Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Books 19 & 20 of 2016: Noble Savage A Novel by Nicholas Sheppard & On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas De Quincey

I've been making a serious effort to try and read lots of the ebooks currently clogging up my Kindle, many of which have been hanging out on my device since I got it (and some have been residing in the cloud since before I got my current Kindle, way back in 2012). I hate the thought of any book going unloved and unread, even if it's a digital copy, and so it was with this in mind that I selected Noble Savage by Nicolas Sheppard to read at the beginning of May.

This cover image is actually a different cover to the edition on my Kindle, though the book itself seems to be the same; mine has a photo of a Maori man with Ta moko and the title of the book.

Dr John Savage returns from a voyage to the islands of New Zealand with one of the men who lived there, Mohanga. He brings him back to London and the pair develop an unusual friendship in the ever changing city. Until one day Mohanga is lost and Dr Savage must try to find him.

This book feels like it's a text written at the time of the events taking place. The language used it kind of archaic which helps add to this and it reminded me of some of the books I read during my literature course, except those were obviously written at the time of the events they were describing.

As I was reading it, I couldn't help but wonder whether this was an actual true story. Having read to the end I would have liked to know more about Savage and Mohanga. The book ends with Mohanga's journey back to New Zealand but I'd have liked for it to go with him to see how his experiences of London changed him, and how Savage felt after he had left.

I know relatively little about Maori/New Zealand history and culture but this book seemed really well researched. I notice that the author has written two other books and I'd be tempted to try reading them at some point in the future as well.

I followed up Noble Savage with a quick little Penguin Little Black Classics book, On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas De Quincey.

This is book number 4 in the set and is an essay which treats murder based on its aesthetic qualities, enumerating on the deaths of a number of philosophers as he goes. This is followed by a second essay which discusses the English Mail Coach.

I picked up this book because I read Confessions of an English Opium Eater during my Open University Literature course and I recognised the name. Kind of ironic really considering the first book of his that I read did absolutely nothing for me. In the end to get through my first attempt at reading Thomas De Quincey I had to shut myself in the bath with the book and wouldn't let myself out until I'd finished reading it, despite the water temperature dropping! Thankfully this was an easier read than that.

I found this one a little tricky to follow, but I did kind of like the premise. I'd like to know more about the group of people who would meet as sort of murder groupies, I suppose they'd be the forerunners to the people who join in internet forums discussing real life crimes or episodes of CSI.

It kind of reminded me of the satire of Jonathan Swift (A Modest Proposal, which I also read in a Penguin Little Black Classics book). I preferred Swift's take on things to De Quincey's though. I'm pleased to have read this, I feel like I've moved on from the trauma of studying Confessions of an English Opium Eater now, but I can't say that I'm a fan of the author.

Monday, 30 January 2017

IVF# 3: Vlog #2 - Metformin & Side Effects

Despite having a cold, being a snotty wreck, and not having changed out of my pyjamas, in my wisdom I decided to record another vlog about our IVF treatment on Saturday.

In this one I talk about starting the Metformin and the lovely host of side effects that I've received this go around, as well as my attempts to counteract them.

It's a lot shorter this week because I don't have a huge amount to say. But if you can't watch it the gist is this:
  • Metformin side effects as of Saturday included; a squirmy tummy (without actually being upset), headaches, nausea, tiredness, possibly a general run down sort of feeling (which may be contributing to the never ending cold) and anxiety.
  • The nausea has been countered with ginger biscuits (which may or may not be a psychological cure); eating also helps, even though usually when you're feeling like you could throw up this is the last thing you want to do. In the past sea sickness bands have helped but I've misplaced them now.
  • After spending a day feeling all wound up and anxious (and not being able to tell you exactly why) I cracked out the IVF Belief CD which I first got way back on our first go. I've been listening to the first track most nights since then and sleeping a lot better for it.
  • I started off on one Metformin per day (at breakfast) for a week, before upping the dose to two (one at breakfast, one with tea) in order to avoid getting all of the side effects at once. As of recording the video there were no extra side effects to report.
  • Now it's all about the waiting, which we're all very good at, because my next hospital appointment hinges on when my period shows up. It was due yesterday.
I'm planning on making my next video when we've actually been to the hospital and I may or may not make a bonus video demonstrating our journey from home to hospital and back again at the same time.

All being well my period will show up, my hospital appointment will be rescheduled for later this week and I may have another video to post by the weekend!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Welcome To The Snot Factory!

I had big intentions of getting my next vlog recorded today, this one would be pretty short and would discuss my experiences so far of taking Metformin. I even charged up my camera ready to film!

Instead I've woken up today as a human snot factory (thanks to some kindly coworkers who think there's nothing nicer than sharing). I may still record a video at some point (if I can muster up the energy), in which case I'll probably have it up for Monday.

Don't hold your breath though, I'm currently typing this wearing my jammies and a cosy sweater, I'm braless and I've not bothered brushing my hair since I got out the bath. Just the sort of look that I want to have in a video I stick up on YouTube.

I do have sympathy though. Mr Click is being lovely and ran me a bath; Tara came up to keep me company when I got out; and Fez? Fez just gets it:

Friday, 27 January 2017

Introducing Fezziwig

When I spotted the little brown rat, huddled under the house in their cage on the day we went to pick them up, my heart skipped a beat. I've only ever known one agouti rat before, our first ever male rat, and I've longed to have another one ever since. The closest I've ever come was our agouti hooded boy, Ali, who was a lovely little character.

I'd not really believed that there would be a brown rat waiting for us, so while I'd planned names for almost every eventuality, I didn't have a solid choice for our Fezziwig at first. It was like he knew because he wasn't in any great hurry to get out the cage and had to be chased around a bit before the guy could get him out.

Look at the little squish!

This is pretty much how he looked at us for the entire first week and a half that we had them.

In the end I narrowed down the name options to Fezziwig and Pickwick. Pickwick was eventually dismissed based on the fact that it was too close to both Pocket (Fezzi's brother) and Wicket (our black rat who we lost last year). For a few days I swithered on whether or not I'd picked the right name for him but now I can't imagine him being anything else.

Fezziwig has the most nicknames of all of the boys. He gets called Fezzi a lot of the time (because it allows you to rattle off all four names in a nice singsong cadence), he is also called Fez. He's Big Boss Rat and one half of the Terrible Twosome (the other half being Jingle); since he loves to spend time in the hammock he's also called Hammock Rat.

As you can see, where Jingle goes, Fez is usually not far behind:

To start off with it seemed like Jingle was the braver of the two but Fezziwig came into his own once we moved him into the big cage with his brothers. Now I suspect that he's the alpha.He and Pocket often have little squabbles, nothing nasty but enough to put Pocky in his place.

Fez has always liked his food since day one. Whenever we have something to eat, he's the one who'll be at the bars of the cage begging for some. And when you put something into the cage, he's usually the one who goes for the first taste. He can be kind of lazy with it as well, sometimes he'd rather you'd hold something for him (especially if it might make his paws messy) and then he'll just nibble it while you get gunky.

I knew from day one he was going to be a big squish and, as you can see, he's shaping up nicely.

Fezziwig is the rat who comes to greet you when you walk in the room. In the small cage he used to follow you round the cage depending on where in the room you were. In the big cage he hangs out at the top, going from one side to the other, clinging onto the bars of the cage and back again. Just yesterday I opened the door while I was seated on the floor in front of it and he quite boldly walked up my arm then sat on my lap chattering.

I've loved watching him grow this last three weeks and I can't wait to see what the next few weeks bring from him!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Vivid Dreaming

I'm not sure if it's the Metformin or if it's something else but recently I've been having the most crazy vivid dreams.

And they're too interesting not to share.

Monday night
I was back at my Halls of Residence, except they were in a different city and looked totally different. But I still knew it was my Halls. Somehow.

We'd not been there for about ten years, but loads of people who lived there at the same time as me were there too, and we were all picking up our stuff which they'd cleared out of our rooms. They'd piled it all up in the hallway and staircase so we could help ourselves to it, but it was really well packed together so pulling out one item would threaten to bring the whole lot down. Our rooms had already been reassigned to new people; I think mine was occupied by someone called Eilidh.

I managed to find my old printer (which wasn't even the one I had when I was at Uni). I got excited because, 'hey, this'll save me from buying a new one'.

After that I was just wanting to get away with all of my stuff, but the people from Halls were wanting to talk to me. We'd not seen each other in about a decade and several of them were saying that we'd have to meet up some time for a catch up, so I nodded along with them, but at the same time in my dream I was thinking 'we are never going to see each other again'.

Tuesday night
I was at work, except we were in a car park surrounded by houses and flats. We were all working in the car park, doing what we normally do at work.

I had a bit of a problem so I went to speak to my manager who was sitting on a raised platform in the centre of the car park.

It doesn't sound like much but it was really vivid and we had this weird sort of video messaging thing so we could see the people we were talking too. And it felt like a place I've been before, I just can't quite place it in my mind. It's been bugging me ever since.

Wednesday night
This was the most disturbing dream so far but also kind of funny at the same time (in hindsight).

I was in some sort of dark and scary place where there were all kinds of creepy people and things. There were demons or something and I had to walk through this maze of rooms and buildings to get to one specific one. I was given this weird belt which looked like it had been knitted in loopy stitch; as long as I was wearing that, I would be safe and not eaten by a vampire or anything.

Then I was taken out to this green where Pocket was in the small cage by himself and I realised that was why I was there; to pick up my rat who these people had taken. Except his back end and front end were moving around the cage independently of one another, kind of like the bit of Riley's nightmare in Inside Out:

But instead of being open, there were sort of metal discs there, presumably to keep his insides in.

I ended up joining him back together with a couple of magnets, but I was very upset because even though they were fastened together, there was still a join there.

When I woke up, even though I knew it was totally irrational and I knew the dream wasn't real, I still had to go and check up on him to make sure that Pocket was all in one piece. (You'll be pleased to know he was).

Do you remember your dreams? What're the weirdest dreams you've had?

Wednesday, 25 January 2017


... that Dodger is so much better.

He's zipping around all over the place and is decidedly unwonky now. Even his head tilt is unnoticeable. Hopefully tomorrow will be his last trip to the vet (ever)!

... haggis, of course!

It's Burns Night so we've had our haggis, neeps and tatties. And we're not the only ones:

Fezziwig was the first to tuck in and then Jingle (up there) decided to give it a go. As I type this Dodger is tucking in and a few minutes ago Pocket was having a nibble. I was worried that the haggis might be a little too strong for them, but Pocket kept on going back for seconds (and thirds, and fourths) so I think it's safe to say it's a hit!

Introducing new ratties to new foods is definitely one of my favourite things.

... still Oliver Twist.

I can't count the number of times I've woken up to find my Kindle on Mr Click's pillow. In fact, this morning he came back from the bathroom and woke me up to point out that he may have actually been using it as a pillow, since I helpfully left it there while I was reading last night.

I'm blaming the Metformin for this one. I feel so tired. I don't remember this being a side effect last time, but who knows, perhaps I just forgot. I've been alternating one good night's sleep with one bad one (so I'm due for a bad night tonight, last night I slept like a log!) but still can't help but nod off while I'm reading.

I've got less than 20% left to go now and I'm determined that I'll be finished by Sunday.

... series two of 24.

I think I might be enjoying this one a little more than the first series, though Kim Bauer seems to have this uncanny ability to waltz from one disaster to another. How can anyone be so unlucky?!

... another vlog post.

I'd been waiting until I had something to say after starting the Metformin, then I did have something to say about the Metformin and I had no energy to actually say it. I'm hoping to record it either Friday or Saturday and have it uploaded on Saturday, though I make not promises.

I'm also hoping I'll have a hospital appointment next week. If I remember, I'll make a little video about our journey to the hospital. I think that'll be fun. I just wish my camera had enough battery to record the entire thing, but at 2.5 hours long, I think it might be a little too long for people to watch!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Books 17 & 18 of 2016: Titanic The Most Complete Story Ever Told by Matthew Vollbrecht & Stormchaser by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell

Last week I blogged about another Titanic book. I felt so inspired by it that I went on to read a second Titanic book almost immediately afterwards. This one is Titanic The Most Complete Story Ever Told by Matthew Vollbrecht. It contains a great deal of information gathered from a number of different sources to recreate what happened on Titanic's fateful voyage.

I felt as though this book was a lot more personal than the previous one that I read. It went into more detail on the individuals on the vessel than the one I read before. At the same time, I couldn't help but think that it felt a little more 'dramatised' than factual. The author had obviously done his research and was merely taking advantage of the fact that there is still an awful lot which is unknown about the journey, to speculate on what might have happened.

I felt as though it could have done with some good editing. There were a lot of blocks of text that could have been broken up into paragraphs. There were also some places where the wrong words were used. A little more editing should have caught these.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this book was the section which looked at how the loss of the Titanic and her passengers has affected modern cruises and regulations on the water. This was all new to me, though sadly, the number of more recent cruise ship accidents were already known to me.

Of the two Titanic ebooks I read last year, the former was my favourite, but both gave interesting looks into the history and modern myth of Titanic.

It was quite a while between reading the first and second books in the Edge Chronicles series (or the fourth and fifth, depending on which way you look at it), but at the end of April last year I finally got around to it and tackled Stormchaser by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.

Our hero, Twig, is left supposed to be left behind when his father and crew go off storm chasing in search of stormphrax. Unfortunately, the skyship is wrecked and Twig must help the crew get home somehow.

I enjoyed this one a lot more than the first one. In the first book it felt as though each chapter was almost a whole story in its own right, whereas this felt more like a complete story. There were a couple of subplots but they were woven tightly into the main thread.

I still couldn't help but be reminded of the Zamonia novels by Walter Moers; there's something about the Edge that feels quite similar, along with all the different races and creatures who live there. But then again, I was also reminded of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books as well; particularly the Undertown stuff. I imagine that if you've got a child who is enjoying these ones, they might like to try The Amazing Maurice & His Educated Rodents, the Tiffany Aching novels, or perhaps even Monstrous Regiment.

It is darker than its predecessor though. And creepier. I'd say it's one for older readers who won't be easily spooked. The Knights in the Twilight Woods actually scared me (and reminded me of the Doctor Who episode 'Silence in the Library'). I'm guessing that the next one will get darker again.

This book ends by setting up the scene for the next book, which did get me kind of jazzed to actually move on to reading it. Something I must confess that (roughly nine months later) I'm still to do.

Monday, 23 January 2017

The Wonky Rat: An Update

When I introduced Dodger last week I was a little worried that he wouldn't be with us for much longer. An ear infection can be serious business, especially in a little ratty like Dodger. I'd planned to have a little photoshoot with all the boys to get some proper introduction photos but I felt like I needed to get him introduced as soon as possible so I made do with some I'd already gotten on my phone.

Today we returned to the vet for a check up and another dose of antibiotics. I'd been really nervous about him on Friday, slightly less anxious on Saturday and slightly more anxious on Sunday.

Since Friday Dodger's been a lot less wobbly and his head tilt has decreased from what it was. When he's standing still he barely has a tilt, it's when he's moving that it really comes out. The wobble is more pronounced when he's just woken up.

He's back to popcorning. He's flipping his brothers (even though they're significantly bigger than he is). He's eating. He's drinking.

And as of tonight, he's out of the baby cage and into the big one. They all look so tiny in there.

I feel like I should also add in a note that Dodger's right ear has now cost over twice what we paid for him.

And I would do it again if I had to (though I'm hoping against all hopes that we don't).

And when I look at this sweet little face, I'm reminded just why he's worth it!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

IVF #3: Vlog #2

I'd planned to get this up sooner than this, but last weekend I developed a wonderful cold which didn't make the prospect of sitting at my laptop editing a video of myself very attractive.

On the 10th we went for our first official IVF #3 appointment in Glasgow (which necessitated a 5am start) and I recorded the video below shortly after I got home. As of yesterday I've started taking the medications I picked up at that appointment and so far, so good. I think Dodger being poorly on Friday helped take my mind off of it somewhat.

In the video I also talk about the fact that I feel like it's good for your well-being to do something for yourself, something enjoyable, when you have hospital appointments. It's served us well during our previous cycles; I don't mean going out for a huge meal or buying loads of things every time, but I think it's worth doing something a little out of the ordinary to counter the whole hospital experience.

Once again, I'd love it if you'd watch my video and feel free to comment with any thoughts or questions.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Introducing Dodger

As of tomorrow the boys will have been with us for a full two weeks and it's been eventful. Now that we've got a handle on who's who, I thought the time had come for their public introduction to the world.

I'm starting with dinky little Dodger.

He was so tiny when we got him that he could fit quite comfortably into a toilet roll tube (though in the photo above he's squeezed into a far roomier kitchen roll tube). I hate to use the R word, but he was almost certainly the runt of the litter. Developmentally he's always been a little behind his brothers; he still had that big baby rat head (in relation to the rest of his body) when we got him and just looked kind of scrawny. Thankfully he's filled out a bit since then and now he's in proper proportion. While he's still dinky, he's closer in size to his brothers now.

Dodger is named after the Artful Dodger and is often called Little D and Dodgy Rat. Other potential names for him were Tiny Tim and Oliver Twist. But I kind of settled on him being Dodger the minute I spotted him in the cage; my little black and white hooded dumbo rattie (with ears the size of his head) and a big pink tip to the end of his tail.

He lived up to his name by being pretty skittish initially. He's still pretty good about dodging your hands when you want to catch him. He used to hide at the very back of the box, though once we got the grass house (which has holes on four sides) we were able to check up on him a lot more easily.

Dodger does quite like his food. He's been the first to try new foods on several occasions. When we gave them chicken nugget for the first time, it was Dodger who made the first grab; when we gave them scrambly eggs, it was Dodger who came and tried it first. Other food favourites include bagel (especially with cream cheese), turkey and egg white.

And as of today, Dodger is also our most expensive ratty!

Last night he seemed a little bit quiet but then again, all the boys were so I wasn't too concerned. This morning he seemed a bit wobbly, but he's always had this habit of walking with his belly low to the ground so I wasn't sure if it was something entirely new or if it was just a Dodger thing. I couldn't help but think he had a bit of a head tilt, which worried me, but it was hard to tell for certain because it was so subtle.

I finished work early today so we came home and did a deep clean on the big cage. The boys have been in our 'baby cage' while we get to know them and get them used to being handled, but the time has come for an upgrade. Today was supposed to be the day.

Much cleaning and scrubbing and rearranging of furniture followed (because the boys are now going to reside in the living room, rather than the spare bedroom) before we got them out at about 5pm. Where we promptly noticed that Dodger was a whole lot more wobbly and the head tilt was clearly pronounced.

We immediately panicked because any kind of infections in a little rat-sized body are bad news. I got onto the phone a mere 19 minutes before the local vet's practice was due to close and was told to get him there right away after gushing 'my baby rat has developed a head tilt and it's an ear infection and he needs antibiotics' at them.

I feel like I should add an aside in here that our vet is an amazing guy. When I moved to the island 16.5 years ago, our rats were some of the first he'd had to treat and he admitted that he wasn't that experienced with them. Over the years whenever I've taken a ratty to him, he listens to me and trusts me to know what's wrong with my pets. He took one look at Dodger and immediately agreed with our diagnosis.

Dodger got weighed (he's officially dinky) and a dose of antibiotics was calculated for him. He was not impressed with the injection and we got a couple of squeaks out of him. Fun fact: The consultation cost £9, but we can't be charged for the medication because rats need such a tiny amount of it that it's negligible in terms of calculating cost.

And then we came home where he almost immediately seemed to perk up and although still wobbly and wonky, he seems to be less so than earlier on. I'm keeping everything crossed that we've caught it in time.

Dodger action shot! (on Wednesday)
Here's hoping I'll be sharing many more stories and (some slightly less blurry) photos of Dodger here on the blog.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Christmas in Wales: Part 7, Back to Scotland

And so the time came for us to get to Bristol airport, hop out of the car (cleverly leaving my gloves behind on the back seat), and head into the terminal.

We waved goodbye to my Mum (and shed a few tears) then went through security which felt like a much more relaxed affair than when we went through it in Glasgow. The guy was pretty helpful so even though you had to strip off your jacket, belt, shoes, pull your Kindle out your case, put all your medication on display to the other passengers and all the other little things we do to stay safe, it wasn't anywhere near as awkward as on the way down.

It was also quicker as well and soon we were in the departures area where we had about an hour and a half to kill before our flight's gate was announced. Mr Click and I played a round of Carcasonne, I wandered round WH Smith, we both took advantage of our hour's free internet.

I think it was a lot more relaxed because we knew there was no rush to get home. We'd got our hotel booked for Glasgow so all we needed to do was get there. It wasn't as though we had to race on for a ferry.

And the weather was nicer. Which made the return flight a positive breeze.

Once on board we had a brief plane selfie, as you do, then settled in to watch the safety demonstration.

The plane was completely packed on this flight so we were actually able to take off a little earlier than scheduled. It was such a clear day that we had a perfect view of the ground the whole way back as well. I wonder if the view would have been so interesting if we'd not been flying back in the dark, as it happened, there were large splotches where there was just darkness and then lights where you could trace roads, towns, small settlements. In some places you could even make out flashing Christmas decorations!

Doesn't that photo look like something out of a sci-fi movie?

I think that it might be Liverpool. I remember speculating with Mr Click about where we were and then just a few minutes later the pilot announced that we were almost there.

Scotland was a little cloudier but we could see along towards where the island was. It felt so weird seeing it but knowing we weren't heading that way until the following day.

And then the next thing we knew we were back on terra firma, waiting for everyone else to get off the plane since we weren't in a rush. We sauntered straight out of arrivals and onto the airport link bus, decided against going out for meal and picked up a picnic from Sainsbury's outside Buchanan Bus Station.

I think the wait for the taxi was almost as long as the time to get from Glasgow Airport into the centre, if not slightly longer, but eventually one showed up and we went to the Premier Inn at Charing Cross.

We've stayed there several times. It's right next door to the King's Theatre so we always picked it when we were stopping over for a show. Normally the rooms are your average pokey little Premier Inn rooms, but it appears that they have some super special rooms in there too which are unlike the regular ones.

The building is a square shape with about 25 rooms to a floor. The corners of the building have two rooms in them, with a sort of diagonal slant to one of the walls. And they are MASSIVE!

We had these two vast windows which looked across towards the Mitchell Library, a huge bed, and a bath (which I was kind of disappointed that I didn't get to take advantage of because it was 9pm and we'd not yet had our tea).

I did make a video because I thought it was so cool:

I don't know if it just felt so much bigger because we'd stayed in the EasyHotel the week before (which felt like it was about the size of the bed in this room), or if this was a huge room by Premier Inn standards. Either way, I wish we'd been there a little longer to fully enjoy the luxury of the place.

But we'd had a long day and so it was soon time for bed and all too soon after that it was time to get up again.

And just a few hours later, we were back home, collecting our labrador and unpacking our cases.

But we had a fantastic time away and an excellent Christmas. Lots of happy memories and fun. And now we have several other trips to plan as well!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017


... my baby rats.

They're doing so well and have their own distinct little personalities. I'm having so much fun getting to know them, their likes and dislikes, and discovering which foods they like.

They are growing like little weeds and I've got a plan to do a proper post to introduce each of them. But those might not start for another few days so here's a quick rundown:

  • Fezziwig & Jingle (pictured above, Fez on top, Jingle on bottom) are the Terrible Twosome. Fezzi follows Jingle around all over the place.
  • Jingle loves the hammock and likes to go there by himself to escape from his brothers.
  • Fez loves food. He's already getting a bit of a tummy and little chubby cheeks.
  • Dodger's filling out now and looks more like a proper rat than a little baby like when we got him. He's becoming quite brave.
  • Pocket is still just Pocket. He's a unique little guy and seems very upset every time we close the door and shut him in with these rats!
  • We put a grass house in the baby cage last week and it's not uncommon to see them all squished inside it. Inevitably they will run out of room and someone will slide out. I can see this only becoming more of a problem as they grow up.
... getting a nomination for an award at work.

My Team Leader nominated me and I got a note of what she said. It was just lovely.

I always try to get on with things at work but over the last year I've come up with an organisation system (heavily influenced by my bullet journal) which I've refined and tuned, with built in reflection and I'm really proud of how it works for me. I'm really impressed that my progress has been noticed and commented on.

... still Oliver Twist!

So much for my determination to read a little quickly this year. I'm just struggling with it because I'm so familiar with the story, so I know what's coming next. I can't feel the same sort of attachment to the characters as I would if I wasn't so aware of the story.

... the second series of 24.

Like right this second.

I liked the way that the first series wrapped up and we decided to go right on with watching the second series. I'm quite enjoying it and I'm still feeling the Spooks/Die Hard lovechild vibe from it. Considering the fact that it can be quite violent and there's plenty of people dying in it, it's a lot lighter viewing than Criminal Minds was so I'm grateful for that.

... to buy a printer.

I've wanted to get a printer for the house for ages, but more so since we got internet so we can print wirelessly (or even when we're out of the house if necessary). Well, I won £31 worth of vouchers which can be spent in Argos so that plan has stepped up a gear now.

Now it's just the important bit where I narrow it down to which one I want to get. I want a 3-in-1 (though there's a 4-in-1 I was looking at which wasn't too much more expensive and had a host of extra features). I'm leaning towards and Epson because that's what I've always used and I'm most familiar with. I'm still weighing up options though.

I've been selling printers for years so you would think this would be an easy decision for me, but it's not. If anything it's harder because of all the different things I'm aware of.

Any hints or tips for picking a printer?

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Books 15 & 16 of 2016: On A Sea So Cold & Still by Daniel Elton Harmon & A Tolkien Bestiary by David Day

I don't often read non-fiction when I'm not studying for a course. I used to love reading history books as a child and ever so often I take a scan through the freebies on Amazon for the Kindle. On A Sea So Cold & Still by Daniel Elton Harmon was one of those.

This is a book about the Titanic which began life as an article for a magazine but the author got so involved in the research that he compiled a whole book full of information and speculation about the events surrounding the sinking of the ocean liner.

I became interested in Titanic at the age of about twelve when I saw the film in the cinema and there was Titanic stuff everywhere. I remember going onto the internet and finding a passenger manifest. I scanned the names picking out the people who were featured in the film, the people who were the same age as me, the people who were recorded as missing. I was fascinated. I also had the game 'Titanic: An Adventure Out of Time' which enabled you to go walking around the ship itself, so this ebook appealed to that twelve-year-old girl.

It was a really interesting book and I don't think that you needed to be particularly knowledgeable about the ship to be able to appreciate it. It's a fairly short read as well, so you could probably read it in just one sitting if you wanted.

I found it particularly sobering to read the real life accounts of the survivors and the people who lost loved ones. It took me back to looking at the passenger lists as a child and realising just how many people lost their lives. At the time it was the children who affected me most, knowing they were the same age as me, my friends, my little brother. Reading this I found it quite harrowing to hear about the other people as well.

I think that this book might have benefited from having some maps to show the locations where events occurred. There were a few points where I was trying to picture where various ships were which heard the Titanic's calls and I couldn't really work it out. I'd have liked to see something to help me visualise who or what was where.

I liked the way that this was written. In the beginning I felt that it was jumping around in time a little, but by the end of the book I had come to quite like it. I almost wish that it had been longer, though it was just the right length for what it covered, I think there is just so much to learn and speculate on about what happened.

I was so interested in what I learned in this book I decided that my next ebook would be another Titanic one I found on my Kindle.

But next on my To-Read list was a book-book, so I went with A Tolkien Bestiary by David Day. It's a sort of encyclopaedia of peoples, places and creatures in Tolkien's Middle-earth, arranged alphabetically and surrounded by beautiful illustrations by a selection of artists.

I inherited this copy from my Grampy some years ago. When he realised I was such a massive Tolkien fan he offloaded a bunch of his Tolkien (and Tolkien-related) books onto me. I've flicked through this book on numerous occasions but it wasn't until April that I actually sat down to read it.

I love that this is treated as a Middle-earth text, it's written using the 'authentic' sources, such as The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I like that it ties into the Middle-earth mythology and adds to the realism that they're all discovered texts from some long-forgotten past.

It also takes into account details from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. I wasn't too sure about this at first, but the Mewlips poem is one of my favourites (it's so dark and creepy) so I did like that they were included. I suppose that it's plausible that they could feature in the writings of Hobbits. Perhaps the Mewlips are linked to the dead faces in the water of the Dead Marshes.

The pictures in this book are gorgeous. It's worth getting and looking at purely for the pictures. That's pretty much just what I've done every other time I've skimmed through it. The colour ones are my favourites, especially of the places around Middle-earth.

It was also interesting to note that several of the black and white line drawings are reproduced in my Tolkien Colouring Book which I got for Christmas a few months before I read this.

It's a big hardback book though and not too portable. I took the dustjacket off because it's looking a little battered and I didn't want it to get more so, but I still wasn't really able to take it out and about with me. Since then I've acquired a leather-effect cover version which is closer to regular paperback size so in future rereads, I think I'll use that version.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Christmas in Wales: Part 6, The Last Day (and a bit)

All too soon, it was time to start getting ready to return home.

The day after Boxing Day we spent some time organising our cases for the journey home. I wish I'd taken a photo of my handiwork because that was some serious artwork I made there. It was a thing of beauty.

The one thing we'd not really considered when we flew down to Wales with all our presents, was the fact that while we were getting rid of all those gifts when we arrived, we would also be bringing stuff home with us. I'd not really thought about the gifts I would be bringing home. I wasn't honestly expecting to get too much.

In the end we had to get two gifts posted back to Scotland, some pretend candles and some real ones (along with my gloves which I forgot in the car), because we didn't want to have any hassle with them in airport security. My family were very good about getting us mostly flat gifts which made for some easy packing.

After playing Tetris in our suitcases we had a family get together with a really big buffet. I ate far too much food.

This was quite literally the icing on the cake. Well, and some marzipan as well.

My Mum made a Christmas cake and I'm not a fan of fruit cake so I said I would pinch the icing and marzipan off of Mr Click's. Well, Mum decided to save him from having to share so I got a little cake all of my own. Sadly, John never got around to trying the actual Christmas cake but it looked really good.

We spent the evening chatting and playing Carcasonne (a game which I've played with on my Kindle before but have never played with other people before). It was a lovely end to the holiday but kind of bittersweet because it meant saying goodbye to most of my family members until we next get down south, or they're able to come up to visit us in Scotland.

The following morning we finished our packing early but didn't need to leave until about 2pm so I spent some time working on another jigsaw puzzle. Mr Click, meanwhile, had a brief lesson on how to use a pasta maker.

My Mum and Stepdad got him one for his birthday but he'd held off playing with it until he'd been able to see my Mum at work with hers. Between the three of us we made enough tagliatelle and spaghetti for Mr Click and I to have it for lunch.

That's an action shot of it being dished up. It was amazing! We're planning on playing with Mr Click's one this weekend now we've got the ingredients for it.

And then suddenly it was time to pack up the car, load ourselves in and travel across the country to Bristol airport for another three country journey.

I'll tell you about that on Thursday.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

IVF #3: Vlog #1

I've done it!

I've taken the plunge!

I'm officially vlogging now!

I've started it off with a little video just giving a potted history of our 'journey' so far. If you've followed the blog for the last couple of years, or know me in real life, this'll all be old news to you, but feel free to watch and comment.

It might look a bit ropey but I'm still getting the hang of it. The software I'm using is ancient and it's taken the better part of two days to get it accepting the file format my camera records in, but I'm learning and I think I know what I'm doing now.

I'm hoping to get my next video up (which I recorded immediately after this one) in the next few days. It basically details what went on at our appointment on Tuesday.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Christmas in Wales: Part 5, Boxing Day

After all the excitement of Christmas Day, we took things very easy on Boxing Day. We had a lovely long lie-in, played with our Christmas presents and worked on the jigsaw puzzle which we'd started on Christmas Eve.

We did make time to go for a little walk up the hill at the back of my Mum's house. It was bitterly cold, but the scenery and views were beautiful.

There are some wonderfully shaped trees up there which just look interesting and old, kind of like the ones which surround our home.

And just like home not all the trees were standing upright:

Our walk covered a little over 1.75 miles, much of it uphill, which was definitely needed after all the food we'd eaten the day before (and would continue to eat over the rest of the holiday)!

Next time I'm in Wales I'm hoping we'll be able to do this walk again and perhaps go a little further. We ended up having to turn back because the ground got a little boggy and my trainers had sprung a leak. When I fly down in the future I'll not be transporting dozens of Christmas presents so I'll be able to pack a spare pair of shoes and wear my walking boots.

When we got back (and warmed up, it was pretty bitter out) I spent most of the evening kneeling on the floor behind the sofa working on the jigsaw puzzle.

And look! We finished it:

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Christmas in Wales: Part 4, Christmas Day

By Christmas morning the tree in the living room was looking something like this:

And this wasn't even all the gifts!

After breakfast (and waiting for everyone to get up) we got down to the serious business of present exchanging.

Of course, I was utterly spoiled.

The definite theme of the year was definitely Harry Potter and calendars. Not only do I have a trip to London for the Harry Potter Studio Tour to plan in the very near future (courtesy of Mum & Stepdad), but I've also just finished reading the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (courtesy of Mr Click). In the picture above I'd just unwrapped the Johanna Basford colouring calendar (which I've sadly fallen behind on but intend to catch up with shortly), which was the first of several calendars (we currently have a labrador one, a Knit & Purl one, and hanging beside my bed, perfectly merging both gift themes this year, we have a Harry Potter colouring in calendar).

Possibly my biggest Christmas gift win was Mr Click's main present.

His mobile phone has been running out of room since the latest iOS update so he's been making comments about getting a tablet of some flavour. I agreed that this sounded like a very good idea.

I'd mentioned repeatedly my failed attempts to win him one in various competitions at work where they were on offer.

I'd bemoaned my lack of luck.

I'd agreed that it would be a good idea for him to look in the January sales to see whether he could pick one up at a decent price.

I suggested that he perhaps look on Amazon on Boxing Day because they usually have some Boxing Day sales.

I sat with him on Christmas Eve helping him pick out the very Kindle Fire tablet which I'd bought him all those weeks before.

Little did he know that I'd succeeded in bagging a bargain on Black Friday and during all of this is was wrapped up and sitting under the Christmas tree.

I think the look on his face here says it all!

And he and the Kindle have been virtually inseparable ever since. He even read two books on it in roughly the time it took me to read one over the holiday as well. I'm very pleased he's getting use out of it.

Other gifts I was particularly proud of included 'Sprout' pencils (pencils with seeds in which you can plant when you're done writing) and hot chocolate baubles for my Stepdad, and for my Mum; a Plant Theatre tomato growing kit (with wild and wonderful varieties of tomatoes) and cookie cutters which you can put your own messages into to stamp them on the biscuits.

I started Christmas shopping early this year and I have to say, I was at the top of my game!

Post-present opening, we relocated to my Aunt and Uncle's house for Christmas Dinner. Normally Christmas dinner is a quiet affair with just the four of us. This year it was dinner for twelve!

This was followed by more present opening, a Die Hard film, and one of the longest games of Trivial Pursuit I've ever played. It didn't actually finish until the early hours of Boxing Day morning.

Once we got home and into bed I still couldn't sleep because Mr Click was so excited about his new toy (which he hadn't played with while we were out) I had to help him set up Facebook, and Twitter, and Facebook Messenger, and eBay, and... well, lots of things.

I think that's the sign of Christmas well spent!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


... walking today.

We've had wild weather today. I lay awake around 5am listening to it and feeling really grateful that I was able to get my hospital appointment for yesterday rather than today. There were no boats first thing and so getting off the island would have been impossible.

Thankfully there were no trees down so we're not experiencing a repeat of January 2012. Yet. Snow is the next thing forecast though and we drove through some on the way home. It'll be interesting to see if any of that settles.

... that yesterday's hospital appointment went well.

It was a 5am start and we reached the hospital for 9am. It was nearly 11pm by the time I got to bed and turned the light out so it made for a long day which I'm feeling today.

We were there to sign some forms, I got weighed and I picked up the first lot of meds I'll be starting later in the month.

We also put one of our Christmas gifts to good use by heading to Wagamama for lunch. If we had made it off the island today we wouldn't have had enough time for this because we'd be rushing back home straight after the appointment.


By the way, the coordinated hoodies, totally not intentional. When were getting ready to leave the house yesterday I mentioned to Mr Click that I'd wanted to wear my OU hoodie but if he was wearing his, I'd wear a different top. He offered to wear a different top, I replied 'yes, okay' which he misinterpreted and we ended up matching. I didn't realise until we were on the boat so we had no choice but to roll with it.

At least we both wear it well!

Working on...
... my first ever vlog!

I recorded two little videos last night. One gives a potted history of where we are in our 'infertility journey' the other is just about yesterday's appointment. They need a bit of editing (I wish I could CG out the number of times I blink) but I'm hoping to get them up in the next few days.

... working to hand tame our little ratty crew.

Last night I braved the four of them by myself. Fezzi and Jingle briefly ganged up on me and tried to give me a heart attack by both going in different directions at the same time. Pocket is still as cuddly as ever, though he's wanting to be independent and explore, rather than snuggle in a pocket. And Dodger is beginning to fill out and come into his own. He's getting braver too.

I'll do some proper introductions to them in the coming days, alongside finishing my Christmas in Wales posts and getting my vlogs up.

It's going to be a busy few days on the blog!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Books 13 & 14 of 2016: Recapture Your Bounce by Infinite Ideas & The Wench Is Dead by Colin Dexter

I think I've mentioned before the fact that I have a habit of downloading all the free books available in a particular genre every so often. Clearly at some point in 2012/2013 I went through a phase of downloading all the self-help type books I could get my hands on, where they then languished on my Kindle/on the cloud, until last year when I decided to start reading them. I'm putting this down to the fact that I'd been Bullet Journalling and so was thinking of other little changes I could make in my life.

When I picked up Recapture Your Bounce to read on my Kindle I wasn't aware that it was by the same publisher as Goddess Be The Woman You Want To Be (which  I reviewed a couple of weeks ago). It's basically a collection of ideas for ways you can help yourself to have more energy.

I get the impression that this is a collection of ideas which are already published in their other little books. It's very short and it feels a little like a taster for some of the other books which Infinite Ideas have produced.

I'm fairly certain that a couple of the ideas which were given in this book also feature in the Goddess book, or perhaps the Goddess book took ideas from this one. Whichever it is, this one's focus is solely on ways to improve your energy levels.

Some of the ideas aren't really practical which I think is always a problem with books like this. Sometimes they seem to assume that money isn't an issue and anyone can just drop an aspect of your life and get on with something else, which realistically isn't an option for about 95% of the population. Thankfully this book acknowledges this and does suggest alternatives when the main solution isn't really achievable for many people.

All the same, not all of them work for me. The one which stands out for me is the way it suggests things to do during your lunch hour. For starters, I don't have a lunch hour, and if I did, I don't think I'd spend it in the gym or whatever. But if you're open to adapting, then it's not bad; sure I might not be able to head to the gym in my lunch break, but I've got enough time to go for a walk and expose myself to fresh air (sunlight might be a little too optimistic).

There weren't as many quizzes in this book as in the Goddess book but the ones I did do showed that my energy levels aren't too bad. I think this is partly because Mr Click and I have been consciously making little changes over the last year or so and they're obviously paying off. I think if I was do it again now, I'd probably score even higher.

It's a neat little book to highlight areas where you might need to make changes and help you think about you might feel a particular way. Definitely worth a read if you're into these sorts of books.

I followed Recapture Your Bounce with The Wench Is Dead which is Colin Dexter's eighth Inspector Morse book. At the time it was published it won the CWA Gold Dagger award so I had high hopes for this one.

This one breaks the usual format of the Inspector Morse in that he spends much of the book in hospital unwell. He learns of a historic murder case and sets about killing time in hospital by trying to solve the mystery. It's a much better use of his time than mine when I was in hospital. All I did while I was there was read Watership Down and The Pumpkin Coach and I didn't solve any murders at all!

I wasn't really sure what to think of this one at first because I've spent seven books getting used to the standard Morse format (someone is murdered, Morse gets on the case, several more people die or go missing, Morse makes several massive leaps of speculation, maybe someone else dies or goes missing, one of the massive leaps of speculation pays off, they catch the murderer).

Once I got into it I found I really enjoyed it. I loved the idea of Morse solving a crime from his hospital bed and I got so into the story that in the end I read it in just three days!

In typical Morse fashion, it did rely on rather a number of coincidences. He just happened to meet the people who had access to the things that he needed. He was able to visit Joanna's childhood home (which I think was scheduled for demolition or renovation or something) and find notes beneath the wallpaper. It was kind of a series of contrived coincidences, but at the end of the day, they slotted into the story and to be honest, I didn't really mind.

I do wish that the story had ended with Morse actually doing something with his findings. He did it all for his own amusement as some sort of intellectual exercise. Even though the case was very old I'm sure it would have been nice to give some sort of closure to any surviving family members to know that great-uncle whoever didn't actually kill that woman.

Niggles aside, I think this might be one of my favourite Morse books yet!

Monday, 9 January 2017

Christmas in Wales: Part 3, Christmas Eve

When I left off we'd touched down in Bristol. We met my Mum and she and my stepdad drove us to their house in Wales and Christmas could finally begin, even though it wasn't for another day and a bit. There was much chatting and catching up and meeting of my stepbrothers for the first time. All very good fun.

But first there was Christmas Eve, and that means our anniversary.

We exchanged our traditional anniversary gifts. I gave Mr Click a little Weasley-style jumper decoration:

This is actually the before photo. Mr Click's asked me several times if I would knit him a jumper and I've always declined because that's way too long term a project for me. But as our anniversary this year was wool I figured it was the perfect time to make him a mini one.

After this photo was taken I embroidered a number 7 onto it, the idea was to make something a little like a Weasley jumper and it turned out better than I was expecting.

Mr Click's gift to me was a wool felted squirrel on skis. He's a very well-travelled squirrel having been purchased from someone in Bristol, travelling all the way to the Isle of Bute, then leaving there and flying all the way back to Bristol, then heading to Wales before doing the whole thing in reverse when we came back!

And from my Mum we got a copper coloured heart as copper is also the traditional seventh anniversary gift. As you can see, I was really good about photographing our anniversary gifts this year! I'll make an extra effort this year when we get the tree up and get some photos of our collection then.

Christmas Eve was a day of preparation. Together we made mince pies (plus three jam tarts for the fussy person, that would be me) and we also started work on a jigsaw puzzle. My Mum has a fantastic collection of puzzles and we all took turns working on it as we watched TV that evening.

And of course there were other preparations to make as well:

This was almost all of the gifts we'd taken with us or sent on ahead.

I was very curious to find out what was in all the packages appearing under the tree. But like me, you'll have to wait a little longer to find out what we all got.

I'll tell you all about it on Thursday!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The Patter of (Sixteen!) Tiny Feet

Interrupting my recap of my trip to Wales for a brief announcement that the Clan has grown by sixteen feet today.

The house has felt rather empty since we lost Yoda in November. We always used to call goodbye to our rats (or more recently, rat) when we left the house and the first thing we'd do upon our return would be to call our hello to them, so it's felt weird not having anyone to say hello or goodbye to for the last couple of months.

We could get new ratties until after we returned from Wales, so I set the date of the 7th for our little trek to the mainland to bring home some bundles of joy, not really expecting that we would be able to get away that day but hoping that by the time the date rolled around we would have a date when we could go get them.

So it was a pleasant surprise when we actually made it off the island this morning.

And by 9am we'd met and settled on which rats would come home with us.

There were only four boys and it seemed like such a shame to separate them. I'd kind of set my heart on having three so there was no way I could leave one behind. Besides, there's a black one, a himalayan, one which is definitely brown (and may be an agouti) and a little black hooded; how can you pick just two out of that combination?

We decided to bring all four home!

Clockwise, from the top this is Fezziwg (brown rat), Dodger (black and white), Jingle (black) and Pocket (white).

Brownie points if you can guess the name theme we're using for these guys.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Christmas in Wales: Part 2, The Flight

When I left off yesterday we were checking out of the EasyHotel and braving the wind and rain for our journey across Glasgow to the airport.

It was not night weather outside. Standing in the hotel lobby calling a taxi, it didn't look too bad. Out in it, the wind was bitter and the rain was bad. We headed for the bus station, had a quick hot chocolate and then hopped on the first available airport shuttle.

Sure, that meant that we were going to be at the airport roughly four hours before our flight, but we'd stopped over in Glasgow so we could be there early and nothing was going to stop us from making that flight. Nothing!

It was just as well that we did because there was a bad accident on the motorway near the airport which caused a bit of disruption as the day wore on. I'll admit, I was a little worried that the flight was going to be cancelled because of the weather. It was so bad that all the ferries were cancelled and numerous flights were being delayed as well.

We found out, after hanging out downstairs for a while, that since we'd already checked in online, we were free to head through to Departures.

That meant going through the security gauntlet. Last time I flew I had a case to check, so I packed my awkward stuff and wore easy to take off shoes. This time we were hand luggage only and I found it incredibly stressful stripping off my coat, shoes, emptying my pockets, pulling out toothpaste from the pocket where we'd packed it. I'd been prepared for it, but it didn't make it any more enjoyable.

Especially as there was kind of a bottleneck once you got through security with everyone frantically trying to re-dress and re-pack their stuff. Our bottle of vitamins dropped on the floor and spilled everywhere which was almost the final straw, but we were through, we could go get seats and chill.

Which is what we did for the next three hours or so.

There was a male voice choir performing in the Departures area, which provided some much needed entertainment. I took advantage of the hour's free wi-fi on offer and caught a few Pokemon. Mr Click got a bite to eat and was really thrilled about getting a pager so they could let him know when his food was ready:

He was so thrilled, he had me take his photo!

Eventually it was time to board our plane so we walked what felt like the entire length of the airport to get to the gate. They've changed the layout a little since I was there last so this was both familiar to me, and yet not familiar at all.

I really felt for the people who were on the Stornoway flight which was affected by the weather. Around the time we were queuing at the gate an announcement went out that their flight was cancelled and they were all asked to collect their luggage and head to the desk to be told what would happen next. A little bit of me was half expecting our flight to be next.

But it wasn't and after a LONG way to get onto it, and a longer wait for it to be refuelled, we were finally ready to go.

We posed for obligatory plane selfies (I am so not a selfie taker usually) and admired the view:

It was a bit of a bumpy take off. As we got into the air the plane made this weird noise and we were immediately hit by turbulence. I'm not the most relaxed of fliers so this did not make me feel so good. It seemed to take forever for the seatbelt sign to go off as well and we spent a good twenty minutes just climbing through lots of bumpy cloud.

But once we were through we did get to see the sun for the first time in over a week!

Looking at that photo, you'd never believe that the weather on the ground was so bad!

The descend was a lot less bumpy than the take off, though it appeared to be just as wet on the ground in Bristol, but we had arrived. It was time for Christmas to begin properly.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Christmas in Wales: Part 1, The EasyHotel

We were very well organised for our trip to Wales, in the summer we found and booked our flights. We carefully chose a flight which would give us the maximum amount of time to get from the island to the airport. We decided, since the return flights would put us in a bit of a rush to get the ferry home, that it would be sensible to go for a later flight and sprang for a £29 room in a Premier Inn when we came back.

We were organised and it was all good.

But then on the 19th of December the weather started looking a little bad for the Friday we were due to travel. At work my colleagues helpfully pointed out that it wasn't looking so hot, plus there was the threat of a baggage strike to deal with.

By the next morning they were forecasting 50 mile per hour gusts of wind at Wemyss Bay by 9am on the 23rd. Right about the time we were planning to catch the ferry. Later in the day it had gone up to 70-80 mile per hour gusts. I immediately had a panicked conversation with Mr Click about stopping over on the mainland the night before.

Some frantic Googling later and I'd discovered that most hotel rooms that night were going to be more expensive than our flights were. Luckily I found an EasyHotel for £30 for the night. It looked pretty basic, but I figured it was the best we could do without spending a small fortune just three nights before Christmas.

Well, the of the 22nd dawned grey and windy as expected. Our original plan had been to leave about lunchtime but given the weather we dropped Tara off at the kennels and headed for the ferry as quickly as we could. It was a rocky crossing but we survived.

Following a spot of lunch and a mooch around Glasgow, we checked into our hotel room.

And when they said it was basic, they really weren't kidding! It was like a large cupboard with a bed and en suite!

This is pretty much the room.

I took this photo sitting on the bed, with my back up against the wall. It was as wide as the bed was long and we were lucky enough to have a window in our room which looked onto the space out the back of the EasyHotel and Travel Lodge next door.

The white door was the bathroom. To the right was the loo, to the left was the shower and you could probably have sat on the loo and showered. It was compact.

But what we needed was a room for the night and it more than served its purpose. We decided against paying the £5 fee for a remote and did without TV in our room. We took showers, we sat around and chatted, we played online, we read.

It wasn't the most restful night, mainly because I fell fast asleep at 7pm and woke up at 9pm wide awake and ready to go. I did a lot of reading.

For the price, you don't get much, but it's plenty if all you're needing is a bed for the night. I could see us stopping there if we were planning a trip to the theatre, a concert, the movies, and needed somewhere cheap to stay. I imagine it's the sort of place which we'll consider again if we're ever stranded on the mainland when the boats aren't running.

The following morning we got up usual time and checked out around 8am to begin the real journey to Wales.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017


... about finally getting through to the hospital today.

I left a message on Sunday, knowing they were closed but not sure when they were going to reopen. Another call yesterday and then a round of phone tag this morning and we've finally been able to get an appointment scheduled to pick up the first lot of drugs we need.

I didn't realise just how wound up the uncertainty was making me until I got off the phone and went to tell my manager which day I needed off. It really was like a weight had been lifted from me. I'm feeling very relaxed right now.

... my main Christmas present from Mr Click, the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

Sadly it's not the most portable of books. It's huge and I can only wonder how big the later books are going to be. Massive if my illustrated Lord of the Rings is anything to go by! But there's something very comforting about sitting up in bed and reading it at night.

Plus there's so much to see in the pictures. It's like every time I look at a page, I notice something I didn't see before in the image. It's beautiful.

... 24 and The Muppet Show.

Not both at the same time, obviously.

A friend at work came over to me a couple of months ago and asked if I'd seen 24. When I told him no, he showed up at my desk a few hours later with the complete box set of it and told me I had to watch it.

So far we're into the second episode and I'm kind of reminded of Spooks and Die Hard but I'm enjoying it. I'm planning on us marathoning it to get through it as quickly as possible. It's kind of funny how dated it looks. As soon as it started I commented to Mr Click that you could tell it was early 2000s; I couldn't tell you exactly what the early-2000s look was, but the people in this series have it!

We still have another series of Criminal Minds to watch but I'm wanting something a bit lighter during treatment; clearly terrorists is easier viewing than serial killers.

To help balance it out we're watching The Muppet Show on DVD before bed. We've watched most of the first series before but it's really easy bedtime viewing and I'm sure we've missed a few episodes in the past.

Are you watching anything new (or new to you)?