# Saturday, 03 March 2007
posted on Saturday, 03 March 2007 17:26:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 02 March 2007

Well I always knew it would happen. My husband is obviously so successful they finally named a town after him. The first step towards world domination.

posted on Friday, 02 March 2007 11:01:05 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I and my friend Petra had dinner at Jade Garden in Staines last night. We both agree that they serve the best crispy duck ever. The rest of the meal was also very good. One thing I always find odd about this restaurant is that despite it being so good and so reasonably priced for the quality of food and service it always seems to be very quiet. Last night for example there were only 2 other tables filled.

It could be that from the front the restaurant appears to be simply part of the attached hotel. In fact you need to go into the entrance of the hotel and walk straight through to Jade Garden. Being such a good restaurant this place really should fill every table even in the week. In all for a two course meal with a bottle of nice wine the total bill was only £45.

If you want good food, good service and fantastic crispy duck this is the place to go. As always we over ordered, although from past experience we have learnt that you can take home what you can’t eat in a doggy bag to enjoy later. Obviously my husband has also learnt this because when I arrived home he was eagerly waiting to claim the left over’s and greeted me with the words “what did you bring me this time” before snatching the bag from me and heating it up in the microwave.

I came across the following site http://www.krumble.com that allows you to review local businesses and have added this and other reviews. It seems like quite a good idea.

posted on Friday, 02 March 2007 10:22:35 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 01 March 2007

The government has recently brought in tougher penalties for people who use a mobile phone whilst driving. These new penalties apply to using a hand held mobile phone whilst driving; so it is still possible to use a hands free set with your phone. The fine has now doubled from £30 to £60 and it is also possible that three points could be added to your licence if you are caught.

I’m not sure that these changes are going to have any effect on drivers that persistently drive whilst using a mobile. As someone who uses my car rarely I find that my safety as a pedestrian has been compromised on numerous occasions by drivers who are simply having a good chat on their phone and are more intent on the conversation than watching the road. There has been legislation in place to fine these people since 2003 and I still see just as many drivers flouting the law. Only the other day a driver failed to notice me on a pedestrian crossing because he was talking on his mobile and was lucky to stop before hitting me. Of course the driver seemed to think that this was my fault.

The fact is that even with this legislation in place and even if people were to obey it, you still have the option to use a hands free set with your mobile whilst driving. Independent research shows that this can be as dangerous as driving whilst drunk because it reduces you concentration and awareness of your surroundings. While I appreciate that it is reassuring to have a mobile phone with you whilst driving in case you get lost or break down I think that this legislation needs to be still tougher to discourage drivers from putting others in danger. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6382077.stm

posted on Thursday, 01 March 2007 10:19:46 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 28 February 2007

On receiving a renewal notice for my car insurance today, I thought I would look around to see if I could get a better quote elsewhere. After looking around at several different websites that compare quotes from different insurance companies I noticed that the company I currently have my insurance with was offering a cheaper quote that the one in my renewal letter. Is this a case of a “brand new customer’s only policy”.

Thinking this a little strange I went direct to my current insurer’s website and input my details for a quote. Sure enough it came up considerably cheaper than the quote in my renewal letter; in fact the total difference was a sum of £146.44.  I decided to call my insurer directly causing much confusion with the call centre staff as I explained I wanted to pay the price I was quoted on the internet and not the more expensive one in my renewal letter.

After checking through the information and calling me several times to double check the details I was finally offered the considerably cheaper quote I had obtained on the internet. It makes me wonder how many customers just renew their car insurance with their current company and end up paying hundreds of pounds extra for cover just because they don’t have the time to double check the figures. Even if you just obtain an online quote from your current insurer it could still save you money.

posted on Wednesday, 28 February 2007 10:11:24 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [2] Trackback
# Tuesday, 27 February 2007

I learnt today that my local council is thinking of bringing in fortnightly refuse collections instead of the current weekly collection.

I and my husband already take recycling very seriously and recycle all our bottles, cans and paper waste through the current blue box scheme. We also compost all of our vegetable and garden waste. I have recently taken further steps to reduce waste such as getting my milk delivered so we can use the reusable glass bottles instead of plastic ones. I have also started buying all of fruit and vegetables from a local box scheme to further cut down on packaging. However we find that due to the fact that nearly everything you buy from the supermarket is wrapped in plastic that our wheeled bin is always full by the time of the Wednesday rubbish collection and that the bulk of this rubbish is plastic shrink wrap.

When the council does start a fortnightly collection of household waste it is my opinion this will only lead to piles of rotting rubbish beside peoples wheeled bins that will remain uncollected. This has already been the case in other councils that have already introduced this scheme see the following article and comments. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6234893.stm In the summer this could start to pose a health risk especially if it starts to attract higher number of rats as mentioned in the BBC article. A fortnightly collection does not reduce the amount of waste that a household produces it just forces people to find other ways to dispose of the uncollected waste such as fly tipping. The problem needs to be addressed in a more logical way perhaps looking at ways to recycle the ever increasing amount of plastic packaging that we currently have to include in household waste and makes up 90% of the waste in our household.

On another note if I am forced to do a trip to the local tip every other week to dispose of my household waste, does this mean I will get a reduction in council tax as I will only be getting half the service I used to from the council?

posted on Tuesday, 27 February 2007 09:46:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 26 February 2007

I just found this picture of my cat Oliver in the snow we have last month. I think its so cute how he almost blends in with the snowy background.

posted on Monday, 26 February 2007 18:04:19 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Today it came around to that time again, the time that every cat owner dreads, the three monthly worming pill. Most people only have to do this once every three months; we however have four cats, so four cats means four pills. Whilst they are usually cute little creatures they seem to sense that it is time for a pill. Our cats include two semi feral boys and two girls that we have raised from kittens. Obviously you are expecting that the problem lies with the semi feral rescue cats now named Oscar and Oliver. However these two cats whilst capable of delivering a very nasty bite (as my husband recently found out) are easily fooled. I wrapped their pills securely in a piece of ham and each cat took their pill on the first go… Job done… Two more to go.

Next the girls named Willow and Lucy. First I tried the ham trick with no luck. Both Willow and Lucy looked at me suspiciously as I tried to feed them the doctored ham. Willow tasted it and spat out the pill… lucky I brought some extra pills just in case. Lucy seeing Willow’s reaction to the ham proceeded to go and sit outside in the rain where she felt safe from the evil human who was obviously attempting to poison her. Whilst Lucy was sulking outside I came up with a new idea. We buy some crunchy biscuits that she really likes that have caramel in the middle. I decided to cut the biscuit in half and cunningly insert half a pill into each half of biscuit. Then I proceeded to reseal the biscuit and give it to Lucy. Success it went down first time. Just one more cat to go.

Whilst I was feeding Lucy the doctored biscuits Willow expressed an interest in them. Willow is famous for not taking pills, even the vet cannot get her to take one but on the off chance I gave her a doctored biscuit with half the dosage inside it. I was amazed when she took the fist biscuit without any fuss. Stupidly I thought the second biscuit would also work. Willow did take the biscuit and started chewing but it was soon spat out and discarded to be gobbled up by a hungry Oscar. I then decided to leave Willow until my husband Rory arrived home from work, she always liked him more then me anyway. When Rory got home he tried to trick Willow into taking the pill by putting it into ham. “I tried that already she is not that stupid” I said. Then he tried to grab Willow and put the pill down her throat (this method is not recommended and does cause injury) see http://www.thejokeshop.org/index.php/2007/02/22/how-to-feed-a-cat-a-pill/

Yes Rory did get bitten and this method should come with a health warning. As a last result he once again tried my earlier doctored biscuit trick. My response was “there is no way that will work” but Willow trusting her favoured human took her next dose of pill without problems. So that amounts to: Four pills into four cats with only one bitten finger and two wasted pills. That must be a record.

posted on Monday, 26 February 2007 08:53:08 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 25 February 2007

I had a surprise this morning when I looked in my garden pond. It appears to have invaded by frogs over night. Whilst I am used to this yearly invasion it appears to have happened very early this year, perhaps due to the unusually warm weather we are currently experiencing. I hope this doesn’t mean that any frog spawn laid too early will have problems surviving to maturity.

A note on another invader to the pond: an unusually large 3 inch long tadpole. Any comments on what this could be are appreciated. I have nicknamed him bitey and am waiting to see what he grows into.

posted on Sunday, 25 February 2007 17:21:50 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I recently brought The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess for my Nintendo Wii. After nearly 80 hours of game playing I have now just completed the Temple of Time and am well on my way to starting the sky level. I have always been a fan of the Zelda games having owned A Link to the Past on my SNES. I think its the problem solving that appeals to me most. Twilight Princess has many new features such as the ability to ride a horse which you can call to your side using the special horse grass and later in the game the horse calling charm. I also like the feature that allows you to switch between wolf and person. This adds a new puzzle element to the game as there are certain things you can only see when you are in wolf mode such as the diggable places and the Poes souls.

The game starts off quite simply but as you collect more and more weapons from the various creatures you kill it becomes quite complex and can be puzzling when you have to switch between several different weapons to kill a particular creature. Whilst so far I have managed to go through most of the game working it out for myself I must admit to a few sneaky peeks at this particularly good walk through guide http://uk.gamespot.com/features/6162248/p-2.html in moments of dark despair at three 0 clock in the morning (yes this game really is that addictive). In all I am so far very impressed with game and as I estimate I am half way though it probably have many more enjoyable hours game play ahead of me.

posted on Sunday, 25 February 2007 17:16:03 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 19 February 2007

It’s now been two years since I had my laser eye surgery. I used to have a prescription of -5.75 in each eye which basically meant I could see about 10cm in front of face and everything else was blurred. From the age of 13 I have worn glasses or contact lenses and am now at the age of nearly 30 just enjoying the freedom of being able to see normally. After noticing there are not many blogs showing actual experience of laser eye surgery I thought I would post my experience. I hope it helps people who are thinking of having the procedure done so they know what to expect. It may seem scary but I found the results were worth it.

Five years after going for my first consultation for laser eye surgery and being told I was unsuitable for treatment, I finally decided to go back again for another consultation. I was sure that I would be told again that I was unsuitable for treatment but was hopeful that with new technological advances there might be a solution. This time when I had the consultation I was told that I could have Wavefront treatment, a new type of treatment that has recently become available using more sensitive lasers and mapping of the eyeball.

It took me about a day of thinking about it and then I decided to book the treatment for two weeks after the initial consultation. It all seemed a bit scary and although I had wanted the operation for so long I found myself getting increasingly worried as the day of the procedure got closer.

I had booked the procedure straight after work on a Friday so that I would have the weekend to recover. At 5 a clock my boyfriend came to meet me and we went over to the Ultralase clinic in Hammersmith. I had a brief check up during which they checked my prescription, put some drops into my eyes and explained the aftercare procedures.

Then I had to take my glasses off and go into the treatment room, which was a little scary because these people seem to think you can see where you are going when you don’t have your glasses on, you would have thought being in this business they would at least know you need a guide dog to get to the treatment chair. More drops to numb the pain and then they started on the first eye. First they put the suction cup on the eyeball to elevate it so that they can make the incision. Then everything goes black, I guess that’s when they make the actual incision. Next you have to stare at the red dot whilst they use the laser. The laser makes a really loud, slightly scary noise and there is a bad smell as the surface of the eyeball burns away (this is what the leaflet describes as a fragrant aroma). Sound nasty but you don’t feel anything. Next the weirdest bit. Someone washes your eyeball. It’s really strange to feel water running down inside your eyeball and not being able to do anything about it and a fair amount of the water naturally ends up in your ear.

Well that’s the first eye done and they ask you to sit in a chair with your eyes closed whilst they recalibrate the laser to do the next one. Same procedure but the next eye is slightly more uncomfortable. I think it’s probably because you are expecting the suction cup on the eyeball and so are waiting for the pressure. When it’s all over and you walk back down to the recovery room you have fairly limited vision, although it’s better than without your glasses before treatment, it is very cloudy but I could see walk down the stairs … amazing, I couldn’t have done that before. You have to spend 30 minutes in the recovery room and then see the surgeon before you can go home.

Now the interesting bit is finding your way home. The surgeon recommends wearing sunglasses for the first couple of days after treatment and by this time it was dark outside. I really needed the sunglasses, the smallest bit of light made by eyes stream with water, even a traffic light was like a beacon. Getting on the tube I got a lot of strange looks with my dark glasses on, people either thought I was blind or was covering up a black eye. Changing trains at Richmond everyone moved out of way instead of crowding in front of me as they usually do.

On arriving home I had to keep my eyes closed for the whole evening so that the flap in the cornea had chance to settle. We had the lights turned down as low as possible and still the dim light was too bright for my eyes. I had to put 2 different kinds of drops into my eyes every 2 hours in order to prevent infection and help lubricate the eyes. At this stage my eyes felt like I had really dirty contact lenses in, all scratchy and with stabbing pains at around 5 minute intervals. At night I had to wear eye protectors for 2 weeks after the operation. These are basically plastic guards with air holes in them which you secure with sticky tape; they look like something out of The Fly and are very uncomfortable.

The next morning when I woke up, I could see the time on the alarm clock without glasses or lenses for the first time in 10 years. Although bright light still hurt my eyes, by lunchtime I could walk around in the sunlight without my dark glasses on. At the 1 day check up I was told I had already got 20/20 vision and that it would get even better. I had to use the 2 lots of eye drops every couple of hours for the next week and although I was back at work on Monday I had to take regular breaks away form the computer and after a long day my eyes were very sore and dry. After about a week I no longer had any pain in my eyes and two years after the operation I think it’s the best thing I have ever done.

posted on Monday, 19 February 2007 21:08:52 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

While working on my Mac mini the other day I encountered an easily fixed but very irritating problem. When I tried to load my creative suite programs (Photoshop CS, Illustrator, In Design etc) they all failed to load. Instead they got to the stage where they were initializing and then just hung. After reloading creative suite and many hours of frustrating research trawling through forums looking for a solution I finally found an off the wall fix. Apparently if you change the time zone in the Macs settings and then restart the computer everything will work. I must admit to being very sceptical about whether this would solve my problem but after nearly 3 hours of trying to fix the problem I was on the verge of throwing my Mac out of the window. So try it I did. After changing the time zone from London to Dublin, restarting the computer and then changing it back to London again everything was back to normal and Creative Suite worked as usual.

posted on Monday, 19 February 2007 20:30:47 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback