The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Diet Time - Again

So the time has come to lose the excess flab again. I am starting earlier in the year than usual. To try to get over the problem of dieting when it is cold I am in multiple layers of clothing. I do think it is a lot easier to lose weight when it is warm, but if this year is anything like last year and I wait then I may never start!

So on Monday night on TV  Horizon: Why Are Thin People Not Fat? I just had to watch it.

I was more interested in why Fat People Are Fat... Other than the obvious of eating more calories than your body needs.

1) Evolution. In times of severe famine the 'sort of' politically correct chubby people (as described by the program) survived and the skinny people were wiped out. Survival of the fattest...
2) Genetics. I'm on to a loser there.
3) Upbringing. Pros and cons here. 
I like puddings. But as a child I was not going to get pudding unless I ate all of my dinner first. So I forced it down and even if I was full I was damned if I was not also going to eat the pudding that had been my ultimate goal. 
'Snacking' was not normally an option, which does seem to be a more prevalent problem now.
4) 'Fat' virus - not so sure about this one, but I have suffered my fair share of air-conditioning spread bugs in the past.
5) In-built programming in your brain to get you to the weight it thinks you should be

Another bummer is fat cells. So, when you put on fat it can be in two ways. The fat cells can just get bigger. But when they reach full size and cannot expand any more your body creates new fat cells. And they never just disappear again when they are no longer needed. I guess that's where liposuction comes in to play...

Hmm... What is my 'natural' weight?

I was a 'chubby' child through my teenage years... And then I got fat during my university years - alcohol and bad diet... And then I made a concerted effort and lost over two and a half stones... And then I kept at around that weight for the next 20+ years with a strict regime of dieting when it crept up... and it has now got away from me again :(

Now is this because my brain thinks I should be fatter or because I have now become a snacker?
I am giving my brain a good talking to. 120 pounds MAX!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cardbox 35181

I have just added in and done pass number one of 15901-16000 8s.

One word of interest that came up was BARLEDUC - a fruit jam. This appears to be no ordinary fruit jam and having done a little research on the web I am afraid to announce that I will be sticking with plain redcurrant jelly. I don't own a goose quill for a start...

An email this morning announcing that the International ratings have now been updated - woohoo. I may well be the first female to have featured in the top ten. Phil Robertshaw has also cracked it for the first time, currently in ninth. The UK also has five more players - Craig Beevers, Harshan, Brett Smitheram, Mikki Nicholson and Austin Shin - in the top twenty. This is probably our best ever showing. Let's hope we can live up to it in the World Scrabble Championships that are still to be announced.

Third Adoption Anniversary

Friday, January 23, 2009

Extension Part 27

Well, quite a lot has happened in just over a week.

Mark has repaired the hole from the cowshed demolition. It had to get worse before it got better. The removal of the very large metal spike proved that it was indeed holding a lot more of the stone in place...

The wall around the patio has been been finished. David has been here today putting in the metal posts ready for the railings. So now everything should be ready for the walls to be capped.

Tom (Thomas's dad) was here at the start of the week with the plasterer just checking out the state of play. We have been told that the utility room and inside of the garden wall can be 'dry rendered' which means that they can make it match the colour of the stonework without us having to paint it. This seems like a great idea, saving us a lot of future maintenance and the hassle of trying to pick the right colour of masonry paint.

Thomas has been here this week working in the sun room on the walls and inside roof.

Although taking a photograph from outside looking in gave this great optical illusion - roof? What roof?

We have emailed off our selection of light fittings. Because the utility room has been moved we now have two lights quite close together at the back. I have suggested we have one lamp to light that area and asked for advice in having more of a floodlight on the utility room to light the garden. We are still waiting to hear back.

No sign of my laundry pulley yet.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Almost On Top of the World

The WESPA International ratings were posted yesterday but with a couple of queries.

Are Philips Owolabi and Lukeman Owolabi the same person? After asking a couple of my Nigerian friends on ISC it appears that they are. Were Bob Lynn and Robert Linn the same person - no. So I had to wait a little longer. An email was waiting for me when I got up this morning - only a slight adjustment from the day before.

New Rating: 2115

Better than my wildest dreams, leaping into second place behind Ganesh. 

I doubt that I will stay there for long - Nigel was leading the iGate tourney in Bangalore when I last looked and the web site is not being updated until that is also rated. But, even if I am only there for just over a week I am still very happy :)
Back to the cardbox...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Extension Part 26

Work started up again on the extension while I was away last week. I was getting updates from Paul.

The windows and doors are now in the sun room, although still need finishing off - draught-proofing amongst other things. We have to make a decision at some time on what colour to paint the woodwork. Dark grey has been suggested and this seems like a sensible option given (hopefully) the sand and grey paving for the patio to be.

The electrician, Wally, has been this week. Yesterday he brought around several brochures for lighting - Paul had said he could not possibly take on such an onerous responsibility and has deferred to me. I am currently going with some aluminium modernish rectangular halogen uplighters for the sun room. Although I may change my mind and go for the rather neat looking adjustable spotlights...

We have also got to select outside lights. I am rather taken by a globe design for the front and a more traditional lantern design for the back. Wally said to let him know our options and he will price them up. I now have a shortlist of seven.

The wiring has now been completed amidst a few bangs and shouts, trying to get a cable from the far end of the house right the way along and out the other into the utility room, where we will have another fuse box. A little diversion through one of our fitted wardrobes was needed in the end. I ordered a laundry pulley for the utility room today - and after surveying where the light in there was to be have moved it about 6 inches nearer the window to be safe.

Mark was back yesterday and has started on the wall around the patio area. It was too cold and frosty for him today. The pillars now have caps.

We are eagerly awaiting what happens next.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

UK Open Part 4

Game 27: Harshan. Not a great starting rack but AHURU got over the problem. Harshan gave me the extra 5. My pickup did not help and we both exchanged tiles on move 2. I bonused with NETTLED, which I was surprised to get another 5 for. Obviously a more effective change than Harshan who just dumped BRR. RANGY(36) from me but a neat slot of C(LA)RINETS from Harshan to be still 30 in arrears. I extended the lead with ZI(G) (33). O(I)NK (37). We exchanged bonuses on move 8, me with vE(S)TIGES and UNSAWED from Harshan but I was still a bonus score ahead. A high scoring FOX (74) from Harshan was not enough to overhaul me.

Game 28: Philips. A slow start from us both, jockeying for position. I bonused with TR(E)ADLES on move 5. I pressed home my advantage with JUMP (45) and KO(P)H (51) aided by a phony UNWILDER from Philips. VO(R)TiCES on move 10 immediately followed by PALIsA(D)E more than countered STEENED from Philips for a 3-figure victory.

Game 29: Phil Robertshaw. No details. Phil will be pleased to know he is taking over the official title of my bogey player - Nigel doesn't count :)

Game 30: Martin Harrison. Martin used to have the above title but I have now hit that on the head. A vowel heavy opening rack and I exchanged 5 tiles. FAINT from Martin and WARTIER on my rack did not play but the N came to my rescue. Another toughie of TERR(A)INS on move 4. ANTlERS on move 5 from Martin but I was still ahead. It was nip and tuck for the next few moves, good scoring by Martin - CLY(P)ED (42), QUINT (56) - overhauling me. OX making OXER/LOME for 46 got me back in front and Martin exchanged tiles. I took the opportunity for a low scoring dump of L(E)ND to balance. HEATINg two moves later from me and game over.

Game 31: Ray Tate. I was not taking this game in vain - Ray has beaten me too many times in the past. I opened with mANIHOT and Ray slotted ZEBU above it for 39. I dumped the Q for not many. BOP from Ray blocking DEF(EN)dERS as a 4-x but SERIfED for 76. CATIONS from Ray on move 5 to get back in contention. He was hanging on in and I was sitting with SI(D)ENOTE which opened a 9-x when he made an opening at the top which allowed me the safer NOISET(T)E. I couldn't decide which was the best placement and was hit with HAUTE which almost cancelled out my bonus. Approaching the end game with a 40 point lead and a parallel play of IRON took out all the floater bar a U for an 8. Ray played C(U)D, holding the last S, but I could see there was no bonus available from the unseen tiles.

Game 32: Theresa C. Theresa opened with a hat-trick - ORIGANE, AWARDEE and PO(R)TALED. I responded with LI(N)GULaR, WUXI(A) and JIGOT to be 60 adrift. ZEA pulled another 20 back. (G)IB from Theresa gave me a spot for the previously unplayable ECHELON and I had taken the lead. (D)IVOT from Theresa gave me an easy 40 for MAVIS. QATS (41) from Theresa. FEDORA (35) from me and I was surprised to pick the last two Ss as I was expecting Theresa to have one from her previous play of QATS, given the open U that had been available. DEBT from Theresa leaving 6 in the bag. I opted for ASHERY despite it emptying the bag - I needed to block down the side of QATS and score. If there was an 8 from the J then c'est la vie. PENgUIN was homeless. A very satisfying win...

Game 33: Cecil Muscat. Cecil is a mutterer and my opening play of ANnULAR set him off from move 1. SE(R)ENATE from him on move 2. TOaZE(D) (75) from me on move 6. Cecil exchanged tiles and I dumped V(I)RL. KI(V)AS for 50 from Cecil and RET(A)RGET (60) from me. I maintained the 100+ lead to the end of the game.

Game 34: Wayne Kelly. Exchanged bonuses on move 3, TREAGUE from Wayne, SE(M)ILUnE from me. VI(n)Y from Wayne giving me a V for UNREA(V)ED (63+5) after an intervening ZA (65). DONNIES (70) from Wayne to take a 1 point lead. I balanced with P(I)VOT. H(O)YA (35) from Wayne. I then got greedy, misremembering PALK for 40, er 0. Luckily the bonus spot was still there next go for PLANKi(N)G. ORATORS from Wayne. FILE (30) above it from me to be 1 point behind. (N)OW (31) from Wayne and XI (38) from me. I draw two vowels from the bag and know Wayne is in trouble...

Dinner break and I am now 3 clear from Craig with 4 to play...

Game 35: Craig Beevers. If I win this game I am home and dry. Not a great opening rack but MEDII sorts out the triple I combo. ZE(D) from Craig. With ACIITU? I opt for the lower scoring but more defensive AUgITIC over (M)AIeUTIC. Craig dumps QA(T). Another vowel-heavy pickup and I dump GEE. Craig spent about 8 minutes on his next move before dumping R(I)N for 5. VOEMA from me, OX from Craig. I bonused with CARIOSE. Another long wait before DANDERS went down - this effectively blocking the bottom right quadrant from immediate bonus opportunities. I took out the CARIOSE floaters with PINE (38) and a bonus-sized lead. VOLU(ME) (22) from Craig. I was now consonant bound, but a neat play of F(I)N(E)RY (30) gave little away. HOER (31) from Craig. (D)OB from me, (V)LEI from Craig. I removed the danger from the triple with TOWT . This proved a good sacrifice as Craig played TINAJA underneath. I bonused with (R)INSABLE (83) to take a 116 point lead. With few vowels left Craig played FaGOT, leaving 1 the bag but with my single U PLUSH (45) took away any hope he had.

So I had won with three games to go. I should have been Gipsonised at this point but the draw had been done one round in advance...

Game 36: Nigel Richards. Nigel opened with DAVY and I responded with BUNNY keeping RT. I picked five more consonants. OO from Nigel and I changed tiles. I(D)EALISE from Nigel and with 6 consonants now I restricted the triple with MOWN. FAKE (40) from Nigel. I bonused with PLOATED on move 6 to get back within 8. And then I watched as he ran away from me. There was still a small hope and I made an opening. He took it with MANlIER. I could have been reckless at this point and opened the 9-x but the unseen tiles were RETAINSLTZ...

The end of a long but successful day. I treated myself to a couple of large glasses of red and an evening off from clearing my cardbox. Amy kept me company and we were the last to leave the bar in the early hours...

Game 37: Jason Carney. Another vowel heavy start seeing me dumping vowels on my first four moves. ASSENTs on move 5. ZIN(G)S (50) from Jason but letting me off the hook with DOO(Z)Y (54). G(O)X (38) from Jason to take a 1 point lead. DIHEDRA on move 8 to give me a decent sized lead. A late bonus of TONSURE(D) to increase the irrelevant spread.

Game 38: Phil Robertshaw. Phil was now safe in second place so the clever computer pairing program matched us. I couldn't let him beat me for a third time. My opening rack was not boding well, seven vowels so I changed 6 keeping an E. Phil opened with ALLOW and I dumped (L)ACUNAR. It improved and I bonused on move 3 with INHErES following it with ZETA (47). BARR(U)LEt from Phil to go 6 behind. I balanced with (V)I(B)E. Phil's play of FOGEY/(VIBE)Y showed me he didn't know LACUNARY but he later dumped the second Y elsewhere. As it was I did not need the secret weapon scoring with XEN(I)A (56), QOP(H) (36), PLOD/(XENIA)L (40+5), MUSTING (79), JOTUN (42). Phil got a consolation bonus of SCARIER at the end.

I kept track of blanks in all games except game 24 against Mikki. I will assume I had them both I certainly had more than my fair share but not ridiculously so.
Both blanks: W15/15; One blank W: 14/16; Zero blanks W: 2/7

Tourney rating: 213
Still eagerly awaiting the International ratings update :)

Many thanks to Len, John, Amy and Craig for another excellently run tourney. Paul has deemed the trophy tasteful enough to have a short stay on the mantelpiece before retiring to the trophy windowsill in the study...

Monday, January 12, 2009

UK Open Part 3

Game 19: Wayne Kelly. Another dream start with the tough find of ARIDEST as a 4-x, and I gained 5 for the hook (HAME)D. There was a high scoring sequence from us both in the middle of the game - COdEINE(80), WHIZ (57), FLUED(53), ANIMATE(R) (62) from Wayne and WARTY (35), (E)XTREATS (67), BRIT (41), V(R)OW (42) from me. But I kept going with a simple (H)IS/(ANIMATER)S for 36 followed by SNaCKER for 93...

Half way through the tourney and all is well.

Game 20: Allan Simmons. The local derby. Vowel heavy starting rack and I dump OIDIA. The opposite from Allan, R(I)GHT. My next rack looked very similar to the first - 6 vowels and a D, but (G)EODE was available and I thought better than DOE/(RIGHT)O. (DE)MO from Allan and my rack was starting to mature. I dumped another O and bonused the next move with PENATES. The outcome of this game kept swinging one way and then the other. I had taken the lead with (E)STIMAtE down the right hand edge and the following move killed the dangerous floaters with CARNE(t) but Allan then played InERTIA at C2a and then XU/XI/Un above it for 37. CLOZE for 38 from me to go 4 up and BENDING sitting on my rack ready to go on B(Un). Another eternity waiting for Allan to play. With the J unseen he could well dump it there. Eventually he played LU(R)K at the bottom and game over.

Game 21: Theresa C. I got ahead early on with dUSTIER and RENITEN(T). A nice spot of NO(B)ELIUM on move 9 meant my score was exactly twice that of Theresa. I knew my chemistry degree would come in handy one day. She got a consolation bonus of BOASTeD near the end.

Game 22: Martin Harrison. No details of this game but I think I had everything :)

Repeat pairings now kicked in.

Game 23: Craig Beevers. He opened with the good old chestnut QI. I dumped IO under it. This tactic looked to be working as Craig was forced into a low scoring response. It looked even better when I followed MOLD with RIANTLY/(MOLD)Y. And then Craig got back-to-back bonuses of UNLEA(R)NT and (T)WISTIeR. I was still keeping in touch - exchanging bingos on move 8 (UNIDEAED from Craig, SANDERS from me). Unfortunately mine opened the triple and BEATY for 63 left me struggling.

Game 24: Mikki Nicholson. No details - a biggish win for me.

Game 25: Adrian Tamas. No details - a smallish win for Adrian.

Game 26: Nigel Richards. Nigel opened with GIMP and I bonused straight away with DELUdES. Oh Happy Days - I pick the second blank straight away, although with clunky consonants. FATAL from Nigel, KOW from me. Nigel bonuses with DE(M)ENTIA but GYRO for 40 seems a reasonable response. Still no bonus but TWA for 33 is keeping me ahead. EEJIT from Nigel and now the easy bonus ONAGERs hits the board. Nigel chips away at my lead. Heading to the end game and I have picked the Q and could just dump it for 22, but with a U and Is unseen I decide to try for something better. I play NEE at 13Bd. I am rewarded with a rack of AEIUQRT. Nigel had a bonus on his rack but felt forced to block. At this point I was 43 points up and went into slight panic mode - I was one out on my tracking. I had about 8 minutes left and spent 7 of those still not finding my mistake, In the end I played QUARTE onto the triple for 51 determining that this should be good enough even if he had a bonus and stuck me with the X. As it was Nigel had no bonus and the X...

End of day 3, in second place behind Craig on spread. We both had a cushion of 3.5 games from Mikki in third place.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

UK Open Part 2

We had ten games scheduled for day 2, the first seven completing the 'half' round-robin - the field had been split into two equally rated groups - and then the swiss pairing would kick in.

Game 9: Chrys Placca. Chrys started with ZINGERS for 104 and my rack was not great, being consonant heavy. M(I)TTEN and more consonants but a vowel dump by Chrys and I could play HITCH for 43. SNOO(Z)E from Chrys but my XU countered that. CORK for 40 from Chrys and I was almost back where I started. Chrys now got way too defensive, my openings outscoring his blocking on every move. A large dose of luck for me when I picked both blanks and my bonus took me into the lead for the first time. We were nip-and-tuck until the end game where a high-scoring DEB(B)Y saw me home.

Game 10: Nuala O'Rourke. Nuala had had a dreadful day 1 but had won her first game of day 2. Unfortunately for her this was not the start of a run. Five bonuses from me - NAIVETE, TOLUIDE(S), ARSHIN(E)S, PALEsTR(A) and TOUSIER against her SWEA(T)IEr gave me my biggest win of the tourney.

Game 11: Mikki Nicholson. REDSTAR(T), TINKERE(D) and FADDIE(S)T by move 5 gave me a substantial lead. AREOLES and COSMEAS from Mikki reduced the lead considerably but he ran out of tiles to overhaul me.

Game 12: Steve Perry. Can't remember much about this game... I won

Game 13: Nigel Richards. Can't remember much about this game... I lost

Game 14: Philips Owolabi. I got off to a good start but Philips was not letting me go without a fight. I was pleased with my spot of BAT(A)VIA hooking (PIQUE)T which got me 45+5 (I kept an S that would be not fit), and was a little surprised to be hit with JINNEE for 67 off the opening it made. A costly error by Philips with ENDER hooking 5 words for a very large score - unfortunately for him one of them was (BEL)D - it seemed like an eternity before he hit the clock. I could block the danger spot and picked the last S which Philips probably would have got...

Game 15: Phil Robertshaw. Phil opened with a phony. I didn't notice and even went as far as mis-tracking what my brain thought he'd played as opposed to what he had. Interestingly even if I had noticed I would probably, after wasting time, have let it stand as OROADES gave me the floater I needed for PINE(R)IES and with no 7 and no way of stopping ROADEOS next go what the heck. After that things went downhill... a 20 move game with Phil averaging 59.9 a go :)

We were now starting the Swiss pairing.

Game 16: Craig Beevers. My opening play of JEFE was hit with HARDLiN(E). I counterpunched with (D)OITIT for 14. All he could respond with was SENARII. A cunning set up play of OWE from me - splitting the lovely UW combo. A very neat RORY from Craig for a mere 46. But then I took off in chase. FADEOUT (87), HEtAE(R)IA (79), ZOA (65) and suddenly I had overhauled his lead. CAIN from Craig and I was faced with a decision - CROWD or COWARD to restrict the bonus line or hold back the W for W(AI). I made the choice based on a consonant-heavy bag. MISAVER from Craig that otherwise would not have gone on. But I had the X for 52 and a small lead again. P(I)GGED from Craig matched with TITE from me. Another consonant dump of LOV(i)NG from Craig. I had a lucky pickup and QU(A)IL for 48. Craig's last rack of ACKLMPS and I had EENNTUY. KLAPS from Craig for 59 and a 17 point lead. I could only see one place for him to play out and blocked it with TEEN for 23. If he blocked my playout of (L)UNY I could score enough with YU to win. Craig spent the remainder of his time trying to find a win and in the end tried C(A)M(I) which I challenged off.

Thankfully it was dinner after this game...

Game 17: Harshan. Harshan bonused first with REVISAL and I kept in touch extending my opening play to (FRANK)ING for 48. (G)ORMIEsT on move 8 saw me retake the lead which I held until move 11 when Harshan bonused with SENHORA to go a single point ahead. WOOT for 30 from me to block the 9x he had opened. Harshan blocked the high-scoring opportunity this had created with ID for 23 but I was home and dry as long as I didn't do anything stupid having picked the second blank.

Game 18: Bob Lynn. Two bonuses apiece in the early game (VEDA(L)IAS, LANTER(N)S by me, YANkERS, DE(S)POTIc from Bob). Bob pulled ahead with MIL(T)Z and then blocked my TRIADIS(M). On a tight board I was forced with my one-pointers to make openings and Bob was blocking. He made a mistake at the end, trying a single OODLE which I challenged off and my bingo went on to take a 10 point lead. We were both very low on the clock and I think Bob could have forced a draw but as it was he didn't find the two move playout so I managed a narrow victory.

So, 8-2 for the day, 15-3 for the tourney and one game clear in the lead ahead of Craig although his spread was a lot better than mine. Repeated my routine of the night before - half a cider, clear cardbox and go to bed...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

UK Open Part 1

Allan was taking Amy back down south for college so I got the train/coach/train/taxi down on Sunday, arriving at around 7 p.m.

Llewellyn Jegels hailed by when I wandered down to the bar - I had not recognized him when I had first arrived. I had half a pint of cider and we played a friendly that I just sneaked the win - I really don't like wasting my brain power during tourneys :)

An earlyish night, clearing my cardbox before actually going to bed. Up fairly early as I awoke feeling freezing cold - discovered most of the bedcovers had fallen off the bed - and had a bath to warm up before going down to breakfast. Back up to my room to clear my cardbox again. This was to become the routine through the week - clear cardbox each morning, lunchtime and night...

More people were starting to arrive - we were due to kick-off at 12.15 p.m. As it was we were about 20 minutes late starting but this was made up in the evening.

Game 1: Jake Jacobs. I couldn't have asked for a much better start to the tourney - SEQUENt for 100 points followed immediately with AVIETTE. SWOTTER and PRIGGED later in the game sealed a large win.

Game 2: Paul Burton. This started very differently. We both exchanged tiles on move 1. Paul exchanged again. I bonused with AGENTED and Paul played a phony D(E)ARNING, so no score after 3 moves. Holding EHPRSTT I blocked the easy 7s with H(E)P but GRANNIED around the other E never hit the board. SCATTER from me. Paul did recover from his poor start, bonusing on move 6 with REWINDS, and later FaINTER and a very nice spot of TURNKEY also with a blank. However a late play of FILA(C)ERS got me back to win by 10.

Game 3: Alex Gboye Balogun. My opening rack was AEEELMS and I played EME - maybe EE would have been better. I picked 3 more vowels. Another vowel dump, leaving AES and I picked a second S and 3 vowels. I dump SUI and pick a 3rd S and two vowels. I dump SEI and pick the 4th S and 2 vowels! Alex bonused with EXALT(I)NG. Another vowel dump and another replacement with more vowels. I could hardly believe it when Alex gave me an open G for ASSE(G)AAI and followed it immediately with UNB(A)ITED. More balanced racks then saw me home.

Game 4: Len Moir. I open with VOLT from LLOOTTV, and Len bonuses with REUNI(T)ES realising shortly after he missed UNI(V)ERSE as a 4-x. He follows it with STEAMING on move 2 and DECRIERS on move 4. I get a consolation bonus of (G)EARlESS right at the end to reduce Len's winning spread.

Game 5: Alastair Richards. I have played Alastair before so was prepared for his playing like a bat out of hell. It was close at the start. A phony of RECAGED from Alastair on move 4 which could well have cost him the game. ANTISAG followed by PAGODaS from me on moves 8 and 9, but Alastair was keeping up with scores of 64 and 69. Good scoring from me at the end clinched the game.

Game 6: David Steel. Another close win for me with bonuses of R(E)BOILED and DATURAS to David's HORNIEST. I chickened out of PARTA(K)ER in this game but luckily it did not prove costly.

Game 7: Adrian Tamas. I can recall no details of this game but I won by 200 :)

Game 8: Paul (Aus) Richards. Again no details other than a smooth win with solid scoring throughout. The real thing of note was that we finished before Alastair, who had asked for the room key just before we started. I joked that Paul should go and ask for it back :)

End of Day 1: Lying in second place with Harshan, me, Philips and Nigel all on 7-1

Friday, January 09, 2009

Over The Moon 'Arry

I got back from Coventry at just after 5 p.m. with the trophy, cheque and a sore throat. 

Feeling absolutely shattered but happy. 

Now have the funding for the King's Cup and the next Causeway Challenge - woohoo.

Highlights will be posted over the next few days when I have recovered - too many games to go through them all...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Chocolate-Free Day

Yesterday was my first chocolate-free day since Christmas. 

That is not to say all the chocolate has been eaten yet.

I am too scared to get on the scales at the moment. 

Maybe after I get back from Coventry - but then again, maybe not...

Friday, January 02, 2009

Born Free

Jen was allowed a run in the garden at lunchtime...

I could hear Paul shouting at her as she headed towards the drive. 

Give her her due, she ran back up and down the lawn a couple of times before heading straight through the building site, out through the ungated gateway, across the road, down to the river, back up to the road, along it at top speed, up the drive and completing her jaunt back at the extension. She was hardly out of breath and looking very pleased with herself. 

I will feel a lot happier when we get the enclosed back garden sorted.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008 Budget Report

The two end-of-year financial reports were printed by Paul today - spend versus budget and the 2007/2008 comparison report.

The good news is that if we were not having the extension built our income exceeded expenditure - always a good thing. Paul did do some work last year but our main income is from bank interest so this will be plummeting in the coming year. I did add a little to the pot with one significant scrabble prize-money win.

Our expenditure was also fairly significantly below budget. 

We have three holiday budgets - bridge, scrabble and other. No 'other' holiday this year (well, we are permanently on holiday) was our major saving, but Paul cheated on his bridge holiday budget by offsetting his Pau trip against 'other' so that his overspend looks less than mine!

We spent very little last year on household maintenance - no major disasters that needed work done to fix. I also did my bit on gardening - very few trips out to garden centres/nurseries and no binge ordering plants online. This year should be more expensive though getting the new back garden developed.

Also a very cheap year on clothing - no mad shopping sprees. Gipson family pact also helped on our gifts budget.

Other than tax (booh!) our only major overspends have been the cars - the cost of petrol last year being a real bummer and extra servicing/maintenance.

If I remove the depreciation of the value of our cars from the year on year report we actually spent less than 2007. 

The significant movers and shakers were: 
Bills: the cost of heating oil and we had our septic tank emptied
Healthcare: Paul needed new glasses and we now have a dentist
Holidays/Household maintenance: See above
Leisure and Entertainment: I didn't buy myself another emerald bracelet :(

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