Friday, 23 October 2009

Let's not get angry about Nick Griffin and the BNP

I watched BBC's Question Time this evening because people kept shouting about it on Twitter and I wanted to know what the fuss was for.
I have to say I don't know why people were getting so angry. I understand that Nick Griffin's policies and party are dispicable, and that politics should not be about race, but I agree with what Bonnie Greer said, don't you?

"The British people have got too much common sense."

The British National Party will never be a significant part of main stream British politics for just this reason. I think it's quite clear from Nick Griffin's own responses and behaviour on the show tonight that he does not himself have a clear understanding of how his policies relate to Nazism, denial of holocaust, racism, genocide and religious conflict. The lack of integrity he showed was astonishing - whenever confronted with a quote that put him in a bad light, he claimed to be misquoted and shook his head in denial even when claims were backed up with video footage, on YouTube, clearly visible to the world.

There is no need to get angry about a man who is clearly confused about his own opinions. Whilst not all British politicians have integrity or know what they're talking about, I think its safe to say that when these faults are combined with despicable policies and associations with racial hate groups internationally, even the most patriotic Brits will not be fooled into supporting them. This assumes of course that the main stream alternatives are getting things right, but that is a debate for another post, probably on another blog.

The BNP leader was also challenged about his association with the Klu Klux Klan, in particular when he was photographed meeting David Duke, a leader of the KKK in America. According the the Telegraph, Mr. Duke claims in his book,"My Awakening: A Path to a Racial Understanding", published 1998, that the integration of different ethnicities is racial genocide.

David Dimbleby quoted the BNP website as saying that the current government's immigration policy is "the greatest act of genocide against the British people in history." Nick Griffin agreed with this, and another quote saying that the government was committing an act of "deliberate, calculated genocide" against the British people with this policy. I smell a distinct comparison.

Like Baroness Warsi, I am appalled at the use of the word genocide by both of these groups in this context, especially when you take into account the violent and horrific nature of other genocides around the world. I also believe that the BNP should be ashamed to have such an association and such a similarity of ideals as the leader of the KKK, classified as a hate group in the United States.

I would have verified Mr. Dimbleby's quotations myself, but the BNP website was down, so all I got was a temporary page with bullet-pointed one-liner policies, and large buttons suggesting I "Donate", "Subscribe" or read the newsletter. No thank you.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Getting the Hang of the Gym

So I've been going to the gym for a couple weeks now - today was my fourth time! Kirsty and I had booked to go to a hula hooping class which we were really looking forward to, and we'd gone half an hour early to put in some time on the machines first.

However, it all went to pot when we discovered that our class had been cancelled and they were holding "Aero Express" instead. While waiting in the queue to ask exactly what that entailed we didn't want to do it unless it involved some kind of bubbly chocolate (is it just me or are half the gym classes also kinds of food... lol).

Turns out its just regular aerobics and we weren't really up for that so we gymed it for 40 minutes. Then we thought we'd go through to the weights machine room and get a hot gym advisor to show us what to do, but it turns out you have to book an appointment, and there were like none available for weeks. It's pretty rubbish. And it doesn't help that Kirsty's going to Paris on Wednesday next week for a whole week! I might go without her while she's away! Shhh :p

After discovering that we weren't really in the mood for going back to the cardio stuff so we just quite while we were ahead. I kicked ass on the stepper today though, even if I do say so myself. I'm getting used to the machines and which programmes to pick on them. The weights machines are the next step it's just going to be a little while before I can learn them and find out what I should be doing.

Got to get to class now anyway, bye for now!

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Phone Line and the Internet

So today was the day when we were going to set up our internet! We've had the box since last week and this morning we got texted the activation code, so Gale started the whole set up procedure. But she found that the phone socket beside the piano wasn't connected properly, so she unscrewed it and slotted the little doodad in place and tried again.

No luck.

So I followed the wire to see where it went, to make sure it was a real wire. Above the kitchen door I found another phone socket which had a connecter by it but not plugged in, so we plugged that in and tried again at the piano socket.

No luck there.

Continuing to follow the cable through the kitchen I found a third socket right by the window, where the phone line comes in from outside.

Well that didn't work either - no prizes for guessing that.

So Gale tried plugging the box into the socket above the door, which was an exercise and a half as there wasn't a power socket too near by - it's right across the hallway!

You guessed it - that failed too.

I couldn't see the above-the-doorway socket to unscrew it, not from the stool anyway, would have had to get a ladder, so first I went to the more manageable one beside the kitchen window.
As soon as I unscrewed it I could see a problem. There were no wires connected to the actual socket part of the casing - so when we plugged in the cable it wasn't even attached to a broken wire! But I could see wires in there, and more screws, so I got at those as well.

I think its fair to say that on the removal of the second panel the problem was pretty clear to me.

The wire which came out from the window had 7 smaller wires inside. 2 connected to the front casing, 2 broken and tangled and 3 cut off completely.

The wire which goes from this socket to the rest of the flat (the big white cable in the above photo) had another crowd of wires - at least 5 - which were also broken off and not connected to anything - no wonder neither of the other sockets worked!

So now we need to get in a man to fix the cables. We're going to bother the landlady about it. We haven't studied the lease yet but I'm pretty sure this sort of thing is her responsibility, not ours. We're quite happy to pay line rental, but the physical line - well that's like the walls or the furniture surely - we don't get to take it with us, so we don't really deal with it, we just complain about it.

So I'm still stuck to the library unfortunately, although I am doing a lot of my reading on the laptop at home.

Hopefully it won't take too long to get sorted out and then I can get on with posting about ALL the exciting things I'm doing at the moment, not just the occasional one.

Love you all

*edit at 00.42 14th October '09 *
Apparently I was wrong. The orange and white wires which are connected to the front panel of the doodad are all we need. That's right, we has internets :) and a phone. I would photo it for you but it's not that exciting-looking.
'Night then.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Busy Times

After all my promises about more regular updating I got off to a great start.

Then my source of internet in the flat failed and I have to come to the library again, at least until Tuesday when we should get access again. Fortunately I can bring my laptop and sit somewhere quiet rather than being tied to the hot whirring computer labs full of students having whispered conversations and laughing at YouTube.

I've been quite busy lately, socially as well as studying wise.

Gangshow on Sunday afternoon was pretty good - I had lots of fun. The only rubbish part was when we were learning this tap dance that all the girls are supposed to be doing. Watching me try to tap dance is funnier even than seeing Michael McIntyre. Well not quite, but its close. After I'd stopped stressing out about how rubbish I was and realising I'm so near the back hardly anyone will see me, it was pretty amusing. I can smile and head in the right direction. That's enough for me I think.
On Thursday (today!) it's the South East Region's first AGM (a big Scouty thing in the area) and the GangShow were asked if they could provide a little entertainment. It's only a small group going, like 15 people, and we're doing one of the numbers from the show (the very patriotic one with songs from the Proclaimers). Because its just a small group, the regular soloists aren't all going (they're busy) they had to give them to other people, just for this one off, and I got a couple lines to sing! :D Just my luck its the line about "When I get drunk..." lol

On Monday evening I was at Cubs, as usual. We were having a foreign food night so after playing a couple themed games, we tried some different things (microwave ready meals from tesco!). We had moussaka, nachos and vegetable curry. Almost everyone thought the nachos were the best (I think it was the cheese, lol) and no one like moussaka the best, although they still finished it between them! Moussaka is one of my favourites so I was a bit gutted, but never mind. Afterwards I had them all draw posters of their favourite foreign food. I don't think I've ever seen so many drawings of pizza in my life, or so many variations on the spelling!

Tuesday morning brought my first trip to the Edinburgh University Gym (well not since I went to see it during my freshers week in 2007!) I went with Kirsty, Megan and Gale, and we had a good time. We stayed for an hour so I only went on a couple different CV machines, just to suss the place out a bit. They have a separate room with all the weight machines in, but the others weren't really up for it so I didn't go look this time. Kirsty and I are going back tomorrow morning. We're hoping to get into a hula hooping class, but Rosie says their usually full unless you book in advance, so we may just stay in the gym the whole time. I'm really looking forward to it though, it's much more interesting than running, and an off-peak membership is only £60 for the full year (off-peak means before 14.30 on a week day, or any time at the weekend) so I can see myself being more diligent about gyming than I am about running.

Yesterday, Wednesday, I went to see Kirstin in the afternoon. We played a game with these tiles that had different patterns of squares on them and you had to match up trails of as many of the same coloured square as you could. She beat me. Gutted. After that I took her to McDonalds for a burger and an ice cream, then we got the bus to her youth club in Portobello.
I got back to the flat and had some home made pizza (from BBC Good Food except mine was ham and pineapple, not the topping here) then Megan, who has a pre-paid cinema card and ets Orange Wednesdays, took me to the cinema for free. We went to see the new Fame movie. It is the BEST. FILM. EVER. We were walking home and we just couldn't get over how good it was and how much we wished we had some kind of talent like the kids in the film. Neither of us could decide whether we'd rather sing or dance. But we are going to learn a dance of some sort, to show off, and for fun. Probably the Hoedown Throwdown from Hannah Montana although it looks pretty hard to learn!

So that's you all updated. Hopefully I'll drag myself to the library after the gym tomorow and before class so watch this space for my gyming and GangShowing antics!

Much love

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Chiquitos and Chiquitas

So last night we had a really good time.There were loads of us at Chiquitos, like 16 of us? And that wasn't even everyone either - some people could come, like Andy Phil, who had to go to the hospital to get his hand X-rayed!

We were sat at two different tables because there wasn't enough room for all of us at the one!
Here is the other table:

But I forgot to take a picture of everyone at my own. Finlay remembered, so I shall steal it when it gets put on facebook!

Unfortunately the service wasn't great - we didn't get our drinks for 40 minutes after we ordered them, and they came at the same time as the food,
which we'd ordered well after them. And the other table had their order taken ages before us
so they were mostly done by the time we got our food. All in all it was a bit shocking, so we didn't leave a tip. I'm sure it was just because they were really busy, so I'm not dissuaded from going back some other time. I just wouldn't go with a large party on a Saturday night!

Aside from the service the food was really good (I had shredded beef burritos and a side order of coleslaw) and we had a really good time :) Marsailidh liked her present from me, and all her other presents too. After we came back to the flat, every time someone new arrived I would totally be like "Look at the awesome thing that I made!" - I'm so not cool like that.

So yeah, like I just said, after dinner most of us came back to the flat and loads of other people pitched up too. We had the rest of the awesome cake that Mars's mum had made for her birthday, and we were mostly just hanging around chatting and laughing at people's drunken stupidity. It was good times really.

I persuaded Faisal and Kirsty that they wanted to come to see the Gangshow, so they've got front row seats on Saturday night - at seat 7 and seat 20! The only seats together were at the back or at the top, so they weren't really up for that. I'm pretty excited about it. We're going to go for tea before the show and Roisin's friends new restaurant that's opening around that time, on Lothian Road (I shall totally review it when we go!)

Here's some photoleos for your viewing pleasure :)
Me and Kirsty



Roisin and Carl

Gemma and Gale

Kirsty being TALLER than Marsailidh (this has never happened before!)

Richard, Keith, Gale and Marsailidh

Kirsty and Becky

Kirsty, Marsailidh and Kirsty

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Marsailidh's Present

I am obviously an awesome friend.

How do I justify this statement you ask? Well the amazing personal-ness of the present which I've got Marsailidh for her birthday kind of gives it away!

I made her this scrapbook page:

Click here to see more.

Then I got it printed and framed, like so:
I think you'll agree. It's awesome!!
Going to give it to here when we're out for dinner tonight. AWESOME :D

Inverter Trouble

A while ago, the screen on Chris's laptop stopped working. He took it to a computer shop but they were unable to do anything with it, so he bought a shiney new one. I begged the old computer off him, hoping that there were better computer shops in Edinburgh where I could get it fixed for less than the £335 it would have cost to get Dell to do it for us. That was way back in like May. I used the laptop with a monitor for a while but then a bumped a connector one day and that stopped working too, so I decided I'd better get round to seeing if I could get it fixed.
I packed the thing up and took it with me to various computer shops in my local area. The first guy said he would replace the screen for £200 and be done. Seemed alright but I wasn't convinced I wouldn't get a better deal else where, and the guy barely even looked at the computer to see what might be wrong. The next place I took it didn't actually do laptop repairs, and the last place said they would run a diagnostic test for £40 and see what was wrong with it. So they seemed like the best bet.
I totally meant to ask my parents for some money for it, because I was totally skint at the time, but some how it just kept slipping my mind and as the summer came I got too busy to worry about the laptop in its box gathering dust in my room.
Then came the 16th of August and I moved out my flat, finding the laptop and feeling sorry for the poor thing.
Having lugged it back across town again when I moved to my new flat two weeks later, the feelings were less of pity and more of resentment. In my new, smaller (cheaper) room, I needed to use the laptop to make it worth the storage space, and at the end of the month my student loan eventually came through.

On Thursday I took it back to that computer shop again, to see what they could do. In about 10 minutes he had determined the problem - my inverter was broken. Whatever that was. How much will that cost? £35-£70, and a labour charge to fit it. Seemed pretty good to me, compared to Dell's offer of £335!! So he got out his screwdrivers and took off the panelling around the screen. He showed me the inverter and said it was unusually attached - he was worried it was integrated into the screen so that he wouldn't be able to replace it separately. The £ signs rolled across my eyes as I thought about how much that would cost. But he found some more screws and was able to get at the back of the LCD screen, from which angle he could see that the inverter was in fact separate, and I breathed a sigh of relief as he began to screw it all back together.
He said he would order the thing and phone me when it came in, probably Monday or Tuesday. The £109 bill had to be paid in advance unfortunately, so it was rather depressing to part with all that money and still have a broken computer. It was fair enough though. If they ordered the part and I never reappeared then they'd have lost out.

So that was Thursday. You can imagine my surprise when I got a call on Friday morning to say they'd had a really fast delivery and I could bring the laptop in that very day to have the part replaced. Intending to go back to my studying, and to take the laptop in after my lecture later on, I thanked him and hung up the phone. About five minutes later I was too excited to concentrate, so headed over to the shop. I watched the guy take out all the same screws and put them all back in again like he had the day before. A quick test showed everything was fine and I was so happy I could have skipped home!!

So now I have my very own laptop to use - I'll be online a lot more now, so as long as I'm not to busy I think you'll be hearing a lot more from me.

Hope you're all very well,

Love Katie

Friday, 2 October 2009

Psychology 3

Well as I suspected there is a LOT of reading involved in my course this year. Someone once told me that you should treat your university course like a full time job, so you should do 35-40 hours a week. So I divided the time between the modules and split it up across the week, and I've got more than enough to keep me occupied.

First there's Biological Psychology - I had a lecture for it today, which was quite interesting. In terms of lecture related reading this one's easy - one chapter in a textbook covers two 2-hour lectures. Nice and simple. However, in week 7 we have a "Brain quiz" worth 25% of our grade for the module which involves drawing, labeling and describing the various bits of the brain, and research methods into brain biology. Lots to study for that. We even get to borrow model brains from the department to figure out where things go. I'm looking forward to that but my turn isn't until the 10 days before the test! arg!

Then there's Differential Psychology - this one's about individual differences, specifically in personality traits at this stage, and there is a lot of reading for this. A couple chapters in a text book, 3 or 4 compulsory journal articles and a few extras, for each lecture. Some lectureres might give more or less than others so i'm hoping it eases of later in the term! Fortunately there's only the one final exam for this course, so nothing in particular to stress about until much later on.

Tuesdays is Social Psychology, which is actually pretty interesting. At the moment we're looking at social comparison, and how everyone tends to rate themselves at being better than the average person on any particular dimensions. In other words, most people think that they are nicer than the average person, but obviously this can't be true because we can't all be above the average, some people have to be below! Its called the better-than-average effect (no points for imagination) and the various bits of research and theory that have gone towards explaining it are very interesting although they can be confusing at times! Reading for this course is 4 or 5 articles per lecture, for all the lectures this year, although we do get a week off with this class, which is nice.

Methodology is certainly not the worst for reading, but two hour statistics lectures are rough. I need to re-learn how to use the statistics programme, SPSS, before next term when we have to do practical projects, because lets just say it wasn't my strong point last year! Although there isn't much reading for these lectures, you do have to spend some time going over things to understand the formulas and how to do it in SPSS and what it actually means and what its actually for and all that kind of thing. We get some demonstrations as well as just lectures so they should help clarify things.

By far the heaviest work and reading load is, however, the literature review, which is worth twice as many course credits as each of the other modules, and is almost completely private study. We get three one hour tutorials on it, and are expected to hand in a 5000 word review by the last week of term. Rough! Fortunately i managed to get the topic that I really wanted: "Can mental imagery help treat movement disorders and/or limb pain?" You may find that as term goes on and I start to try and make sense of all the articles and "synthesise" them together i start ranting on about it here - I'll try to make them as lay-person friendly as possible, they might make interesting reading, and you all can constructively criticise my writing. Obviously I can't put up sections from the report until after its marked, but you can give me pointers on things which aren't making any sense.

Anyway, enough about me and my degree, how are you all?

love Katie

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Back-to-School Time

Hi y'all, long time no see!

Sorry I haven't posted, I've spent the last couple of months swinging wildly between periods of intense activity and periods of intense laziness.
I went on holiday for three weeks in the summer, and should really tell you about that, but at the moment I'm making a scrapbook of it. When I upload it to print, I will post a link, and maybe I'll post a couple of previews before then.

Since I got back I've moved into a new flat, with the same flatmates plus the addition of Megan. We haven't got internet sorted out in the flat yet, although it is now in the pipeline, which is my main excuse for not updating you all, although not a very good one.

Yesterday was the start of the university term this year. I only had a one hour introductory lecture in the afternoon, so it wasn't a very taxing day! We got handbooks and registration forms and literature review lists and forms, and the lecturer read through the handbook with us, which wasn't really necessary!

Each semester I do three specialist topic modules (which are set for everyone), and a methodology module. In semester 1 I also do a 5000-word literature review, and in the second semester we all have to do group projects and hand in a 3000-word report.

The choices for the literature review don't really relate well to clinical psychology, which is unfortunate. However, there is one on the treatment of movement and pain disorders which is relevant, and two on dementia, and one on "the talking cure" all of which are also relevant. We have to choose 6 options, so my other two were just random ones that seemed interesting. We won't get told which option we've got until Monday, but I've already started doing some reading on pain and movement therapies, because I'm really enthusiastic about working at the moment (don't know how long it'll last though!)

Aside from that I haven't been up to much interesting.
I fell over yesterday and bruised my sacrum, which is still really uncomfortable, and quite painful when moving between standing and sitting positions, and when I stay still for too long. I thought for a bit it might be broken but I don't want to go to the hospital in case they put me on bed rest for two weeks or something - I need to go to all my lectures and stuff this year if I have any chance of getting a First! Besides, the pain is easing off so it can't be too serious.

Hope you are all well, and hopefully now I'm back online more regularly and doing things at uni I'll have more time to post and more things to post about.

Hugs and kisses

Friday, 17 July 2009

My Birthday & Holidays

I know I'm a really irregular blogger anyway, I just thought I would let you all know that I'm going away on holiday for a while! However, you'll all be delight when I return because I will have lots of things to say and lots of pictures to show you.

The more exciting part of this post is below:

I made a scrapbook page of my birthday barbeque. My actual birthday was like 2 weeks ago, and we had the BBQ on Sunday afternoon. Fortunately the weather stayed good and dry, although there was patchy cloud sometimes.

The journalling is a little hard to read so here it is:

I had a barbeque for my birthday, in my parents garden. A whole bunch of people came - it was really good fun! Chris had come up for the weekend and some of my friends from school came - Martin and Kirsty and Marsailidh. Rosie was there too, and Rachel, Michael and Brenda from church.
A friend of Chris’s who was on a road trip came with his friends Scott and Dave and they were really cool. Dan himself is a singer - that’s how he knows Chris, so I had a very harmonious rendition of Happy Birthday this year! I was a little bit worried that things would be difficult because of my lack of concrete planning but everything went just fine.
We had burgers and sausages and kebabs on the barbeque, fruit salad, strawberry tarts and chocolate birthday cake with 20 pink and white candles.

Products used were made by the designers at See the page slightly bigger here:

Have a look at some of my other stuff too :)

Have a nice time while I'm away!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Catch 22 Comedy Club at the Arc, Stockton

I was at Chris's this weekend and we had a really good time :)
Usually we go out to the pub on a Saturday but this weekend we went out to a Comedy show instead. It was in a theatre/club venue in Stockton on Tees, a slightly trashy town in Teeside, a short drive away from (the much nicer) Guisborough. We went with Nick and his new girlfriend Jazz (short for Jasmine), Andrew and Faye, Peter and Debbie (dad and stepmum). It was a really good night. There were three comedians on and an interval between acts for bar and loo trips (NEVER go to the toilet during a comedian's act - you will be laughed at!)

The first guy was really fat, which I have nothing against at all. It was just disappointing that his whole routine was based around fat jokes, and that got a bit old pretty quickly. It was funny, I laughed a lot, just a little stale.

Act number two was a policeman and he was really funny. He had all policeman jokes two but they weren't so stale. Faye's a police officer and she said they were all kindo of old but I hadn't heard him before and I loved it.

The last guy was definately the funniest, as is usually the way with these things. His set was all about his failed love life and although sometimes rather crude was really really good. Unfortunately towards the end of the set some members of the audience were getting a little the worse for wear but they didn't manage to spoil the set.

The compere was also really good. The guy who was supposed to do it had a family emergency so this guy got called in at short notice so he didn't know the area at all. He was asking where people were from, just as a warm up thing, and they all had to explain where things were next to and all that. In all the cuffuffle Chris's shouts that I was from Scotland were drowned out so I didn't have to suffer the teasing because of that.

I don't have any pictures or anything, I thought I'd just tell you a story.

That's all for now,
Hugs and kisses

Monday, 1 June 2009

We've got a Flat

Flat one was very nice. We found it in February, at a viewing one evening. The letting agent said that whoever was first to the office in the morning would get the flat, so we figured we'd go down at 7, because they opened at 8. Unfortunately, one group was waiting from 6.

Flat two was also very nice. The letting company seemed keen to have good references for us and stuff, so we filled in all the forms and got all the bits of paper and took them down, only to discover that yet again, another group had got there first.

Flat three we actually managed to put down a deposit for! It was in Rankeillor Street, and it was a private let. But about a week after we paid up, we spoke to the land lady, only to discover that she'd managed to sell it unexpectedly, so our deposit was returned.

This is flat number four!This first floor corner flat is perfect. It has a large kitchen, 5 bedrooms (2 smaller ones pay less rent), 2 bathrooms, a box room and a piano! We paid the deposit and signed the lease last night, and we are just SO excited about moving in.
The flat goes from the bay window to the far left, above the traffic lights, along and around the corner, above the JFK hairdresser to the window above the door to the stair with the blue To Let sign.
We absolutely love it!

Monday, 18 May 2009

Some Pretty Close Up Bugs

So yesterday I was revising in the garden and Dad was gardening and he spotted all these cute red bugs! Apparently its mating season, but I've saved the blushes of my mum by not putting up the ones where they are actually doing it! :p
My camera has a "super macro" mode which lets me take pictures this close up. Its my favourite thing in the world! I do it ALL the time!

Now back to the revision!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Check out the wedding photos in the previous post

check out the previous post for all the wedding pictures!

This is just to make you laugh when I should be revising...
Worlds tallest man and matching dog*

*this is not the worlds tallest man, its my friend Pidge. And its not his dog either... lol

Saturday, 2 May 2009

An Easter Wedding

Apparently y'all are missing me! That's very sweet! So I thought I would update you all on what I've been doing.

I was at Chris's for Easter and we went to our friends Chris and Ruth's wedding! It was at the church on Easter Monday, and the reception afterwards was at Rushpool Hall, a beautiful old country house converted into a hotel, about 40 minutes drive from Guisborough.

Me, Chris and Nick
Nick, Peter and Debbie
Chris and Ruth

The cake, made by the mother of the groom
The back of the dress
Chris and Chris
Julia (the cheif bridesmaid) and Peter, her other half.
Chris and me
It was great day. Chris and I were singing in the choir for the service so we got a different view than one often does. The old rector Philip and the new rector Graham were both doing parts of the service. The choice of hymns was excellent - All Things Bright and Beautiful was nowhere to be seen! The signing of the registers took place in the main part of the church, before the prayers and the final hymn, so the choir got to sing an extra two short anthems. After the service the choir processed out in front of the bride and groom and formed a guard of honour for them outside the church. A photo was taken with the choir, then we hung around for ages while the photographers were working inside with the couple, then we hung around some more when the came out and took pictures in front of the door, at the gate to the Priory next door, and in front of the car.
Chris's dad Peter drove us all to the reception, where we hung around for even longer waiting for all the photographs to be done with.
The dinner was really good. Starter was vegetable soup or a filo pastry basket with cheese and mushroom sauce, then the main course was a three-meat carvery, with the biggest Yorkshire puddings I have seen in my life and loads of piggies in blankets. Dessert was treacle sponge or profiteroles.
After the meal were the speeches. The father of the bride, the groom and the best man all said their bit. Ste, who was the best man, was totally hilarious, definately the best best-man speech I've ever heard or read! He began with a short anecdote about how Chris, the groom, had been doing very well in Craft/Tech at school, until the day he'd put a power drill through the classroom wall!! Then he told us about a memorable choir hike where Chris had sat down on a rock, not far from the end, and proclaimed, dramatically "I'm not going any further, you all go on, leave me here!" and had promptly been given a piggy back by the assistant organist. He then explained how when the two of them were at high school together, neither of them had a girlfriend. He could understand it in his own case, he said, but he was confused how it happened to Chris, a 16-year-old lad with his own mode of transport and a penchant for drilling things...
Needless to say, we were in fits of laughter, Chris's poor mum couldn't even speak for five minutes!
After that we all got chucked out of the dining room for it to be tidied and reorganised for the evening reception. A lot of folks went home to get changed, but we had planned to stay, and sat in the comfy chairs around the bar chattering.
A lot of people from the choir were there in the evening, so there were plenty folk to talk to, and there was a DJ, who played old school swing dancing music, as well as some more modern stuff, and my own Chris (i.e. not the groom) was even prevailed upon to dance more than once! There was a buffet, and the cake was cut and shared around - it had been made by the groom's mum Christine and it was really really good! We dragged ourselves home between 11 and 12, full and happy but totally exhausted!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Hmm... Falafels

Turns out I'm not a huge fan of chickpeas, so I didn't really enjoy the falafels I made last night.
They look pretty good, they just taste rather bland, and then the little flavour that the chickpeas actually had was kinda icky. They would probably be fine smothered in sauce - the soup I made on Wednesday went so thick over night I could stir in some rice and mushrooms and have a curry. I do like lentils though, I can see myself doing more with them. I'm certainly not put off the concept of vegetarianism, but need to try a little harder to find out what I like. Really I just wish I could afford the meat!

Not much exciting going on this week. Watched quite a few slushy films - Pride and Prejudice, The Wedding Planner, and The Prince and Me. All wonderfully romantic. Although you do wonder sometimes how people manage to fall so violently in love when it appears they hardly know each other! Having said that, I may be a little guilty of it myself...

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


I decided this weekend that I was going to go back to being a vegetarian most of the time. Why? Beans and pulses are cheaper than meat! I'm not of course going to be a real vegetarian - if a meat option is as cheap as/better value than the vegetarian option then I'll be right in there!.
To be honest, I was being mostly vegetarian before, just not in too healthy a way - I mostly ate bread and pasta, with dairy and eggs for protein.

But I was at home this weekend and looking through some recipe magazines that mum had, and there were some really nice-looking things in the vegetarian one, and they were all so much cheaper than the meat recipes in the other ones. Some of them are even "super foods" with more vitamins and minerals than I can count on one hand!! It's lower in fat, especially saturated fat (although dairy stuff isn't) and can still have plenty of protein.

So my menu this week? Home made tuna patties (tuna is cheap! and its fish, so its fine), sweet potato and red lentil soup, felafels, a Frankensteins burger (on Free Food Tuesday) and steak, courtesy of my mum, at the weekend.

Love it :)

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Pretty Flowers and Pancakes

Things I love about Spring: all the lovely flowers growing. Pancake day.
I thought I would write a post about them both.

Every time I walk through the Meadows and George Square these days there are more crocuses springing up.
The purple ones are my favourite! I'm loving the super-macro function on my camera, which lets you take close up photos like these. The colours are so good, and I love playing with all the different colour and exposure settings, just to see how they turn out. I also really like the way most of the shot is out of focus, like in this one. And then all the tiny details of the veins and stuff that you can see in the petals.
It rained last night, just a light shower, but enough to make me all wet and to make my hair go curly, on the way to the library. It was worth it though, because this morning everywhere was covered with flowers and it was sooo lovely!

The other great thing about spring is of course Pancake Day! Its traditional in the UK to make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, to use up perishables, like eggs, milk and butter, before the fasting period of Lent. These days people don't really fast in the same way much, because the church isn't so important to them, its more about giving up chocolate or smoking or something. But we still like to make the pancakes because they're yummy!

This was my first Pancake Day that I haven't been at home, and I nearly didn't make any, but then I saw people talking about it on Twitter all day and it made me pretty hungry for them, so I went to Tesco's on the way home.
We didn't have a mixing bowl, so I used a lunch box, and we don't have a measuring jug or scales either, so I was guessing really.
I used 6 rounded dessert spoons of self-raising flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 and a half dessert spoons of sugar, and 1 egg, and some milk. Seived everything together, added the egg, then kept putting in a little milk at a time, stirring with a fork, until it made batter that looked like my mum's! I greased the frying pan with some oil on some kitchen paper.
They were pretty good. The first few were rather brown because the pan was too hot, and a little soft in the middle because I made them too thick, but I got the hang of it eventually! Also, I think I should use a spoon next time, rather than a fork, because they made a lot of bubbles. Or maybe they're supposed to. Comments please?

The last two really tiny ones were meant to be heart-shaped but I'm not sure that really comes across... Marsailidh really liked them, which made me pleased because before she said that she didn't like pancakes :D

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Wordle: Twitter
Love this word cloud I had made of my Tweets on twitter :)
I find it quite funny that the unique tinyurl code for my psychology project comes up as a word (down on the right hand side). Do you use twitter? I'm hiccup42 there as well :)

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Kisses From God?

So yesterday, I was having a really crappy day. I'd been home to get something to eat, and I'm going through the meadows on my way back to the library and what do I see? Crocuses!
Spring appears to have sprung! And I was just delighted, they were so cheerful, these sprouting flowers amongst the muddy debris of winter.

Their colours were simply gorgeous! Bright yellows, rich purples and pale lilacs, its was really beautiful.
Then when I got into George Square I saw that the daffodils had sprouted too, although they weren't flowering yet, and it all just made me so delighted, with all this amazing new stuff when a week ago it was miserable and cold and wet. Snow is great but its got nothing on Spring!
It reminded me of a book I'd read a while ago called Captivating. It was a Christian book, and the woman writing it talked about kisses from God. I never really got how great those were until today. I was miserable about my photos and there were these gorgeous new subjects all fresh in their beauty for my eagerly awaiting lens! Every flash of colour, every fresh green stalk was another loving kiss.
And the other photos? Yeah I'm sad, but I'd rather have flowers than snow. And the other ones of my friends - we were just messing about at the pub really, it was nothing special. It wasn't something that we would only ever do once. I'll never have the same photos again, but in a couple months time I'll have so many more that I won't even remember that I'd lost these ones!

So Happy Spring everyone! And I hope you get some kisses from God too! :)

P.S. Still looking for Questionnaire Participants!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Really Really Sad

I was going to post a lovely blog entry with lots of photos of the snow there was a couple weeks ago. I just transferred all my photos of the last like 3 weeks from my camera directly onto my USB drive, because my university drive wasn't big enough. Then my big fat idiot brain deletes them all from the camera. Then I go to reorganise the photos in the folder on the drive and discover that every single one of them is corrupted and won't open. I hate my life.

Here is the link to my questionnaire
But I just got a text from Chris to say that it isn't actually working properly. Maybe its just him - you could give it a go anyway

Having the worst day like EVER

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Psychology Project

Hey everyone,

Not much interesting to share recently. I'm working on a project for my psychology report, and haven't been doing much else. I can't tell you too much about it because I will want you all to participate. Its an online questionnaire and some games to play, and I will post a link when it is ready. I would really appreciate your participation, we're trying to get the largest and most varied group that we possibly can.

Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

I bet you wish you'd told me who you were now!

I bet you wish your name was here... Why? Because this is a map of the coolest people in the world! The ones who read my blog. Oh wait you are reading my blog! Why are you not here!! You should tell me your first name and where you live. Then I can add you to my wonderful map. It would make me feel good about myself and that is always a good thing! :D

Friday, 6 February 2009


Last weekend, Chris took me on a surprise trip! We went into town, and I was totally under the impression that we were going to the cinema (which, by the way, is why i'm not wearing any make up in the photos!), but in fact we went to the station. I was really surprised and confused, but then I guessed that this was the surprise that Chris had mentioned earlier in the week (and later told me it wasn't going to happen!). The York train was standing on the platform so I knew straight away where we were going and got really excited.

We walked along the city walls from the station, in towards the town. The first of my treats was that I was allowed to take as many photos as I wanted with Chris in them. This was a treat because he usually gets annoyed by me wanting to stop every five minutes to take photos of stuff. He gets even more annoyed usually if I want him to be in them but today he just agreed happily and made silly/happy faces as required :)

Our walk along the walls took us to the bridge over the River Ouse, which runs through Yorkshire. There were these fancy lamp posts on either side of the road, at the middle of the bridge.

We wandered around a bit, and went into a few shops, then Chris told me that my next surprise was that I could choose any food and any restaurant I wanted for us to have lunch in. Being the imaginative type, I chose Pizza Hut. Although this was largely because I could smell pizza at the time, coming from Pizza Express, and I knew that Pizza Hut is better AND cheaper - so it made sense to go there!

On our way there we walked up the big pedestrianised street (I have no idea what it was called or anything) and there was this York Residents Festival, or something, going on. In the middle of the street there was a brass band playing - a really good one, so we stayed and I took a couple of photos and we listened a while. We had to queue to get into Pizza Hut but not for too long, and the pizza was great :)

My next surprise was probably the best one - I got to pick anything I wanted and Chris would buy it for me! Naturally I chose carefully, and looked in lots of shops. In the end Chris spotted this lovely little dress, and the necklace as well, in a little shop called Echoo. I tried it on and it was just brilliant, and not too expensive either (he didn't mind but I would have felt guilty if I'd spent much more of his money!

After shopping we went for a drink in a pub called Lendal Cellars, which was underground!

Then we went for a walk around the botanical gardens

and down to the river.

We saw a ruined watch tower or something on the shore,

and we found the ruins of the abbey as well.

Evensong at the minster began at 5.15pm so it was getting pretty dusky by the time we got there (at about 4.45, to make sure we got good seats). The music was really lovely, although I had a small issue with the tenor soloist. But he didn't really spoil things. The sound of the choir girls and the male choristers just sent shivers up and down my spine!

Our train home was a 6.30, and I slept most of the way. I'd had a really lovely afternoon, it was a great surprise and a day I will remember for many years to come.