Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Balls, Asthma and Nearly….

My cold is still present, though I’m feeling much better now. I took Friday off because I’d gotten so little sleep after a coughing fit most of the night. Silly me went rowing Thursday night since I was starting to feel better. I thought I could sit somewhere in the bows and we could do a simple light outing, focusing on technique. Silly coach put me back at stroke and then decided to practise a new racing start and high rate pieces ready for our home regatta in a couple of weeks. This properly woke my asthma up and I had my first real asthma attack in a year and maxed out my inhaler. They kept telling me how bad I looked and I need to move faster on the start, so as well as feeling pants from being ill, my confidence as a stroke was knocked too.

Saturday I zoomed up to Sandhurst for mr’s company ball. It was very posh. There was polo and croquet and duck breast and wild boar tureen – very posh for this bean. It was strange. It was really nice to meet his friends and have a fancy night out, but it’s such a different world for me. After seeing some of the other cadets wags, I felt so unglamourous. There were ladies with feathers in their hair and very fancy dresses and I just felt so out of place.

Mr’s been given his first posting and it won’t be too far away, which is nice and I think it’s a really good one. I have a feeling I’m more excited about it than he is, he just keeps saying it’s a job, a job’s a job, but I was positively bouncing when I heard what he’d be doing (not too sure he or the army would be too happy with me posting the nature of his job on a public blog though, so I’m afraid I’ll have to keep you in suspense). Apparently all the guys in his platoon will have to salute me because I’ll be the boss’ partner, which is a crazy thought. I still haven’t quite got the hang of this army etiquette yet.

We spent Sunday wandering round Sandhurst and it’s so pretty, I’m really looking forward to going back for his commissioning ball now. It was back to work Monday to find that over the weekend the systems providers have been changed from HP to HCL and so nothing works, sigh.

I rang Peninsula admin last night as it’s been ages since I sent my paperwork back and I still hadn’t heard anything with regards to my offer being made unconditional. This is required for the accommodation people to start placing me, and has to happen before August for me to be placed first. I had seen that some people who confirmed after me had already had their statuses changed so I was a little worried there was a problem. They said they were still waiting on my Occupational Health clearance to come through, and once it did they would be confirming me. This got me even more worried as my health background isn’t exactly clear, but I didn’t think bad enough to cause me a problem. I rang OH who thankfully said I’d been cleared on Wednesday so the certificate would have been sent Thursday and is probably still in the internal post. I am now obsessively checking my emails, waiting for the ‘Your status has changed’ email from UCAS which should be coming any day now. On a lighter note, I went rowing last night and swapped sides to row bowside and pulled a muscle in my bum. Ouch!

Thursday, 24 June 2010


You know when you have a little niggling bit of an illness and you ignore it and push through, and then it dumps on you from a great height and completely floors you? I’ve had that this week. It hasn’t been fun. Last week I was having problems with my ears, which isn’t unusual for me as apparently I have small ear canals so they are prone to becoming blocked. I put some olive oil in them and carried on. I had a bit of a sore throat on Friday, but I put that down to coxing on Thursday night without a coxbox - I had no microphone and had to yell my commands. I sucked a cough sweet and carried on.

Saturday was Totnes Regatta and I was due to cox my mens novice 4 and then a mixed (men and women) novice 4. It was a beautiful day and the guys were all in high spirits despite being up against some tough crews including Exeter A – our A crew who were only racing at novice level on a technicality but should be seniors, and Dart Totnes A who had beaten them the last two races. We lost our first heat against Dart Totnes A, which wasn’t a surprise. It was close, it was taken from them in the last 50m. We won the second heat against Dart Totnes B by a good 2-3 lengths, but then came last in the final against Dart Totnes and Exeter A crews.

We had been told our mixed race had been moved earlier because some of the crew members of our opposition, Exmouth were supposed to be in the race leaving straight after ours. So we came along side, two guys jumped out, two girls jumped in and we were off to the start line again to wait. And wait, and wait. The earlier race time, 45 minutes before its scheduled time came and went. The race officials said they hadn’t heard of a change, so we waited some more – by this time I’m shivering as I’ve been sat in a puddle of water for 3 hours. The proper race time came and went, with no sign of Exmouth. An Exmouth single scull next to us told us one of the girls who was supposed to be in the mixed crew was in the double about to start up ahead, and it was the double event they had moved the race time for. Fantastic! So after telling us to come early, they pull out, without telling us. We told the start officials, who put a call out for the Exmouth crew to come and when they didn’t we had to do a row through – row the course as if we were racing, but without an opponent. This confused the commentators mightily, but we were cheered home across the line and they collected our names at the end as if we’d won, so I don’t know if the guys will get points from it or not. No shiny things as there were only two of us supposed to race anyway :(

After that I raced home and then to Bristol because….. mr had got tickets to Bill Bailey!!!! After his Women’s Henley crew hadn’t qualified on Friday so didn’t have to row on Saturday he had checked to see if there were still tickets available and amazingly there were, and really good ones too – we were four rows back, just at the side of the stage. I was a bit sniffy getting ready in the hotel before, so I packed my handbag with tissues and carried on. Bill Bailey was fantastic, as I knew he would be and I had such a good time. Within five minutes I couldn’t breath I was laughing so much as he had us trying to sing California Dreaming by the Mamas and the Papas in the style of Slayer – I guess you had to be there.

I drove home Sunday morning, wished my Dad Happy Fathers Day, gave him his presents and we went out for a nice carvery lunch. I had an amazing gingerbread panna cotta for pudding, which it’s probably just as well I was bunged up and couldn’t taste much of as it was packed full of ginger and might just have blown my head off. By Sunday evening, I was snotty, coughing, couldn’t think straight and was generally in a bit of a mess. Monday morning I added feverish and dizzy to the list and called in sick. Tuesday the cold woke my asthma up and every time I breathed I wheezed and when I lay down I couldn’t breath. Mr got quite worried about me wheezing down the phone which was sweet, I was fine – breathing’s very overrated. Wednesday was much better but after waking up to call in sick at 9, I didn’t wake again until 2.30. Now it’s Thursday and I’m back at work. I’m still sniffy, and coughing, and have a fever, but I’m feeling much better in myself.

There are a few things I do like about being ill. I spent my time watching trashy films, tennis, sleeping and knitting; the fever means I’m finally ‘normal’ (for everyone else) temperature and can sit in a t-shirt out of the sun without getting goosebumps; and it’s the easiest way I know to lose weight. I’ve lost 4lbs in 3 days, which is good because I’ve put on a stone since coming back from uni. I would say I haven’t learnt my lesson yet though, unless an illness wipes me out, and I have to stop, you’ll still find me soldiering through, armed with tissues, Lucozade and alcohol hand gel so I don’t give it to anyone else.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Geek, me? Never.

This weekend saw me doing fairly practical things for a change. I managed to get my car parked close enough to the house to wash and vacuum it, which is not an easy task considering all the workman that are still around my estate. The car park at work became like an ice rink when it was snowy at the start of the year, so the landlords dumped piles of grit salt everywhere – it’s almost a gravel car park now. So my poor little car got filthy dirty inside as the girl I give a lift to and I tracked the little stones into the foot well each day.

On Sunday I cycled down to the rowing club and me and another girl from my crew did some maintenance on a boat we’ve been allocated. It used to be rigged as a junior quad but the riggers were hastily changed so we could row it sweep. The shoes of the girl at bow were too small, the slides were all too short and the rigger heights were all different, so armed with Allan keys, screwdrivers, rigger jiggers and a fine adjusticator (a hammer) we set to work configuring it for our crew. It’s not the side of rowing I’m used to as at uni we elected a boat man to do all the maintenance work and if there was something we wanted doing we just logged it in a book. Now mostly it wouldn’t happen until all the problems with the guy’s boats had been fixed first, but that’s boat politics for you. It wasn’t really difficult, and it was good fun working in the sunshine. I got so dirty though, completely covered in oil and grease and general muck. Combine that with walking into a ladder and getting a bruise and a graze on my knee I felt like I was 5 and playing in the mud in the garden again :)

At work I’m doing a quarterly project of mine where I track all the retirements on all the schemes to check we haven’t missed any and the scheme owners are on top of all the upcoming ones. It’s a fairly dull job, it just involves running a load of reports and compiling them all into one massive spreadsheet and putting some code in to compare retirement dates with work completed and in progress. It’s my baby – I came up with the idea and have generated the spreadsheet from scratch. Every time I do it I make it a bit whizzier. It’s this project that was mentioned to the head of our division of the company I work for as being an example of how good an office we are and why we should get more work. Eeep! Anyway, my systems are going sooo slowly at the moment, and the spreadsheet is fairly large and takes a while to compile; it’s taking forever, not helped by the fact it keeps deleting bits of itself. On Tuesday the whole computer shut down, lost all my work for the morning and then couldn’t reconnect to the server. I spent three hours learning anatomy and watching it try and fail to log in: attempt 237…failed, attempt 238… failed. Roll on university is all I can say!

I really can’t wait now, I feel like I’m just marking time. All the people I know at uni are all finishing and having end of exam celebrations and I sort of miss that - the celebrations, not the exams - so I’m filling the in between time with exciting things to look forward to. I’m going to my first ever festival with a girl from work – a local one called Chagstock which the Hoosiers and Adrian Edmundson are playing. We are both so excited. I’m looking at tents and praying for sunshine. Apart from that, there’s a couple of balls at Sandhurst with mr, I’ve got tickets to Les Mis at Bristol with my parents, a comedy night with some guys from work, a couple more regattas I’m coxing, our club regatta where I’m racing, and the free work summer event where they open a local kids theme park for us and families/friends to play in after hours and put on a hog roast. I have something every weekend for the next month and half, it’s ace. There was a little excitement as I nearly got tickets to see Bill Bailey in Brstol for this weekend with mr, but he’s coxing the Sandhurst girls at Women’s Henley so couldn’t get away. Never mind, I will see Bill Bailey at some point in my life :) Right, back to seeing if this spreadsheet will behave. Bye for now,
Your geeky bean.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Birthday Bean

Hiya. Soo, it was my birthday on Saturday :) I’ve been so excited about Peninsula that my birthday just sort of crept up on me without me noticing. My family hit my wishlist hard, so most of my presents were textbooks but that’s awesome. I got Memorising Medicine – a book of medical mnemonics, A Crash Course in General Medicine, Kumar and Clark, Macleod’s Clinical Examination, an anatomical chart of the skeletal system, The Anatomy Colouring Book, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information (it was mentioned as a must read by the xkcd guy), the DVD of Will Smith’s Seven Pounds (I love Will Smith :D ) a pasta maker with lasagne and ravioli attachments (I love to cook), some smellies and a self watering plant tray, as I’m very good at killing plants over the holidays :-/

I was out for most of the day at Plymouth Regatta coxing my novice men’s crew. It was lovely and sunny and they did so well. They came third overall out of four, but it was really close and they were winning until the 500m to go mark, so since it’s only the start of the season and their first ever race I’m really proud of them. They went off a bit hard and got so carried away they didn’t bring the rating down when I asked them to. We think if they can hold it steady all the way through they have a really good shot at winning which means shiny stuff :)

I went out in the evening with some guys from work. We went to La Tasca for a meal and then on to a local nightclub. It was my first night out in Exeter, so I didn’t really know what to expect but I had a great time. Had such sore feet the next day from all the jumping up and down I did, and realised I might dance like a bloke. I’m sorry, but else can you do to Pendulum except jump?

It was really weird to go out without mr, since I’ve been going out with him it’s very rare that he doesn’t come to, or he isn’t waiting for me when I get home. I guess it’s something I’m going to have to get used to though. I’ve been a really lucky bean and have had phone calls everyday from him whilst he’s been away, although he did frighten me somewhat when he called the first night as I only expect calls if he’s injured. It was tough hearing him sound so tired and broken though, knowing there’s nothing I can do to help. I sent him a letter and a big bar of chocolate he can devour when he gets back to Sandhurst, hopefully that should score me some good girlfriend points.

Sunday was a bit of a conveyor belt of family members all managing to just miss each other and it was nice to see them all. Our cat was a little confused as every time she left, when she came back there was a different person sat on the sofa. Talking of cats, next door’s cat, Marmite, has realised what time I come home from work each day and has taken to sitting behind the hedge at the end of our path and ambushing me. He’s a very affectionate cut and loves rubbing up against your legs. He also dribbles. And moults. So not only do you get covered in cat hair, he sticks it to you with drool. He’s like a little fountain. And then he shakes his head and it all flies everywhere. Beeeaauutiful puss. He has this adorable habit of rubbing up against your foot whenever you move it. So if you’re trying to walk anywhere he gets between your legs and rubs against your foot, then you move the other so he dives to that one and you end up having to zigzag shuffle down the path. Or, you can pick him up and he’ll give you a proper cuddle, paws either side of your neck, burrow into the crook of your neck and contentedly dribble down your front and back. Having said that, there’s nothing quite like starting the day with a Marmite hug as you walk to your car to go to work. He’s so happy to see you, and my cat moults so much I don’t notice the extra cat fur. I find cat fur on clothes I haven’t bought yet. Mr’s found it on his beret. I’ve never seen his beret, the cat has certainly never seen it, and it’s been ages since he saw my cat, so that’s transfer from her to me to him to it.

Still no word from Peninsula yet…. 66 working days left!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


The bank holiday weekend was awesome. I didn’t get done everything I wanted to, but what I did do made me really happy. My parents gave me a stethoscope on Friday. A stethoscope of my very own :D It’s purple, and it has my initials engraved on it. I was very excited on Friday night! I’m pleased to say I have a nice strong heart beat, couldn’t find Dad’s though, which was a little worrying. Well I could but it was really quiet. Little bit embarrassed about that. I was expecting to not know the specifics of what I was hearing, but to not be able to find it at all? Oops. I was expecting it as a birthday present (it’s my birthday Saturday), but I got it as a congratulations-for-getting-in present instead. I’d quite like to take it in to work to show some people there because I’m sure they’d be just as excited about it as me, but I have to keep reminding myself it’s not show and tell and I’m a proper, real person, working bean now. However when I told someone about it at work he said “Wow, a stethoscope of your own? That’s like getting your wand if you were going to Hogwarts isn’t it? It’s the sign that you are a proper wizard now.” Totally is!!!!!! Interesting fact of the day: JK Rowling went to Exeter Uni and Diagon Ally is based on Gandy Street in town. Gandy Street is my favourite part of town, it’s a cobbled street full of boutiques and bakers and there’s the Phoenix Arts Centre which has a metal phoenix statue on the front that moves every hour, it’s lovely.

That’s everything on the kit list sorted. I’d quite like my UCAS status to change to unconditional now. I’ve sent all the paperwork back, about two weeks ago, and I was only conditional on CRB and Hep B antigen, and they’ve got the proofs of those.

Saturday I went to a garden centre with my parents and got some herbs to replace the ones I neglected and died this year between uni :-s oops. My chives survived, and now I have parsley, thyme and apple mint to go in a trough on my window sill. I love to cook, and it’s nice to have plants in your room, so herbs are the obvious choice. All that’s left to get before I go now is some saucepans. I bought a really cheap set from Argos last time and they kept getting holes all the way through the bottom. They did have a lifetime guarantee and I did take them back and got a new set once, but for a £5 for 4 pans set it really wasn’t worth it. The guy behind the counter had a little chuckle when he asked what was wrong with them and I held one up and you could see daylight through the bottom.

Sunday I cycled to rowing because I was due to be coaching some of the Juniors. Oversaw a couple of juniors in single sculls who completely ignored me the last time I went down but were much more receptive to me this time and seemed really happy with the criticism I was giving them. Was then asked to jump in and cox a boat of three novice men, one of which was a complete beginner, it was his second outing, and bow was a girl from my squad who had also come down to coach. We were making really good progress with them on the water and they got so much better. We were challenged to a race by a coach of a Junior under 18 quad, so on paper, the quad should have won – more blades (each boy is sculling so two blades to our sweep oar rowing with one blade), they’re lighter, younger, fitter and have been rowing together for a couple of years. Amazingly, we won! I was really proud of my guys; they were down at the start but took it back steadily throughout the race and beat them by quarter of a length. I cycled home and spent the rest of Sunday and Monday making my Goddaughter’s Christening present. I’m decoupatching 9” high MDF letters spelling her name which will be hung from a curtain pole to make a wall hanging. It’s torn bits of brightly coloured patterned paper stuck on with glue and varnished with glue. The paper is thinner than normal, so when dry it looks painted on. Here’s a chair done in it I found through Google Images (

I’ve done the letters and I’m doing the curtain rings, whilst trying to decide whether or not to do the pole too. It’s looking really impressive, not home made at all. I’m thinking about doing Christmas presents for my aunts and cousins in it – things like tissue box holders and flower pots. Last year they all got hand knitted stripy socks, the year before was home baked fudge and sweets and before that was hand made soaps. I don’t have a lot of money to buy them nice Christmas presents and there’s a lot of them – 2 aunts, 2 uncles and 11 cousins/cousin in laws/second cousins, so I like to try and make them something nice instead.

Mr went on exercise Monday, and won’t be back for about two weeks, so I shan’t be getting a birthday call from him :( I’m really worried about this one because he’s being petrol bombed. I don’t like it when he’s on exercise anyway because I worry about him, but fire?! Am trying to keep busy and not think about it, but I’m keeping my phone close by in case I get a call saying he’s been injured. He’s good at his job, I’m sure he’ll be fine (if I say it enough, I’m sure I’ll believe it soon).

Ah well, 17 weeks to go!!! Then I can stop being a working bean and be a fresher bean instead. Have a good week guys.