Sunday, 10 September 2017

Working way too much

It has been nearly two weeks since I wrote an update and the only reason for that is I'm working so much that any time I can be not working I have not wanted to spend it sat at my desk typing. It's gone on long enough, though, so I've decided to at least make a start and just drop into the update through the day and get it out of the way; I didn't think I had many pictures but having copied them across from my various devices I've more than I expected. I hope it isn't a long update anyway.

Her Birthday

I left you last as we were heading off to celebrate A's birthday at a lovely posh hotel on the lake.

The amazing hotel room
The amazing hotel room
Relaxing on our loungers after a swim
Relaxing on our loungers after a swim
Just about to fall asleep
Just about to fall asleep
Fishing on the lake
Fishing on the lake
Looking across the pool and sun loungers
Looking across the pool and sun loungers
Balcony panorama
Balcony panorama
She knew we were going to a hotel, and even which one, but I'd not told her that I'd booked the most expensive suite in the place. It was such a lovely surprise for her (and me - the room was amazing) and it set up the evening perfectly to be so impressed with the accommodation. Once we had settled ourselves we changed into our swimming gear and jumped in the pool for a bit then, after swimming and relaxing, we got onto a lounger to relax. After a while A found an even better place, a massage area, and I fell asleep laying on the comfortable mattress. Perfection. We were making the most of not having to hurry and rush and headed back to the room as we started to feel a bit hungry and had some showers before heading down for dinner. While I was waiting for her to get ready (and she doesn't take long at all) I snapped some pictures from the balcony of our room. What a location.

A lovely salad to start with
A lovely salad to start with
Calamari for A
Calamari for A
Chicken Wings for me
Chicken Wings for me
A with her huge Shashlik
A with her huge Shashlik
My chicken with cheesy mash
My chicken with cheesy mash
Awesome moon
Awesome moon
Looking across the grounds
Looking across the grounds
Morning view across the lake
Morning view across the lake
We took a table in the restaurant and proceeded to take full advantage of not having to rush home to the puppies. The food was, as it always is there, impeccable and the service was really good. We were slightly worried when a DJ looking DJ arrived and set up with huge speakers however he turned out to be very good, and very quiet (most importantly) and did not intrude at all. It was a perfect Birthday Meal in a perfect location with the perfect Birthday Girl. Wonderful. After dinner we headed back to the room and had a (very expensive) fruit tea each while enjoying the nighttime views from the balcony of the moon and the lit up hotel grounds. The next morning we were up relatively early and away without having breakfast at the hotel but it was a beautiful place to wake up to. A headed over to pick the puppies up from SandS who we have to really thank right now for looking after them and allowing us this time away - so needed and so very appreciated.

[[ Editors note - the above two paragraphs were written four days ago, on Wednesday, and the blog editing window has remained open and untouched ever since then. It's now Sunday and I'm going to attempt to complete the update now... Maybe you can see the truth of the title of this blog in this delay! ]]

Around the place, before our visitor

We had a visitor booked in to stay for the week following but had a bit of time available to do some stuff around the place.

A drilling holes
A drilling holes
The Wood Room is full of car stuff
The Wood Room is full of car stuff
A helping move the kindling
A helping move the kindling
Pile of wood outside
Pile of wood outside
What I moved inside
What I moved inside
Here comes the rain
Here comes the rain
First of all A was in the entrance hall clearing it out and attempting to put hooks into the wall to hang our gardening stuff on; sadly the plaster was way too bad and more than half of the wall plugs were just too loose and this failed. It still left us with a tidy area to store our tools (I got the Special One over to help me move the generator into its new housing outside) and we've now banned Rambo from going in there. I was in the Wood Room while this was happening shifting most of the stuff out of there and clearing space for the latest wood delivery to be stacked in there. A came along and helped shifting the kindling and then we had a clear room. I was into shifting that wood the next morning and threw a big pile in via the open window.  That night it rained which made me feel good for having moved some of it inside, and also having taken quite a long time to remove all the plastic I could find in the stack; that plastic just gathers water and then soaks the wood more thoroughly than just rain falling.

Happy A with KERPLUNK!
Happy A with KERPLUNK!
A working through the wood
A working through the wood
Wedged up with an old roof bar
Wedged up with an old roof bar
The pizza that I ordered
The pizza that I ordered
Fish and spuds for A
Fish and spuds for A
That's what a dogs dinner looks like around here
That's what a dogs dinner looks like around here
One benefit of it raining is we don't have to water and the other was we were inside and could play Kerplunk, which I got A for her birthday. She was over the moon about this present and that night we had a couple of really fun games (before my exhaustion from working sent me to bed early). It's always fun to have a game and particularly one that takes you back to your childhood. There was no rest the next day as A went in and stacked a load of the wood that I had thrown through. That night we decided against cooking and took ourselves to our favourite restaurant. At first we were thinking about having a picky dinner but I then went for a pizza and this prompted A to go for some fish and we were both exceptionally happy about our choices. The puppies were as well as we bought them a plate of food just for themselves. They aren't spoiled at all.

Guest week

Saturday arrived and after working pretty much all day it was time to go and collect my mate mdickens from the bus station.

Holiday mode engaged (for about half an hour)
Holiday mode engaged (for about half an hour)
Out for a lovely dinner at our favourite restaurant
Out for a lovely dinner at our favourite restaurant
What would a wood chucker do...
What would a wood chucker do...
Happy Irish Bird
Happy Irish Bird
More KERPLUNK fun
More KERPLUNK fun
The puppies were happy...
The puppies were happy...
He arrived after a pretty good journey and after showing him around both me and he jumped into the pool to chat, drink beer, and relax. It was just what I needed after the epic working efforts of the previous week or so and it was great to catch up with him. He was here to relax completely while I still had work to do (and A was quite busy with her day job also) so he had a lovely relaxing week sitting in the sun, walking the dogs and doing other things that didn't get photographed while I spent the majority of every day glued to this computer. He did, however, ensure that I got away a little more regularly than I had been and it was a wonderful visit. He also got involved in the wood-shifting, taking a little while of one day to do some exercise by throwing it into the Wood Room; what a guy. A had some time also to harvest and she pulled loads of spuds and has clamped them in sand in a bucket. The weather really changed during that week as well and it was cold and damp enough to actually light the fire. We had a game of SBG (mdickens won!) and also a game of KERPLUNK... A brilliant week well enjoyed by all of us

Tasty tasty Iskander Kebab
Tasty tasty Iskander Kebab
The chicken, crossing the road, using the crossing
The chicken, crossing the road, using the crossing
A whole new site opened up
A whole new site opened up
Workmen shifting stones the old fashioned way
Workmen shifting stones the old fashioned way
Another view of the new area they're excavating
Another view of the new area they're excavating
An altar, a better view now the paths have been finished
An altar, a better view now the paths have been finished
Sturdy scaffold so you can climb the tower
Sturdy scaffold so you can climb the tower
From the top of the tower
From the top of the tower
Reconstructed walls
Reconstructed walls
The last couple of days of his visit we had a couple of activities. First of all we went down to have Iskander Kebab in town, and he loved it (and also liked the dessert) and then on the Friday we were up bright and early to go to Perperikon to show him some of the history of this region. We arrived in plenty of time, first tourist on the hill which is always good, and made our way up and were surprised to see that since our last visit, a couple of years ago, a huge new area has been exposed and is being excavated. Amazing. They have also rebuilt some of the walls on the top which is slightly less amazing however it hasn't been done too badly and at least with original materials. We had a brilliant walk around and also climbed the scaffold that has been erected to allow you to get to the top of the tower. Thelma is definitely scarred from her jump off the Devils Bridge as she refused to walk over the raised walkways, and was terrified at the top of the tower. Poor thing. We didn't rush around but made it back anyway in time for A's work, and mine of course.

The locals have lit their fires at night
The locals have lit their fires at night
Louise warming up
Louise warming up
And then it was time for him to go home. We had a lovely brew on the balcony on the last morning, watching the sun as it rose. Louise was most unimpressed with how cool it was and hid inside A's top. We took mdickens to the bus stop and made sure he was on the correct bus and then it was back to the desk for me and I worked from 8.30 until midnight once again. Not healthy.

Now

And so we catch up to today, and a couple of general updates.


Nastily infected foot on Baker
Nastily infected foot on Baker
A has cut the infection out
A has cut the infection out
Keeping Baker calm with a towel over her head
Keeping Baker calm with a towel over her head
First of all: chickens. Above is a video of the very end of a short fight between two of our roosters. Of course they stopped as soon as I got the camera out and the loser ran off. They are also starting to crow. How long they last before ending up in the pot, only time will tell. Secondly A noticed Baker was limping and had a look at her feet and found they are infected so today we had to try to operate to remove the infection otherwise it would kill her. A did a fantastic job with the scalpel and hopefully now Baker will recover. We'll have to keep an eye on her for a while though.

Emptying the pool
Emptying the pool
Finally we've emptied the swimming pool and it is now drying outside ready to be put into storage. It's still warm in the sun but the air temperature has dropped substantially and we don't want to leave it up too long and then find it hard to dry as it's not sunny, or it's raining. Like last night when there was barely a cloud in the sky then suddenly there was a flash of lightning and the heavens opened. Now is the time, sadly, to say goodbye to the pool for the year. We've been sitting out on the balcony more, however, now the flies have gone away a bit. That's a real pleasure.

And there you have it; I've managed to get the update done. I'm sorry it's been so delayed but unfortunately it's just one of those things and maybe the next update might not be until next Sunday at the earliest again. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Working, London and a birthday

It's been a while since I updated as I've been so incredibly busy with work. I actually haven't got all that many photographs or videos at all from the last ten days as it feels like all I've done is travelled or sat at this desk. Now I am sat back at this desk for you lovely people getting this update written. I hope you appreciate it.

Tomatoes and peppers from the garden
Tomatoes and peppers from the garden
One batch completed
One batch completed
A box full of beer
A box full of beer
Goodness inside
Goodness inside
A bearded man with a beardy bottle of beer
A bearded man with a beardy bottle of beer
Out for dinner again
Out for dinner again
My Beef Iskander
My Beef Iskander
She got pancakes with chocolate sauce
She got pancakes with chocolate sauce
The update is bookended by tomatoes. Lots of tomatoes. Our raised beds (and the long bed down the side of the fenced garden) have started producing a huge harvest. These pictures are from a week ago last Monday and as I type this A is making more preserve to follow this lot. I'll get involved once we have to take green tomatoes off as I want to make some more chutney this year. I had another awesome arrival as well that day as my beers from Islay Ales arrived after being safely couriered across Europe. These have now gone into storage to wait for cold weather and Christmas. I was working all day, which will become a refrain during this update, and we headed out for dinner to have Iskander and Kunefe. Unfortunately they didn't have Kunefe (which outraged A) however she made do with some very lovely pancakes.

Getting ready to start on this
Getting ready to start on this
The Beorn as Man figure
The Beorn as Man figure
A beautiful sunset
A beautiful sunset


I've got a picture of a lovely sunset from the Tuesday, as well as evidence that I tried to do some hobbying that day, gluing together the Beorn and Bear model which A is going to be using once I've finished it. On the Wednesday we had a delivery of wood, the second batch, which Bekir came over with and we dumped outside the garage for us to eventually store inside as our long term supply. And that is it, other than working. I really was very busy in the job I'm doing at the moment and it was a bit rubbish with me stuck to this computer and A sat downstairs.

Sat on the 5am bus again
Sat on the 5am bus again
The seat I always get
The seat I always get
First night dinner
First night dinner
I'm a trend setting hipster, donchaknow
I'm a trend setting hipster, donchaknow
An awesome and exciting group of people
An awesome and exciting group of people
Two colleagues hard at work
Two colleagues hard at work
The alarm went off at 4am on Thursday morning as once again I was getting the early bus to Sofia to fly to the UK, though this time to London for business. The bus journey was pretty scary as the driver kept trying to over take on blind hills and corners and having to swerve to avoid killing us (and oncoming traffic) and then on the flight just as I managed to drop off some kid came screaming up the aisle, stopped, and yelled back at his dad and so I was rather shattered by the time I arrived at my hotel, post train and underground. I had a shower, a nap, then made it into the office for a brief conversation with the guys there before taking myself for beer, a burger and a read. The next day was the beginning of the main meetings and I was most impressed with my "hipster laptop bag" (seeing as we were in Shoreditch) but less so with the breakfast. The next two days passed in a blur of meetings and discussion but were so super productive and it felt really worth while having travelled over. We went out for a meal on the Friday night to a very nice restaurant and after that had a few beers at a pub as well.

It rained. Hard.
It rained. Hard.
Thelma doesn't like thunder storms
Thelma doesn't like thunder storms
Melon grown in our garden, and Oranges - A trying to keep me healthy
Melon grown in our garden, and Oranges - A trying to keep me healthy
Home made bread butty, brought to my desk
Home made bread butty, brought to my desk
She's an artist!
She's an artist!
A celebration whisky that the week is over (for a day)
A celebration whisky that the week is over (for a day)
All in all it was a great weekend but by the time I got on the plane back home, after a 2am taxi pickup for a 3.30am bus to Gatwick, I was pretty tired. Sadly once again I struggled to sleep on the flight and then on the bus as the air conditioning on the bus didn't work when the bus was driving fast (and they do like to drive fast). Still I was home half an hour ahead of schedule and so happy to be back. After a shower the first thing we did was get into the pool and we lay there for a fair while relaxing and enjoying being together again. The next day it rained and rained all day, with a storm as well (which Thelma was very unimpressed about) but I didn't see much of it as I had entered into my really busy schedule of 14-16 hour days that I have kept, with barely a break, on Monday Tuesday and Wednesday this week. It was worth it as I was able to demo the software I was writing yesterday afternoon and people seemed very impressed. A has taken the week off which is frustrating as I'm so busy however she has discovered an incredible talent for drawing and has produced loads of superb artwork through the week. Such a talent!

A getting ready to unwrap her presents, with help
A getting ready to unwrap her presents, with help


Sat on the balcony having a brew together
Sat on the balcony having a brew together
We're about to harvest all them there tomatoes
We're about to harvest all them there tomatoes
All of them!
All of them!


Mixing up a storm
Mixing up a storm
And so to this morning and what a morning it was. It is A's birthday today and so I woke her with coffee, puppies, and pressies in bed. You wouldn't really have known who was supposed to be unwrapping the presents as Thelma in particular did most of the tearing. She then settled down to chew and all the bits of paper while A relaxed and we both laughed at them. Such funny girls. For the first time for ages A and I went onto the balcony with our morning brews and sat and enjoyed the warmth, peace and quiet, and relaxation. It was lovely. Then it was time to go out and harvest the tomatoes which I mentioned earlier. We managed to get a lot, and there are loads still not ripe (and even some flowers still blooming!). Before she got on with processing them, and I came upstairs to type this, we went onto the patio with a brew and A played tug with both Rambo and the girls. They love that toy! Since then I've quickly typed this and A has put two HUGE pans of tomatoes on to cook down. Brilliant.

I'm going to leave this there; it a few hours SandS turn up to puppy sit and we head out to a hotel for the night and I cannot wait! I'll see you again next time, thanks for reading.