m determined to get to grips with in 2010.

‘Bad Science’ by Ben Goldacre – because I read the column, follow him on twitter, like what he has to say, etc.

‘Death and the Penguin’ by Andrey Kurkov – recommended by the fabulous Ally, and with an intriguing premise…

‘Madame Bovary’ by Gustave Flaubert – when Leigh and I went to the Literature Festival this year, we went to a talk on mad women in literature and this was discussed. Sounds like fun.

‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte – because what English Literature graduate hasn’t read it? I am a disgrace.

‘Enough’ by John Naish – which was recommended, although I cannot for the life of me remember by whom. Dealing with enough information, enough work, enough stuff, it certainly appears to be just what I need over the Christmas period…

Just got to finish my current read (Alan Paton’s ‘Cry the Beloved Country’) so that I can get started 🙂

Grumpy

I’ll be honest, I’m pretty grumpy tonight. For the following reasons:

1. Mainly, because I have to go back to work tomorrow after five days off and I’ve been having a lovely time and I don’t want to go back. I really need to do something about that.
2. Renting sucks.
3. Letting agents suck.
4. Our landlord sucks.
5. I’ve been putting off ironing all day but now I really have to do it or I won’t have anything to wear to work tomorrow.
6. I’ve been ranting about my general feeling of injustice in relation to the widespread concern about bankers leaving the country if they don’t get their bonuses that doesn’t appear to extend to our incredibly valuable public sector workers.
7. Today, we spent over £200 on brake discs and pads and over £100 on a dehumidifier.

Reasons to be cheerful:
1. Only a two day week!
2. Omar’s visiting at the weekend. And we’re going to see Where The Wild Things Are. Really looking forward to it 🙂
3. We’ve got banoffee pie.
4. I have dinner and Seth Lakeman with Leigh and Katy to look forward to tomorrow night.
5. And my team Christmas dinner at Chesters on Friday. Mmmm…burritos…
6. And Leigh’s festive open house on Saturday. Mmmm…mulled wine and mince pies…
7. After some serious trawling of the shops, I found the perfect Christmas gift for my mum this morning.

Will write about my long weekend soon (maybe).