Hi! Bet you didn't think we'd do it! Well, here it is - the summer edition. Now we're just trying to make it to Christmas!
To DIY or not to DIY - Lez
Since the beginning of the year we have done very little decorating. Time and energy seem to run out on us. The kitchen was the next place, but we have only got as far as taking all the paper off and filling in the holes. Andrew has tiled round the sink, and thereis now a hole in the panelling so that we can get to the stop cock. Something we have not been able to do since we moved in! All the kitchen stuff is all over the house at the moment and I long for it to be finished. Maybe by Christmas...
Playing ... - Lez
My enthusiasm for music has been fired again and I am now studying music theory. I even seem to be interesting Andrew! Not only have I started studying theory, but I've recently bought an oboe. This is an instrument I have always wanted. I've started having lessons and will probably take my first exam in November.
... about - Andrew
There are musicians and there are those who play musical instruments. I play a violin. I've reminded myself how to play, after having fished the violin out of the attic. I originally started playing because I thought I was so bad, others would want to pay me to stop! I now have a decent, but boring, violin case. I've learnt llots of bad habits, like not playing from the music. I play by ear but if I don't know the tune I can't play it. Lez is currently teaching me grade 1 music theory and I feel I'm benefitting already. I would like to be able to play in tune too, so I'm planning to learn some scales.
Weekend Break - Lez
Over Easter we went to visit my brother, Grayhame, in his new house. It has just been built and was a show home, so he got all the carpets and curtains too. It really is lovely, although small compared to ours.
Home again - Andrew
We would love to leave this house soon. Sadly we need a general price increase in our area of about 8% before we can repay our mortgage and go. So it looks like we're going to be here for sometime yet. We owuld like to stay in Hinckley (when we do move), yet we both work in Leicester at the moment. A slight dilemma, but I expect it will be resolved all in good time.
From one side ... - Lez
UCCF is undergoing a lot of change at the moment. The recession has hit us too and cutbacks have had to be made. The computer project is still going ahead though, albeit reduced in size and more spread out over time. The first lot of computers are due in the next week or so and some staff members will be going over to the new word processors. This will increase my work as I will inevitably have to cope with queries as a result. Word processing is being stretched too. More work is coming our way because of the cutbacks. Bindu and I are still feeling our way as to the best/quickest method of getting all the jobs done.
...and the other - Andrew
I'm still at the Leicester University Bookshop. No, I don't work at the library. I sell books. I still get lots of books for the library, but that's because many distributors can't tell the difference either! I am learning to delegate. As long as my boss leaves me alone, I can run a department even when there is no spare floor space. When I am told how to run it, it goes to pieces for weeks afterwards.
The latest idea is the bookshop bike! We'll see if it really helps after the August-October holocaust. August sees two teams of 3 arrive, together with an extra delivery van, extra storage and work space. Oh, and extra books. Instead of parcels reading 2 of 2 or 3 of 3 they read 30 of 30 or 24 of 25. Last year I aimed for 5 day turnaround. This year it's going to be 4.
Up (north) and away - Lez
Our second holiday this year was to North Yorkshire to stay in a village called Reeth. My Mum had done all the organising and the four of us rented a flat above a shop. We stayed for the week before the Spring Bank Holiday; in all that glorious weather. The stay was very restful and peaceful. I did lots of music practise and Andrew managed to draw a picture of the village - which we no need to get framed.
There was plenty of walking to do around Reeth and we only ventured out of the village on two days. For one day we went to York. There was so much we could've seen, but in the end we only went to the Jorvik Centre and the Minster. The other place we visited was Barnards Castle.
For the last evening meal the four of us went to the local restaurant. The food was excellent and there was plenty of it. They even had my favourite: Mississippi Mud Pie. The general concensus at the end of the week was: we'll have to come back again!
All change - Andrew
We had an innocent looking circular recently. Our savings institution has been gobbled up by the Woolwich building society. So what/ we thought. However, to get at our money we had to queue for 45 minutes for service due to 'staff training' and a mountain of bureaucracy. How could so simple a thing be such a mess? Our cheque guarantee facility has been bought up by the Co-op bank, but how do you guarantee a Woolwich cheque with a Co-op bank card? I have just received a cheque from the closed account. I now read innocent looking circulars!
Stapleton Sinfonia - Lez
This group has come a long way since it was formed last year. There are about 25-30 regulars and the standard of playing has improved over the months. I have just taken on the responsibility of 'Music Librarian'. This isn't as bad as it sounds. I am now authorised to borrow sets of music from the library on the Sinfonia's behalf. This will give us a chance to have a go at pieces we wouldn't be able to afford.
"Daisy, daisy ..." - Andrew
We went to Somerset this year for our main holiday. The first week in April! We took the ark down on the car roof rack and stopped off at a different bed and breakfast each evening. We left the car in Yeovil and travelled about 120 miles, ending up back at Yeovil a week later. Yes, we cycled the lot! Well laden down with changes of clothing and waterproofs (Lez: and chocolate!), all in bin liners.
It was an experience. We would like to do it again, but in a modified form - perhaps next year. I still have Lands End to John O'Groats by tandem as an ambition.
One of the highlights of the week were having a 'full English breakfast' every day. This came in many different variations and made a really good start to the day. Other highlights were: jet planes taking off one after another at HMS Yeovilton; coffee in pubs; the man who spent 15 minutes telling us about the Somerset levels; hot showers!; cream teas; walking along the long gallery at Montacute House; four poster bed; raw milk; TV; freewheeling across the levels to Muchelney Abbey; my birthday; etc, etc. I could go on. There are so many good things to remember. Of course there was the down side.
The worse thing that springs to mind was the weather. On our longest day (approx 35 miles) it rained. Steadily. All day. The next morning wasn't any better either as we got totally drenched within 3 minutes going about 1/4 mile up a boggy track to meet the main A road. Other little problems/upsets we had were: not having the energy to climb the hill at South Cadbury; geting wet; the maps disintegrating in the wet; getting wet; road works; getting wet; having to seek shelter in a church as it was so cold; getting wet; frost on the saddle; getting wet; losing the alarm clock, etc, etc. Again, I could go on. But none of these really got us down. (Lez: except maybe the rain!) It was fun and we came away knowing that we could visit all of these places again and still see more.
And finally ...
So there you have it. Six months gone of this year already. So much has happened so far, but there's still so much more to come. Do write to us if you ever get the time. We'd love to hear from you. See you again in December!
With best wishes
Copyright © 2000 Lez Bullwer