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


Monday, June 29, 2009

King's Cup/Penang Open - The End

So this foray is coming to an end. I fly home in just over 12 hours time.

A little disappointing on the results front, 3rd and 10th, but I had a great time. And not too much damage to my international rating. And I won about 250 quid so could have been a lot worse...

And I think I may even have lost about half a pound in weight. I really want scales that measure in tenths of kilograms :)

It looks as though I may be leaving one permanent heat wave for another temporary one, but hopefully it will not be as humid at home.

Really looking forward to my return trip to the far east in November - how many more words can I learn by then????

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Penang Open

I should have more time to blog tomorrow, assuming I make it back to Bangkok...

The warm-up event is over. I would have preferred it to be over at the end of game 16 or 17...

So king-of-the-hill all the way today, meaning I played Suanne in the first game of the day. A nerve-wracking battle of wits that I won by 2 points. My win was rewarded with a good helping of jam against Nigel. So Suanne again, another really close one but I couldn't quite overhaul her large early lead losing by 5. And then Suanne again but I was completely powerless this time and got splatted. Strangely enough it was the only one I got to start againsty her...

So that meant I was almost guaranteed 3rd place (assuming Vannitha could not beat me by over 500 in the last game) and would be 2nd if Suanne could beat Nigel in the final game. Unfortunately for us both she could not.

I had a great time meeting up with old friends, a lot of whom will also be making their way to Bangkok in the next couple of days. And third place almost covers the cost of this side trip :)

It was not a successful tourney for the Thais. Pakorn never arrived – we hope he has not been quarantined on his way in else he will miss the start of the King's Cup, and there was a pairings mistake for Gerry in the last game which I only heard about at the end when I realised he was nowhere to be found. I hope he comes to the hotel or phones tomorrow to sort out getting to the airport...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

King's Cup/Penang Open - The Journey

Maureen phoned from their way back from Derby saying they would be home by 6.30 pm and did I want to go out for a Chinese when I got there. Hmm... yes please.

I set out at around 5.30 pm. A quick stop for petrol at Dunbar and a dive into Asda to buy a jar of Branston pickle for Gerry, and back on the road.

A brief hold up on the Edinburgh ringroad - 20 minutes of stop/start/slow crawl for no discernable reason and then a clear run on the M8. Got through Glasgow with no holdups and across the Erskine bridge without the roadworks that had been promised throughout most of the journey.

And then all stop...

Just over 5 miles to go but noone was going anywhere.

I phoned Paul to get him to let C&M know the situation. Apparently heavy rain had caused flash flooding. I phoned again after another half an hour - C&M knew all about it having also been held up in it on their way back from Derby...

So two and a quarter hours later I did the last 5 miles, arriving at around 10 p.m. Luckily this wasn't sleepy Berwickshire where if you're not in and seated at a restaurant by about 7.30 pm you ain't gonna eat.

A lazy morning and then C&M took me to the airport at midday.

Flight delayed by just over half an hour but that just meant less time to kill in Dubai. First leg went quickly - watched Quantum of Solace and Slumdog Millionaire.

On asking where the smoking room was the very nice airport man suggested that I go to the bar where I could also smoke - "much more pleasant". There were no free tables but after a couple of minutes one became free. There was a chap behind me also waiting so I indicated that I was happy for him to take the other seat. I ordered a beer and got my laptop out to kill some time. When I went to get the bill my tablemate said he would pick up the tab - he was there for the long term, seven hours to kill...

My plan to sleep on the second leg was thwarted from the outset. The blessings of in-seat entertainment became less of one when you can't switch it off from 'passenger announcements'. OK, for the safety stuff well and good, but the non-essential advertisements...and everything in duplicate - Arabic and English. Half an hour later and I was just beginning to snooze when all the lights went on - breakfast! I gave up and watched the Watchmen...

A couple of holdups getting out the airport. Every passenger had to fill in a health questionnaire -a reaction to swine flu, with threatened quarantine if they thought you looked dodgy or had a high temperature. And then I picked the immigration queue where the camera decided to stop working properly about 3 people before my turn...Eventually I got through. The 'Land of Smiles' was actually one of face masks and frowns...

Gerry had said to turn right as I came out but I was beginning to wonder if he meant outside out as there was no sign of him in amongst the people waiting nor at the second throng. I kept walking and then spotted him at the next meeting point. I was safely deposited at the apartment and then Gerry had to go back to work.

Just chilling out today - can you actually do that in this heat???? Off to Penang tomorrow afternoon...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Doing My Bit for the Economy

As previously mentioned I was out spending money last week on new shoes - two pairs suitable for driving in and two pairs of sandals. Unfortunately not at two pounds a pair but not Sex in the City expensive...

Then on Sunday my sister phoned. I had been bemoaning the fact that late last year Paul wouldn't fork out 500 quid for a pair of tickets to see Leonard Cohen in Edinburgh. I had thought that could well have been any chance to see him gone forever.

Had I seen he was doing a concert in Weybridge in July? Check diary - nothing else on. I got onto the ticket master site - also doing one closer to home but no tickets available. But I could get a ticket for Weybridge. Woohoo! Ticket bought and then I had to work out the logistics. Phoned my friend Lucy in Reading - yes, no problem staying there. And now train tickets booked.

On Tuesday I took my car out for a spin - to Lamberton nursery... This is another excellent local nursery specialising in alpine plants. I had to restrain myself from buying too much as I am off on Sunday to stay with Colin and Maureen prior to flying out from Glasgow the following day.

But there were herbs there and that bed is up and running. Two varieties of rosemary, a purple sage and two varieties of thyme - although this is destined to be planted between the slabs of my discovered path in LB11/12. Also for that area a beautiful shocking pink dianthus - needs a sunny position, poor soil - perfect. And I was overwhelmed by a table covered in pots of rhodohypoxises, also from shocking pinks down the colour spectrum to white. Should I, shouldn't I... And then I spotted a very pale pink one called Helen - it just had to be.

Back home again and out in the garden. The soil in the herb patch has settled somewhat so after weeding it I was back to top soil sifting. I added another three barrow loads to get the level back up to just below the path. Rosemaries and sage planted at intervals at the far end. The lavenders should be ready to go in when I get back from Bangkok.

And then I earthed up the first two rows of potatoes. Weed and dig over between the rows first. Then I weeded between the plants. Then I tried to draw up the soil with my hoe - impossible. I resorted to spade, hands and cheating. There was not enough soil by the top of the new steps as the hard core slopes down there so I resorted to more sifting and just piling it on. I am not convinced I have been ruthless enough, leaving too much growth still exposed - this is all a new learning curve for me. I may need to do the far end row (Jean's potatoes) before I go...and do my bit for the world economy.

On other gardening matters I have planted the deutzias in LB11 and lilies in LB12. I have broken a tine on my fork in the fruit tree bed. Struggling to dislodge something deep down and then there was a muffled twang - a rock too far :(

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

It is With Great Sadness

that I decided the time had come (well, actually was well overdue) to throw my best value ever shoes in the dustbin.

I can't remember when I bought them but I would guess at least seven years ago.

I can, however, remember buying them. We had taken my mother out on a garden centre/shopping trip and had ended up in Matalan near Ramsgate. Four pounds the ticket said. I had to get a Matalan card to buy them, along with a pair of trainers that I am wearing as I type. When we got to the checkout they were rung up as two pounds.

Alvin Hall would be proud of me on his 'cost per wear' scale. May even have set a world record...

I can't express how much I loved those shoes. Great for driving in. Worn most days for the dog walks the first couple of years up here. Latterly assigned as my gardening shoes although they still had the occasional outing in the car and with the dogs.

But they were beginning to fall apart, and a shoe shopping spree at the end of last week means I now have replacements although they have a tough act to follow.

I thought they deserved a eulogy and to be photographed for posterity before I assigned them to the dustbin.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Extension Part 39 and the Great Tile Debate

Two days later than advertised Alan has been, fitted the glass in the internal door from the sitting room and removed the plasterboard. We can now start getting the room back into some kind of order.

This should have been reason for great celebration.

But yesterday we noticed a crack in the wood of one of the window sills that will need replacing. And more importantly a split in the wood at the bottom of the external door out onto the patio...

Some more tile samples arrived yesterday.

My original claim that we would end up choosing the first tile we saw have proved wrong.

The problem now being that there is one tile that I feel passionately would look absolutely stunning...

.............................................................................and another that Paul prefers ->

I like the one that Paul favours and it does have advantages. Manufactured so uniform depth, will not need sealing or polishing, comes in several different sizes and is a little cheaper. I have offered a compromise. His in the sunroom and mine in the utility room. Can't say fairer than that. But Paul is worried that if my tile does look stunning he will never hear the end of it...

Comments welcome re tile choice - especially if you like mine best :)

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